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 : ,

Gong Fu Cha is the way to prepare tea in China

In the West, tea is often prepared in a teapot, usually containing between 50cl and 150cl of tea. In Asia, however, where tea is very popular, the use of a teapot of this size, or even of a teapot at all, is not as common as here. In China, for example, where there are probably the most number of tea drinkers on the planet, tea is traditionally drunk from a zhong (a small bowl with a lid) or from tiny cups filled from a tiny teapot. These utensils – some of which you can see in this photo – comprise what is called Gong Fu Cha.

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

Pu Er : the “fat-eating tea”

Are the Chinese right to call Pu Er the “fat-eating tea” because it apparently aids weight loss and lowers cholesterol? I have no idea, and have to say that I am not particularly interested in the health-giving qualities of dark teas, which I enjoy for their flavour. Pu Ers have an incredible aromatic richness, taking you through wood and undergrowth, with the whiff of stables, leather and damp straw. A pure delight!

In this photo you can see freshly moulded “cakes” of Pu Er. This is a green (or raw) Pu Er, as you can see from the colour of its leaves. It has not been covered for the fermentation process. Depending on the conditions in which it is stored, it can continue fermenting year after year, often improving with age.

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

Darjeeling sunset

The sun sets over Darjeeling. If you manage to find a good vantage point from the city centre, this is the view you will get. In this part of the world, the morning skies are often very clear. However, in the evening it can be difficult to spot a patch of sky that is free from cloud, as this is when they like to gather. They come from the Terai plain, or sometimes form right here, in the bottom of the valley. They have nowhere else to go, as they are surrounded by mountains.

This red sky is the old year. Soon it will be night and a new year, 2011, with new roads for us to travel together. New harvests, new delights… I’d be delighted if you’d accompany me.

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

Where are the tea pluckers, under their pointed hats?

In eastern China, in Fujian or Zheijiang, for example, tea pluckers ware pointed bamboo hats to keep out of the rain and the sun.

Here, I barely had the time to fix my depth of field that the tea pluckers disappeared to have lunch. They left there their nice hats. So in this tea field, it seems that goblins are playing hide and seek and that only their small hats are sticking out. I like this photo for this funny side. I imagine that the hats are going to raise up and that I’ll see grinning faces.

Posted in Country : China 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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