The lifespan of a tea plant: between 30 and 50 years

Everything comes to an end. When a tea plant no longer produces many leaves, it is replaced. The lifespan of a tea plant is quite variable, generally between 30 and 50 years, although China claims to have some that are a thousand years old.

The trunk and roots of the tea plant burn well, and heat the oven in which the tea leaves are dried after oxidisation, for example.


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Here we are in the Year of the Dragon

So here we are in the Year of the Dragon. Symbol of the Emperor, symbol of power, the Dragon is a highly desirable zodiac sign.

May this year unfold under favourable auspices, may it bring you prosperity beyond your dreams, the red signs say. It’s a tradition in China to hang long banners on the doors at the time of the new year, with messages of good wishes.


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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.


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Pu Er also requires wrapping with care

I know that your main objective at the moment is to wrap your purchases so they are ready to go under the Christmas tree in a few days’ time. Well, in China there’s a tea called Pu Er which requires wrapping with just as much care. Pu er can be bought loose, but it is mainly found in the form of a compressed cake. Having been left to dry on racks, each cake is wrapped in a sheet of printed rice paper, as you can see in this photo. The protected cakes are then wrapped in groups of seven in a dried banana leaf. The tea is then ready to embark on its journey and arrive with you after the festivities, which is just at the right time: in China, Pu Er is said to lower cholesterol. Rightly or wrongly, it is sometimes known as the “fat-eating” tea.


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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.


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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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