Raku : a technique used to make tea bowls

Each tea accessory used during the Cha no Yu (the Japanese tea ceremony) is made using the methods of an ancient craft. Raku is a classic technique often used to make the “chawan”, the bowl used in the tea ceremony. This process involves firing at a very low temperature.

Here, in the Kyoto studio of Hattori Koji-San, I watched the master potter deftly work the clay and gradually shape the contours of a tea bowl.

Posted in Country : Japan, Places I like in Kyoto by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , , , ,

In each country, people prepare tea differently

In Japan, they have the Cha No Yu, or “way of tea”; in Russia they prepare their brew in the samovar. The British have their tea time, the Indians drink chai. And when the Chinese prepare fine teas, such as rare Wu Longs, or Pu Ers, they follow the rules of the Gong Fu Cha.

Gong Fu describes an activity that is carried out slowly, with great self control.

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

Tea plants under clear sky in Thiashola

On cold, grey days like these, we long for the heat of the sun and a glimpse of blue sky.

But tea plants are not like us; they like a bit of mist, and flourish in humid surroundings. They love it when the air is cool and visibility is reduced to a few metres. They are not so keen on a blue sky overhead.

I found this beautiful, rare, clear azure sky in Thiashola, in the Nilgiris mountains (India).

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

School children in uniform on Nehru Road

In Darjeeling, like everywhere else in India, school uniform is taken seriously. At every level of the education system, school colours are worn with pride. Here, the boys and girls are wearing the school crest embroidered on their blazers, and perfectly knotted ties.  I imagine one of the benefits of this system is to iron out differences in social backgrounds.

This morning parade gives me the opportunity to show you a street in Darjeeling. This is Nehru Road, where my hotel is. Look at the complex networks of electrical cables. They inspire respect for the engineers, who must have a very difficult job with repairs.

You will also notice that in this city, affectionately known as the “Queen of the Mountains”, the Darjeeling police, despite the battered air of their station, extend a warm welcome to visitors!

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

Sungai Palas : the biggest tea plantation in Malaysia

The biggest tea plantation in Malaysia is a two-hour drive north of Kuala Lumpur, in the Cameron Highlands.

Caroline Russell, the current owner, is a direct descendant of Dutch colonists. The tea produced by the Sungai Palas Tea Garden may not be able to compete with the finest brews, but in the middle of this well laid-out plantation is the beautifully designed BOH Tea Centre. After a tour of the gardens, visitors can relax on the centre’s large terrace with a cup of tea, and admire the views.

Posted in Country : Malaysia 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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