Tea is also about people and feelings

blog-17-04-2015

Behind each « grand cru », each tea, there is work, there are people. My work, as I see it, is not limited to tracking down the best teas in the world, it also involves getting to know the people who produce it. Drinking tea with them. Listening to them talk about their product. So when I’m in a Palais des Thés store and I look at that impressive wall of canisters, it’s not the names of the teas on the labels I see, but faces, like that of Vikas Gajmer, manager of Castleton (Darjeeling).


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

Darjeeling spring harvests

blog-10-04-2015

It’s not only the tea plantations that are busy at the moment. Yesterday I received no less than 120 different tea samples to taste. As ever, you need to be quick. If I want to make an offer on one of these batches I must have tasted them all in one or two days at the most. After that, it will be too late.

Of course, I don’t drink all the teas, I spit them out after turning the liquor around in my mouth while I analyse it.


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

Infusion time for first-flush Darjeelings

blog-26-03-2015

First-flush Darjeelings should be infused for between 3’30 and 4 minutes. The easiest way is to set your timer to 3’45. You have to be accurate when preparing this type of tea. If you want to retain a good balance between the aromatic bouquet, texture and flavour, you must stop the infusion in time. What you need is to give the aromas time to develop, while keeping the astringency and bitterness at a delicate level so they prolong the perception of aromas without overpowering them.


Posted in Tea tasting by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , ,

News of the first-flush Darjeelings

blog-27-02-2015

The weather can change very quickly in the Himalayan region. The sun might be shining, then in the blink of an eye you could be completely shrouded in a damp mist. This instability, which is very pronounced in Darjeeling, explains why the first teas of the year are sometimes harvested at the end of February, and sometimes in the middle of March.

I’ve just started tasting the first small batches from the new harvest, and for now they are nothing special. The earliest batches are rarely the best; they come from low-altitude plots.


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

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 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.

Articles classified by themes

Blogs on tea in English

Blogs on tea in French

Cooking

Links to Le Palais des Thés

Past travels