The teas and landscapes of Assam: an incredible contrast

The teas and landscapes of Assam: an incredible contrast

Assam teas have scents of honey, tobacco and spices and a very pronounced aromatic profile, unlike some of the flat countryside in this region. The teas are particularly astringent, and here too, the vocabulary used to describe this sensation contrasts with the words we might use to depict the landscape. Astringency is marked by a contracting of the tissues of the palate, while this beautiful field of tea relaxes me as soon as I see it.

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

Assam teas are worth a detour

Powerful and full-bodied, Assam teas are worth a detour. Yet these teas are still not that well known. If you like Burgundy wines, I recommend them. You will find the same astringency and lovely finish in the mouth, the spicy, woody notes sometimes accompanied by tobacco and honey aromas.

Don’t these cheerful pluckers make you want to learn more about their tea?

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

Trouble in Assam

The state of Assam (India), the country’s main tea-producing region, is going through a difficult period.
Security has been an issue here for years. I don’t want to go into the detail of the reasons behind the violence. I don’t know enough about it. I just want calm restored, like the lovely calm expression on this Assam tea plucker’s face.
The red and white fabric she wears wrapped around her head is typical of women in the region.

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 : , ,

Snakes also live among tea plants

A few weeks ago I introduced you to a creature which, while not exactly loveable, is highly admirable. On my French blog, someone said it might belong to the Nephila family, others said it could be one of the Theridiidae or Nicodamidae families. After seeing the many comments you left, I’ve decided to introduce you to another creature today. Equally elegant, I encountered it recently after it slid silently between the branches of a tea bush, just level with my waist. Tea bushes are planted close to each other to make harvesting easier, which means that when you decide to venture into the middle of the field, your feet are completely hidden from view. So you walk looking straight ahead, moving as best you can. You don’t take any notice of the many beasts living in these humid conditions.

Here in Assam, while I was holding back the branches of the shrubs to clear my path, the man behind me stopped me suddenly because he’d seen something yellow near my left arm, undulating beneath the foliage. Once I’d got over my surprise, I turned my head slowly, moving as little as possible so that the animal would never imagine I was anything other than an ordinary tree trunk, to avoid stressing it unnecessarily.

A few minutes later, my companion showed me this fine-looking snake on the end of his stick so that I could take its photo, and now I’d like to know its name. It was as beautiful as a rare jewel and as supple as a necklace, and it gleamed like gold. Before leaving us, overcome by shyness, the snake took the time to make something resembling a heart shape with its body, a way of asking us to respect all the love that nature offers us.

Posted in Country : India, 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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