Darjeeling lacks a workforce

Darjeeling is a place of contrasts right now. Life has resumed throughout the district. Once again, the roads, shops and hotels are open, the tea plantations too. But there is much work to be done, as the tea plants have disappeared beneath the weeds. This is not serious for the shrubs, they’re in good conditions, but all the vegetation needs clearing, and then the precious camellia sinensis must be cut back to their initial size. Sadly, there is a lack of manpower in Darjeeling. During the three months of protests in favour of regional autonomy, many men left the mountains to find work elsewhere. And now, the plantations don’t have enough people to do the clearing and cutting back. Yet this work is essential if there is to be a good harvest next spring, otherwise there won’t be enough Darjeeling tea, and fake Darjeelings, which are already in circulation, will flood the market. That would be a catastrophe for Darjeeling, and I hope with all my heart it will never come to that. We will have to pay close attention to the situation.

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

The art of picking leaves


To produce a high-quality tea, you must start by harvesting the leaves carefully; in other words, picking off the end shoot, the bud and the next two leaves. If you take off more leaves, the quality will suffer. So it is important to train the people doing the harvesting and to value their work.

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

Special time spent with tea pluckers

Special time spent with tea pluckers

The lunch break offers a special opportunity to sit down with the tea pluckers and get to know them. They don’t often get to see buyers, and are even less likely to have a conversation with them. It doesn’t take long before shyness turns into spontaneity. These are special moments which I enjoy very much.

Posted in nature by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags :

Smiling tea pluckers

Smiling tea pluckers

Tea pluckers work very hard, yet when I meet them in the middle of the fields they greet me with big smiles. They look at me with a happy expression. These radiant faces contrast with the ones we see so often around us. In our cities, life is no easier or harder than on a tea plantation. But sometimes we forget to pay attention to others. We look at each other harshly. We live a bit like strangers. We complain about nothing. I can’t wait to get back to my mountains!

Posted in Places I like in Darjeeling by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : ,

Small-scale tea producers in Sri Lanka

small_scale producers_Sri_Lanka

In the south of Sri Lanka there are many small-scale producers who grow tea and then sell the fresh leaves to one of the local factories. For them, tea represents one source of income among others, and they are not economically dependent on the price if it falls. They are tied by a yearly contract with a guaranteed price. They choose the factory they want to work with, and the factory is responsible for collecting the leaves. It is a fair system.

Posted in Country : Sri Lanka 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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