I don’t like cars. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to get out of town by train, escaping the crowds, and, through the open windows, feeling the factories, the dust and the noise becoming more distant. Gradually, nature takes over, like here, heading towards Kandy (Sri Lanka) and the tea plantations in the centre of the island.
It is no more difficult to taste thirty or forty teas than to taste two or three. On the contrary: you move quickly from one to the next, you spit each one out, you concentrate so you can compare them, and very quickly you know which one you prefer.
When I set off to visit Sri Lankan plantations, I stop off first in Colombo to taste the teas being sold at auction in the following days. It gives me a good idea of the quality being produced by the different gardens. Each of these boxes contains a few tea leaves and is marked with the lot number.
In most regions of the world, tea leaves are transported by tractor after being harvested. In Turkey, you see men carrying absolutely enormous bags. They tumble them down the slopes, over the tea plants, until they reach the road.