Pu Er used to be known as a Tribute tea

Pu Er cake.

You can’t serve a slice of Pu Er “cake” on a plate. Nonetheless, this tea is traditionally consumed on feast days in China.

The Pu Er cake used to be known as a Tribute tea and would be offered as a gift to the Court, in honour of the Chinese Emperor. It is a tea with a long and venerable past.

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

Tea is not just a drink, it’s a whole way of life

Over time, as its leaves are picked and its growth hindered, the tea plant becomes stronger. Its trunk thickens and new branches appear, while the bush is maintained at a height of about a metre. The plants mesh together to form what is known as the “plucking table”, comprising branches so dense that you can lie down on them with no difficulty at all.

I don’t need to tell you, who are kind enough to accompany in my peregrinations throughout the year, how one can find a sense of serenity by taking time out every day to savour tea. But perhaps you didn’t know that you can find wellbeing with tea in a different way, by diving into the tea plants and taking a nap on their branches.

Tea is not just a drink, it’s a whole way of life. It is what makes me feel good. For 2012, I hope we can all find in tea the feeling of relaxation and serenity that we need. Together, let’s enjoy tea!

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To all my readers, I wish a happy New Year’s Eve

When I left Darjeeling in October, it didn’t seem to sadden these school children in the slightest, and they had fun clowning around while I took a photo of them. This image of happy children is a good reflection of my feelings as we finish the year on a high note. I hope you enjoy the celebrations.

I have no more regrets about leaving 2011 behind me than these kids had at seeing me depart for the valley. I welcome 2012 with open arms, as they will do when I return to see them next time.

It only remains for me to choose the tea on which to end the year. After the meal I’m serving on New Year’s Eve, I think I’ll make my guests a mint tea, known for its digestive properties and as a symbol of hospitality.

See you next year!

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

A little touch of warmth to finish the year off

As we walk the final stretch of the path together in 2011, I want to show you this photo of two tea pluckers in the Assam region who are returning home to their village after work. I think the sight of these women protecting themselves from the sun’s rays beneath their pretty parasols brings a touch of warmth to our grey winter. In this season, Paris lacks bright colours. Apart from the inevitable Father Christmas here and there outside the department stores, you don’t see much red. So it’s funny to think that somewhere else on this earth, people are taking care to protect themselves from the sun, while here, the slightest ray of sun makes us close our eyes and purr like cats.

Red is also the colour of some chillies, so I’ll take this opportunity to tell those who’ve never tasted Assam teas that they develop subtle notes of tobacco, honey and also… spices.


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

A Christmas basket filled with tea leaves

I am well aware that at the moment, everyone is looking forward to the imminent arrival of a certain somebody dressed in red and bearing a sack filled with wonderful things. I truly understand! This plucker dressed all in red and wearing her apron, is taking great care as she plucks the most delicate leaves of the tea plant before she places them in her basket.

If her slender ankles appear down your chimney, make sure you give her a warm welcome and put the kettle on. It’s time to honour the contents of that famous basket: it’s time for a cup of tea!

Posted in Tea plant 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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