Selection of 2013 first flush Darjeelings

That’s it! I’ve just finished choosing the first flush Darjeelings. I’ve tasted up to 200 samples a day for just over a month, and have finally narrowed it down to the best. This year, some plantations have achieved a better quality than in previous years. This is notably the case with Hilton, Rohini and Teesta Valley. Other reliable gardens like Puttabong, Margaret’s Hope and Singbulli have surpassed themselves.

I have also thought of those who are not yet familiar with first flush Darjeelings, and have selected a Gielle DJ117, which is more approachable for the palate.

Overall, it is fair to say that the quality of the 2013 harvest is significantly higher than in previous years. It has been a long time since this region last experienced a spring unaffected by either excessive cold or severe drought.

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

A magnificent tea from Margaret’s Hope

Margaret’s Hope has one of the best reputations among Darjeeling gardens. It has built this recognition mainly on its second flush teas, those harvested from mid May to mid June. However, it does also produce some very good first flush teas. Indeed, I have just bought a truly unique batch from Margaret’s Hope, made up almost entirely of buds. It looks like a white tea. It is exceptionally subtle. In the cup, it develops smooth, sweet, elegant qualities that are totally unique.

It is without doubt the very best batch of its kind produced by this garden in recent years. Tea drinkers with an educated palate and who appreciate the rarest fine teas will love it.

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

Cooking and tea

Gradually, tea is coming out of its teapot: more and more chefs are using it as an ingredient in their cooking. First there was baking with matcha; now tea is making itself more at home in the kitchen as a flavouring for savoury dishes.

Tea is also served as an accompaniment to food, like here at Yam’Tcha, in Paris, where a pu erh is paired with a chicken dish, poularde de Bresse.

Posted in Recipes by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , ,

The best way to make a cup of first flush Darjeeling

For those of you who are getting your first taste of a first flush Darjeeling, I’d like to remind you that these are rare and fragile teas that need to be prepared with care. The infusion time, for example, should not exceed three minutes and 45 seconds. A fine tea is all about harmony. We look for a balance between the textures, flavours and aromas. With first flush Darjeelings, the best way to find this harmony is to keep the infusion time to between 3’30 and 3’45.

Posted in Country : India 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