Category : Professional tasting

In China, the tea market has changed

In China, the tea market has changed

The process of buying tea in China is not what it used to be. Only 20 years ago only the state had the authority to export tea, and every Chinese tea was given a specific reference. Expert tasters would travel the whole country, visiting each tea factory and tasting each tea before giving it a reference number. For example a Grand Yunnan Imperial was given a grade of 6112.
Things have changed a great deal since then. Today those Chinese experts have gone, no doubt to the private sector, and domestic consumption has increased dramatically. Demand now outstrips supply, pushing prices up. And nobody thinks to remember how it was done 20 years ago.


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

Tasting third-flush Darjeelings

Tasting third-flush Darjeelings - Discovering Tea

Scales, a timer, a spittoon, a cup to rinse one’s mouth between two liquors if necessary, a shaft of light; everything is ready. Admittedly the building itself is showing signs of wear and tear, but that’s not important; Namring teas retain their incredible aura and I’m about to taste the best of the third-flush, or autumn, pluckings.


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

Tasting a fine tea using the Gong Fu Cha method

To appreciate a tea as fine as the Taiwanese “Black Pearl” I recently selected, there are two options: either use your usual teapot, or prepare it according to the Gong Fu Cha method. This involves placing the tea in a very small teapot and steeping the same leaves several times in succession. It is a different way of discovering the rich aromas of this fine tea, whose fairly sweet notes make it perfect for the season.


Posted in Country : Taiwan, Professional tasting by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , ,

The importance of water temperature

Some teas suffer from being infused in water that is too hot. On this subject, I’d like to tell you that you cannot make a good cup of tea if the water has been boiled, even if it is then left to cool down. In fact, when water boils, the oxygen evaporates, and the tea leaves need this oxygen during infusion to release all their flavours and aromas.


Posted in Professional tasting by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , ,

Tea tastings

At the moment I’m tasting between 50 and 100 different teas a day.
I try them in series of about 10 or 12. When you taste so many teas at the same time, you spit them out, for obvious reasons. Most importantly, you taste each tea twice, and in a different order, so you’re not influenced by the qualities or flaws of the previous tea.
This is because when you taste several batches in a row, you have a tendency to pick out what is different about them rather than their similarities, and if I didn’t taste each one twice, I could miss out on some wonderful teas.


Posted in Professional 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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