Some good news from Darjeeling despite the unfavourable weather

Some good news from Darjeeling despite the unfavourable weather

The news I’m getting from Darjeeling is not very good. The planters are disappointed by the small quantities of tea harvested in March. This is due to low temperatures and a lack of sunshine and rain. So far, production is down by almost a third. However, as long as you act quickly, there are still some very fine teas. I have already bought several batches from gardens where the quality is improving year on year, like Gielle, Rohini and Teesta Valley. And a tiny batch of “Puttabong SFTGFOP1 Moondrops”: anyone who gets a chance to taste this tea will love it.


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

The first selections of first-flush Darjeelings

The first selections of first-flush Darjeelings

As happens every year at the same time, the first samples of first-flush Darjeelings are starting to arrive. There are never many during the first week, then during the peak of the season, around the end of March, I can taste dozens every day. Each one represents a very small batch of about 100 kilos. I have just chosen two: the Rohini “early spring” and the Longview FTGFOP1 ex-5. They are characterised by their fresh, vegetal, floral and zesty notes.


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

Keeping tea

The optimal storage period can vary a great deal from one tea to another. Green teas from Japan and China do not last long, and just a few months after harvest the difference in flavour is noticeable. The same goes for first flush Darjeelings. On the other hand, what are known as dark teas, the famous Pu Ers, get better with age. Lastly, many black teas as well as the most oxidised of the Wulongs often retain their qualities for years. Like this Nepalese plucker whose smile, charm and generosity are impervious to the passing of time.


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

Rain in Darjeeling

After several days of fine weather, the rain has returned, incessantly, in Darjeeling. Day and night. Heavy rain – without a break. Sometimes accompanied by strong winds and hail. With rain like this, nobody can produce good tea because the leaves grow too quickly.

Luckily, just as the rains started I bought three incredible batches: Puttabong Clonal Queen DJ232, Puttabong Kakra Muscatel DJ223 and North Tukvar Delmas Bari DJ101.


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

Selection of 2013 first flush Darjeelings

That’s it! I’ve just finished choosing the first flush Darjeelings. I’ve tasted up to 200 samples a day for just over a month, and have finally narrowed it down to the best. This year, some plantations have achieved a better quality than in previous years. This is notably the case with Hilton, Rohini and Teesta Valley. Other reliable gardens like Puttabong, Margaret’s Hope and Singbulli have surpassed themselves.

I have also thought of those who are not yet familiar with first flush Darjeelings, and have selected a Gielle DJ117, which is more approachable for the palate.

Overall, it is fair to say that the quality of the 2013 harvest is significantly higher than in previous years. It has been a long time since this region last experienced a spring unaffected by either excessive cold or severe drought.


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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