On my way to Darjeeling, I often stop at Longview

I’m on my way to Darjeeling. On my journey, I sometimes stop at Longview Tea Estate, the first tea plantation in this appellation. It doesn’t always produce great teas, as not all of its various plots get enough sun, but at certain times of the year, on the highest part of the plantation, Longview produces some very good teas, earlier than other gardens. Here, under the watchful eye of the grower, I’m assessing the aromas of the different lots I’m going to taste.

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

Selecting the best tea requires patience

In China as well as in India, when it comes to making high quality tea, no effort is spared in ensuring that only the best leaves are selected. Here, in Fuding (China), these workers are checking all the leaves of the Bai Mu Dan that has just been produced, one by one. It is a painstaking task that requires a great deal of patience. Only when this stage is finished can the leaves be packed into chests and shipped to the buyer.

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

The delicate art of withering white tea leaves

In the past, the withering of tea leaves took place in the open air, but nowadays it increasingly happens in a heated, well ventilated room. This system offers greater control over the ambient conditions. Here, in Fujian (China), the temperature and humidity levels are carefully regulated, and the room benefits from a sophisticated ventilation system. Which means the leaves of this Bai Mu Dan can gradually lose their water content.

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

A tea organ to introduce people to aromas

We don’t get many opportunities to develop our sense of smell in today’s world. This sense is rather neglected, and while children learn about colours at school, the same cannot be said about different types of aroma.

Yet we all have the ability to memorise a great number of smells. But you do need a method of remembering them, and the easiest way is to give them a name. By naming a smell, as we have done with each of the colours we are familiar with, we can remember it easily. Then you simply move on to the next one.

This “tea organ”, which featured at the recent Maison & Objet fair, is a fun way of introducing people to aromas and helping them learn to recognise some of the key fragrance groups.

Posted in Palais des Thés by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , ,

Tea plant just been uprooted in Assam’s heat

Pulling up a tea plant requires remarkable strength, as its roots plunge deep into the ground. But although the man in this picture is sweating heavily, it is not because he has achieved this feat. In fact, the bush has just been uprooted by a mechanical digger, and the man is simply hacking off the stump with a machete. He is sweating so much because Assam’s heat and the high humidity levels of this region are at their peak.

What surprises me most here, around Jorhat, is the complete lack of wind. For months on end, not a leaf stirs in this area of India, enclosed between the high plateaux of Tibet to the north, and the mountains of Burma in the east.

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.

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