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 : , ,

Tea is also about people and feelings

blog-17-04-2015

Behind each « grand cru », each tea, there is work, there are people. My work, as I see it, is not limited to tracking down the best teas in the world, it also involves getting to know the people who produce it. Drinking tea with them. Listening to them talk about their product. So when I’m in a Palais des Thés store and I look at that impressive wall of canisters, it’s not the names of the teas on the labels I see, but faces, like that of Vikas Gajmer, manager of Castleton (Darjeeling).


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

Darjeeling spring harvests

blog-10-04-2015

It’s not only the tea plantations that are busy at the moment. Yesterday I received no less than 120 different tea samples to taste. As ever, you need to be quick. If I want to make an offer on one of these batches I must have tasted them all in one or two days at the most. After that, it will be too late.

Of course, I don’t drink all the teas, I spit them out after turning the liquor around in my mouth while I analyse it.


Posted in Country : India, Places I like in Darjeeling, Professional tasting by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : ,

Leaf by leaf

blog-03-04-2015

It is difficult to imagine what tea processing involves in terms of expertise and refinement. Here, for example, the production process has been completed, and this woman is going through the leaves one by one to remove tiny stems and other imperfections.


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

Infusion time for first-flush Darjeelings

blog-26-03-2015

First-flush Darjeelings should be infused for between 3’30 and 4 minutes. The easiest way is to set your timer to 3’45. You have to be accurate when preparing this type of tea. If you want to retain a good balance between the aromatic bouquet, texture and flavour, you must stop the infusion in time. What you need is to give the aromas time to develop, while keeping the astringency and bitterness at a delicate level so they prolong the perception of aromas without overpowering them.


Posted in Tea tasting 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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