Category : Places I like in Darjeeling

Darjeelings in demand

Tea tasting in Darjeeling

It’s not an easy job, growing tea. In Darjeeling, after a winter that was too dry, it did eventually rain, but a few days ago an unusually violent hailstorm hit the region and caused considerable damage on plantations in the north of the district. Luckily, between the rain and hail, a few very good batches were produced, and I’m pleased to say that we will shortly be receiving some remarkable teas from Risheehat, Puttabong, Singbulli, Thurbo Moonlight, North Tukvar, DelmasBari and Turzum.

Speaking of Turzum, here’s a photo I took in March of Anil Jha, one of the three most respected planters in Darjeeling. Here, he is concentrating on the smell of the damp leaves that are in the lid of the tasting set.

Posted in Places I like in Darjeeling by François-Xavier Delmas

The microclimate of Darjeeling plantations


On the Delmas Bari plantation, where I was a few days ago, some plots were being watered as the ground was so dry. On this Darjeeling slope, which faces Sikkim, it hasn’t rained since October. In other areas, there had been a little rain in the previous days. This difference in climate on plantations barely a few kilometres apart is very specific to Darjeeling. Even on the same plantation there can be considerable variations in weather. Luckily, as we can see in this photo, the tender green buds are starting to grow. On this plot, there will be just one or two days longer to wait before the harvest can start in earnest.

Posted in Places I like in Darjeeling by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags :

A scarf for a blessing


In India, people sometimes welcome you by placing a silk scarf around your neck and blessing you. At DelmasBari, I was so saddened to see how dry the soil was that, in front of my hosts, I took the scarf that had just been given to me, and I blessed in my turn. I blessed one of the tea plants on the plantation, in the name of all the others, and I prayed for rain to come.

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

Darjeeling spring harvests


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 : ,

The Margaret’s Hope garden celebrates its 150th anniversary


This week, the Margaret’s Hope garden celebrates its 150th anniversary, and I am invited to the event. It’s an opportunity for me to remind you that tea was only introduced to India very late, in the mid-19th century. It was the British who set up the tea plantations in the country, after stealing the seeds of tea plants from China.

Margaret’s Hope makes teas that are sometimes exceptional, such as Margaret’s Hope DJ40 Moonlight, and Margaret’s Hope DJ219 Pure Av2. They are two fine teas from 2014 that I hope will be back next year.

Posted in Country : India, Places I like in Darjeeling 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.

Articles classified by themes

Blogs on tea in English

Blogs on tea in French


Links to Le Palais des Thés

Past travels