Category : Country : China

A tea grown in panda poo

There are many organic tea plantations around the world, like here in southern India. So far, there are relatively few in China, but a publicity-seeking Chinese entrepreneur has just announced with great fanfare in the press that he has acquired no less than 11 tonnes of panda poo to make the most expensive tea in the world. Wow! Over the weekend, the news was relayed around the world by all the major press agencies. When the story reached Philippe Bouvard, master of French humour, he called me to ask if I’d appear on his show “Les Grosses Têtes” (“Big Heads”).

As for me, I consider it perfectly normal to use animal manure to grow tea. I have visited many plantations that use vermiculture, or worm composting, a technique I want to cover in my next post.

Organic farming methods don’t allow the use of chemical fertilisers, and I have no issues with that at all. However, if this Chinese entrepreneur really wants to sell the most expensive tea in the world, he’ll need a bit more than these 11 tonnes of manure. He’ll need to acquire the expertise. It won’t make the headlines, and it will take a lot longer.


Posted in Country : China, Organic tea by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , ,

Pu Er used to be known as a Tribute tea

Pu Er cake.

You can’t serve a slice of Pu Er « cake » on a plate. Nonetheless, this tea is traditionally consumed on feast days in China.

The Pu Er cake used to be known as a Tribute tea and would be offered as a gift to the Court, in honour of the Chinese Emperor. It is a tea with a long and venerable past.


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

Which is the best tea to drink during festivities?

The end-of-year festivities are frequently accompanied by overeating: at a time when many of us welcome friends and relatives into our homes, we enjoy preparing delicious meals and treats for our guests. It is not only the quality that is often high, but also the quantity. As for me, I like to finish a good meal with a cup or bowl of tea, to help me digest. I don’t know if the effect is purely psychological but it feels real, which is good enough for me. In China, Pu Er is said to be the best tea to drink during times of feasting. This tea is special in that it is covered and fermented for at least 45 days. During this time, the temperature is checked, hence this thermometer stuck into a pile of tea leaves covered with a cloth. It reads 53°C.


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

Pu Er also requires wrapping with care

I know that your main objective at the moment is to wrap your purchases so they are ready to go under the Christmas tree in a few days’ time. Well, in China there’s a tea called Pu Er which requires wrapping with just as much care. Pu er can be bought loose, but it is mainly found in the form of a compressed cake. Having been left to dry on racks, each cake is wrapped in a sheet of printed rice paper, as you can see in this photo. The protected cakes are then wrapped in groups of seven in a dried banana leaf. The tea is then ready to embark on its journey and arrive with you after the festivities, which is just at the right time: in China, Pu Er is said to lower cholesterol. Rightly or wrongly, it is sometimes known as the “fat-eating” tea.


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

Selecting the best tea requires patience

In China as well as in India, when it comes to making high quality tea, no effort is spared in ensuring that only the best leaves are selected. Here, in Fuding (China), these workers are checking all the leaves of the Bai Mu Dan that has just been produced, one by one. It is a painstaking task that requires a great deal of patience. Only when this stage is finished can the leaves be packed into chests and shipped to the buyer.


Posted in Country : China 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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