Category : Country : Japan

Raku : a technique used to make tea bowls

Each tea accessory used during the Cha no Yu (the Japanese tea ceremony) is made using the methods of an ancient craft. Raku is a classic technique often used to make the “chawan”, the bowl used in the tea ceremony. This process involves firing at a very low temperature.

Here, in the Kyoto studio of Hattori Koji-San, I watched the master potter deftly work the clay and gradually shape the contours of a tea bowl.

Posted in Country : Japan, Places I like in Kyoto by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , , , ,

In each country, people prepare tea differently

In Japan, they have the Cha No Yu, or “way of tea”; in Russia they prepare their brew in the samovar. The British have their tea time, the Indians drink chai. And when the Chinese prepare fine teas, such as rare Wu Longs, or Pu Ers, they follow the rules of the Gong Fu Cha.

Gong Fu describes an activity that is carried out slowly, with great self control.

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

A happy year

Kyoto is undoubtedly a traditional city, but that does not exclude a certain sense of fun. I have chosen these happy Japanese women, who must sometimes wear less classic outfits than these, to be my ambassadresses in wishing you a wonderful year in 2011, a year in which we might allow ourselves to express our “joie de vivre” in front of a passing photographer, a year in which we might take the time to observe such delicate things as the petals of cherry blossom.

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

Rows of perfectly aligned tea plants in Japan

Just before leaving Japan for China, here is a last glimpse of the landscape shaped by tea. Here, the rows of tea plants are precisely aligned. All is in perfect order, with a few organised clumps here and there, as if to underline the overall harmony. What I love most are the subtle nuances of green, the different shades of the same colour, a touch more yellow where the shoots are still young, slightly darker green where the leaves have recently been plucked.

Posted in Country : Japan, Tea plant by François-Xavier Delmas

Yabukita: the most popular cultivar in Japan

While all tea plants belong to the camellia family, you know that there are different cultivars within that family. Here in Japan, the tea plant most commonly grown is Yabukita. It accounts for 85% of the tea crop, unlike in other tea producing countries, where many different varieties cohabit.

Yabukita is easy to recognise with its long, straight, intense green leaf. It also has its own way of growing, very straight, reaching up for the sky.

Posted in Country : Japan, Tea plant 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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