Tasting teas by other farmers

My first trip to Malawi was just over three years ago. Until then, nobody had sold tea from that country in France, and I’m delighted to have found some very good teas there, which have been well received among tea enthusiasts. In a few days’ time I will be back in the far south of this magnificent country to see teas being made, including a dark tea and a smoked tea, and to taste them with Alex and his team. I will take some teas from other countries with me, which is something else I like to do in my work: encourage producers’ curiosity by getting them to try teas made by other people, not so they can copy them, but to inspire them and to connect them, through the tasting, with other farmers who have equally precious expertise.

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

Wild and beautiful

Beautiful landscape in Malawi

I can never get over the beauty of Malawi. Every week, as I prepare for my blog article, I go back over the different photos I like but haven’t yet used here. And it’s always the pictures of Malawi that capture my attention for a long time. The scenery is truly stunning. I know my photo isn’t that good, you can see the tea plants aren’t completely in focus, but the extraordinary light, all those shades of green and yellow, the beautiful blue sky fringed with white clouds, the high plateaus, that wildness extending to the horizon, those soft lines and other, more angular ones… We live in such an incredible world! If we remember to open our eyes and look, of course. And if we aren’t set on destroying it.

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

Alex, pioneer of “grand cru” teas from Malawi


The existence of very good teas in Malawi is down to Alex. He is the only one to produce them. All the plantations in this country produce tea industrially, and harvest it with shears, but this was not right for Alex. He loves tea. He was born in Malawi, grew up on his grandfather’s plantation, and tea has been his whole life. So he researches, he documents the methods of making dark teas, green teas, semi-oxidised teas, white teas. He seeks out particular tools needed to produce them, from China or Taiwan. He makes teas in his own way, in his own style, with his terroir, his cultivars.

From Alex, I have chosen his Satemwa Dark, his Zomba Green and his Small Holders Black tea – produced through his association formed with small producers, and currently the best black tea from Africa. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

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

Malawi: a wonderful discovery


Asia is not the only producer of good teas – Africa too, if you know where to look. I have just returned from Malawi. The countryside is exceptionally beautiful. Breath-taking. And the people of that country are so gentle, attentive and spontaneous, it’s quite incredible.

Posted in Country: Malawi 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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