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 : ,

Feng Huang Dan Cong: one of the rarest teas in China

Feng Huang Dan Cong - Discovering Tea

Feng Huang Dan Cong, or Phoenix Tea, is one of the rarest China teas. Just a handful of farmers, including the Huang family, seen here, whom I was delighted to photograph, process these large leaves whose lingering bouquet evokes flowers, fruits, wood and spices by turn. If you love fine teas you should taste this at least once in your life.


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

Eternal snow of Kanchenjunga

blog-10-01-2014

For my Parisian friends who are finding this month of January a little mild, here is the cooling and eternal snow of Kanchenjunga. This massive mountain extends from the ancient royal kingdom of Sikkim to Nepal and Tibet, just a stone’s throw from Darjeeling.


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

Tea follows us, it accompanies us.

Tea follows us, it accompanies us. - Discovering Tea

A while ago, in Tunxi in China, I was eating my evening meal in a tea house. Outside it was raining. I used a slow shutter speed to photograph the movement of passers-by, and the reflections of the city on the wet pavements. The window reflected the interior of the establishment. Feeling mischievous, I took a photo of the teapot on the neighbouring table, walking over the silhouettes of people outside.

Tea follows us. It accompanies us. Sometimes we don’t see it but it is near and does us good.

I wish you a very Happy New Year for 2014. I hope you enjoy discovering new flavours. I hope that every day you find a moment of harmony. I invite you to share these moments of happiness with your loved ones. Vivre le thé.


Posted in Country : China 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 : , , ,

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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