Sri Lanka is one of the most famous countries to produce tea and is one of the most fabulously enjoyed beverages in Sri Lanka. Tea for us is literally second to water, every single person in our Nation enjoys at least three cups a day, and that is just minimally. Every occasion is celebrated with a cup of tea, and we would not substitute it for anything else. Its the poor mans’ drink of choice and the rich mans’ as well. There is something about the wonderful beverage that leaves you wanting for more. The unique tastes and the impeccable aromas of Ceylon Tea is what makes it famous around the globe.
Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) was introduced to Tea in the 1800’s by James Taylor, he began a tea plantation in Kandy and started manufacturing tea. He made his first sale in kandy and thus began the growth of the tea industry in Sri Lanka.
The ideal climatic conditions play a major role in the success of the growth of tea in Sri Lanka. 4% of the country’s land is covered by tea plantations. The main tea growing areas are Nuwera Eliya, Kandy, Central Province, , Bandarawela, Haputale, Uva Province, Galle, Matara, Southern Province, Ratnapura, Kegalle, Sabaragamuwa Province. The best tea are gathered from late June to the end of August in the eastern districts and fron the beginning of February to mid March in western districts.
Skilfully plucking the tea leaf is essential to the final quality of the tea, the two leaves and a bud, that is where the flavor and the aroma of tea is present, and this is plucked by women. Sri Lanka id one of the few countries that each leaf is plucked by hand instead of machinery, if they were to use machinery some of the coarse leaves as twigs would be mixed with the proper leaves which could destroy the flavor of the tea. The skillful women pluck around 15 to 20 kilos of tea leaves to be weighed and sent to the nearby tea factories.
Ceylon Black Tea is the most famously known tea around the globe. The high-grown black tea has a honey golden liquor and light and is among the best teas which has a distinct flavor, aroma and strength. The low-grown teas has a burgundy brown liquor and stronger in taste. And the mid-grown teas are strong, rich and full-bodied. Ceylon black tea is famous around the world and is used as the base for many blends such as Earl Grey tea, and many other fruit flavored teas.
Black tea is not the only tea produced, Ceylon green tea is mainly grown in Idalgashinna in the Uva Province. The Ceylon Green Tea generally has a fuller body, and has a pungent, malty and nutty flavor. Green tea in Sri Lanka has its own characteristics, they are darker in both the dry and infused leaf, and has a rich flavor different from other green teas. Much of the green teas produced in Sri Lanka has an acquired taste and are exported to the North African and the Middle Eastern markets. Other than the Black and the Green tea Sri Lanka specializes in White Tea which is also known as ‘silver tips’. This is one of the priciest teas in Sri Lanka, price of a kilo of White Tea in higher than that of Green and Black tea. White Tea was first grown in Nuwera-Eliya. The tea is grown, harvested and rolled by hand and the leaves are dried and withered in the sun. it has a delicate and light liquoring and contains notes of pine and honey and a golden coppery infusion.
Sri Lankan tea is a great success in the international markets, and despite the ever growing competition from India and China, Sri Lanka remains one of the world’s top tea exporters. The most important international markets of Sri Lankan tea are the Middle East, Russia, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, the UK and Japan.
The ‘Lion Logo’ in the packages of the tea produced in Sri Lanka is an important factor. It is closely monitored by the Sri Lankan Tea board and if a manufacturer is to acquire this particular logo, they need to go through a series of inspections that are done by the Sri Lankan Tea Board and if they pass these inspections they are allowed to use the Lion Logo which depicts as ‘Pure Ceylon Tea- Packed in Sri Lanka’.
Ceylon Tea is indeed exquisitely famous for its rich tastes and aromas, and it is made with a lot of care and love, so that everybody around the globe has the privilege of tasting such a wonderful beverage.