“Delmas Bari” : a tea plantation named after me

One day, when I was in Darjeeling, I was surprised to find that a plot on the North Tukvar plantation had been named after me. It was a new plot, mainly planted with the AV2 cultivar which I am particularly fond of.

This gesture from G. Somani, superintendant of North Tukvar and Puttabong, touched me greatly, and from time to time I return to “Delmas Bari”. The tea plants have grown, they look magnificent at the moment. The place has a unique charm about it. A small stand provides shade where you can enjoy a cup of tea and take in the incredible beauty  and utter tranquillity of the surroundings. I feel quite at home there!

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

Zhaji : a hamlet that has kept its soul

Every time I go to China, I wonder what else will have changed in the cities and countryside that I know. The rapidity of change in the country takes your breath away, as you gaze upon a street you no longer recognise, or a forest of skyscrapers that in less than a year has grown faster than a copse of bamboo.

But off the beaten track, there are still hamlets that have kept their soul. Here, in Zhaji (Anhui province), nothing has changed for a very long time, and every evening after his meal, Mr Li walks beside the river before returning home for a last cup of the famous tea he produces.

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

Machines used in the tea bag industry

Assam tea plantations are unusual in that they produce “orthodox” tea, processed according to the traditional method, but they also produce “CTC” tea, which stands for “cut, turn, curl”. CTC tea has none of the qualities of a fine tea. It is produced by machines, which I have photographed for you. This tea doesn’t interest me much, and for good reason: one of its uses in the tea bag industry is to bring colour quickly to the cup and express strength.

Nonetheless, the process of making CTC tea is interesting: as it passes through the various machines, the leaf gradually gets smaller and smaller until it is just a tiny round ball.

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

Charming tea plucker on Dufflating Tea Estate

The yield per hectare here in Assam is four times higher than in Darjeeling, and totals two tonnes a year. Each tea plant produces such a quantity of leaves that between March and November, the shoots on each bush are plucked at least once a week. A record! Yet this charming tea plucker on the Dufflating Tea Estate does not seem overwhelmed by the scale of the task; in fact she looks quite happy.

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

In search of the best quality Taiping Hou Kui

Hou Chun, the Village of the Monkeys, is worth the trip. Having taken a boat to get to this mountainous region that is inaccessible by land, I have to climb this path which looks innocent enough to start with, but later runs along the edges of precipices. If you suffer from vertigo you must raise your eyes and gaze upon these magnificent mountains covered in tea plants and a jungle that mainly comprises bamboos.

In Hou Chun, just once a year, for around 25 days, they produce the best quality Taiping Hou Kui.

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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