An encounter off the beaten track

blog-22-05-2015

This woman is 95. She lives on an isolated farm, with her husband. They live alone, on the mountainside, far from any other houses, with just a few chickens and a little land to cultivate. A tiny path leads to their house. It is so narrow you must place one foot in front of the other. I visited them last week, while walking in the mountains in eastern Nepal. I was with Andrew, the planter from Guranse who shares my love of long walks. She made us tea while we talked with her husband. She brought us the tea in a metal goblet and threw a handful of cereal into a small, separate bowl. We poured the milky tea, which was quite peppery, over the cereal, and ate. We drank the remaining tea. We talked for a long time with her and her husband, on their doorstep, beneath a beehive. They talked non-stop. She understood my mediocre Hindi but spoke only in Nepali. Andrew translated for me. When I managed to get a word in, I asked her questions. What was her secret for a long life? Eating healthy food; fresh, home-grown produce. And was not love also the secret of their longevity? She laughed and exchanged a tender, incredibly touching, look with her husband. They married when she was 11. He was 15. They love each other. They have been together more than 80 years. When it was time for us to leave, they took our hands, and they blessed us by placing their hands on our foreheads. And they asked us if, later, when they are no longer there, we could once, just once, think of them.


Posted in Country : Nepal by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : ,

Walking around the plantations

blog-15-05-2015

I never visit a tea plantation without taking a walk around the surrounding villages. It’s a chance to observe how people live, to meet the locals, perhaps to sit on someone’s doorstep and chat. And to be an object of curiosity for groups of children, who are often laughing!


Posted in Country: Malawi by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : ,

Malawi: a wonderful discovery

blog-08-05-2015

Asia is not the only producer of good teas – Africa too, if you know where to look. I have just returned from Malawi. The countryside is exceptionally beautiful. Breath-taking. And the people of that country are so gentle, attentive and spontaneous, it’s quite incredible.


Posted in Country: Malawi by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , ,

My thoughts are with Nepal

blog-01-05-2015

I often travel in the Himalayan region, I’m very fond of those mountains and the people who live there. I have great affection for the Nepalese. I have many friends in Nepal and Darjeeling. I feel at home in these regions. I could live there, have my home there, my friends, my life. Happily, my friends who work in the tea fields are safe, but they are very worried, they are waiting for news of their loved-ones who live in the centre of the country. They fear the worst.

And then there are all those victims who have perished, thousands of people, and the immense pain and sadness of their families. I hope these flags flying in the wind will look after their souls, transport them, embraced and supported by our prayers, that our prayers will give them some warmth… I hope these flags will express our love for those departed souls, flying in the wind.


Posted in Country : Nepal by François-Xavier Delmas

An assessment of the 2015 first-flush Darjeelings

blog-23-04-2015

When you harvest the terminal bud of the tea plant several times, the stem becomes stressed and stops producing a new bud. This phenomenon of dormancy, known as “banjhi” in Darjeeling, marks the end of the spring harvest (first flush).

If I had to give my assessment of this season in Darjeeling, I’d say we received batches of very varying quality, and few of exceptional quality. But I’ll conclude on a good note, with the choice of a Puttabong Clonal Queen DJ48 and a Margaret’s Hope Tippy Clonal DJ30. The first represents what Puttabong does best; the second is quite simply breathtaking.


Posted in Country : India by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , ,

The author

François-Xavier Delmas is a passionate globetrotter. He’s been touring the world’s tea plantations for more than 20 years in search of the finest teas. As the founder of Le Palais des Thés, he believes that travelling is all about discovering world cultures. From Darjeeling to Shizuoka, from Taiwan to the Golden Triangle, he invites you to follow his trips as well as share his experiences and emotions.

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