Ceylon Tea- Open up your senses with a cup of tea
Introduction of Ceylon Tea
Sri Lanka, though a small size country in geographically, it is the fourth largest tea producer in the world with and its total production of over 300,000 tons annually. Sri Lanka exports most of its tea, making it the world’s third largest exporter of tea. Tea is the most delightful, famous and enjoyable beverages in Sri Lanka. For Sri Lankans tea is only second to water. Every single person in the nation enjoys at least three times cups a day. Every occasion or any gathering from small group to large groups of Sri Lankans is celebrated with a cup of tea, and there is no any substitute for tea. Tea has become the drink of the poor man and rich man’s as well. The strength of Sri Lankan tea lies however not merely in the volume of production, but also in its premium high quality and taste. Tea thrives on sloping terrain and it is grown in Sri Lanka in the central highlands and southern inland foothills with various elevations. Sri Lankan tea (Ceylon tea) is vary from small leaf to long leaf teas and from light fragrant cup character to strong, bright colored cup character. Most of the tea in the world market that branded and blended have been enhanced by a percentage of Ceylon Tea. The main and highlighted characteristics of Ceylon tea are the rich, mellow flavor, golden color and pleasant natural aroma which make Ceylon tea more unique and the best in the world. Much of black tea is manufactured in Sri Lanka with a orthodox process. Sri Lankan tea production is only using the manual plucking of tea leaves to make certain that only the unopened bud and two leaves are plucked to guarantee the best quality of tea. 90% of the manual tea plucking is done by ladies. Sri Lanka also produces CTC (Cut, twist and curl) in certain quantity of teas, green teas, silver tea, white tea and organic tea as well.
Nuwara Eliya, Bandarawela, Badulla, Ella, Dimbula, Uda Pussellawa, Kandy, Sabaragamuwa & Ruhuna are the major tea growing regions of Sri Lanka. The total tea cultivation area of Sri Lanka is over 222,000 Hectares. That is nearly 4% of the lands of the country. Tea has become the most important agriculture export in Sri Lanka and this industry provides direct & indirect employment to approximately one million people. Sri Lanka Tea Board is the government body that is responsible for the development, researches and promotions of Ceylon Tea. Also they ensure that all teas produced and exported from Sri Lanka adhere to the minimum standards & qualities.
History of Ceylon Tea
The scientific name of the tea plant is “Camellia sinensis”. The term of sinensis is Latin for Chinese. This name was given because of the first tea plant was discovered in China. The history of Ceylon (Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon during the British Era) tea was as far back as the year of 1824. The very first tea plant was brought to Sri Lanka from China and it was planted in the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens that is located very close to Kandy. After the planting the first tea plant, it is considered as the first non-commercial tea plant in Sri Lanka.
Until 1860’s the main crop produced in Sri Lanka was coffee. The British Governor Sir Edwards Barnes (1824-1832) introduced coffee to Sri Lanka as a commercial cultivation in Matale, Gampola and Nawalapitiya areas. Coffee was the main product until 1867 and then “Coffee Blight” (Hermileia vasastrix) affected and destroyed most of coffee plantations. Due to this fungus, coffee exports collapsed in 1883 completely. After the destruction of Coffee cultivation of Sri Lanka, British officials was thinking of trying and introducing tea to Sri Lanka. As a result of it, famous Scottish Tea planter “Sir James Taylor” planted tea seedlings over 8 hectares of land at “Loolkandura Estate” in Deltota in 1867 where 40 kilometers from Kandy. In 1872, Sir James Taylor established a fully equipped tea factory at Loolkandura Estate and in the same year, he could sell the first stock of tea in Kandy. Late this year, it means in 1873, the first international tea shipment was made to London and it was 10 Kilograms (23 Lbs.) It was sold at a tea auction in London successfully.
Later on British saw that the soil in Hill country is ideal for tea cultivation and they expanded tea plantations into larger scale. Tea was successfully grown in Nuwara Eliya, Haputale, Hatton, Dickoya, Thalawakale, Bandarawela, and Matale regions. The tea production was rapidly increased in 1880 and 1899s and the total lands of 400,000 acres were converted into tea plantations. Rapid growth, the high standards with high quality and the popularity of the Ceylon tea, it being sold in many auctions . The first public auction was held in Somerville in July 1883 and later, there were many auctions of Ceylon Tea in worldwide. One of the largest auction was held in Chicago – Chicago World Fair in 1893 and according to the records, one million of tea packets were sold in this fair.
Regions of Ceylon Tea
Sri Lankan tea (Ceylon Tea) has a distinguish taste and it has its unique qualities itself likewise the tea product in each area has its unique characteristics, taste and the quality of tea different from each region.
• Central Province
Tea grows in Central province is based in Nuwara Eliya and Kandy districts. Tea grows in Nuwara Eliya with the elevation of 6,200ft (1,889m). Due to the higher elevation and low temperature, tea that grows in Nuwara Eliya has slow grown bushes with smaller leaves which makes an orange hue after the withering process. Tea grows in Kandy produces mid grown teas as well as flavorsome tea.
• UVA Province
Tea production from Bandarawela, Badulla & Haputale is belong to this region. The tea is grown at the elevation between 3000ft (914m) to 5000ft (1524m) from the mean sea level. The tea produce a leave that is much darker due the withering process than the other regions. UVA province is famous for manufacturing Green tea in quantity.
• Sabaragamuwa Province
Sabaragamuwa is the biggest district in Sri Lanka and Ceylon tea is grown in low plains with elevation range from 2000ft (610m) from the sea level. Tea leaves and longer similar to the southern province and darker like the tea from UVA province. The Aroma is completely different with the taste of hint sweet caramel and taste is not quite strong as the southern province tea.
• Southern Province
Tea that is grown in Southern region is known as “Low grown tea” with a strong aroma taste. Tea plantations lies within an elevation of 2000ft (610m) above sea level. The elevation & the soil condition of the southern region contributes to the continuous growth of tea bushes as well long leaves. Darker and stronger black tea is mostly from the Southern Region.
Types of Ceylon Tea
1. Ceylon Black Tea
For over the past century, Ceylon Black tea has been the most famous and most enjoyable teas in the world. The process of Ceylon black tea consisted of seven stages starting from plucking the leaves, the withering process, rolling process, Fermentation or Oxidization process, firing & drying stage, then sorting or grading and finally tasting process. Black tea grows perfectly in a climate that is bit hot and moist that is not more than 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 Celsius ) and does not below 55 Fahrenheit (13 Celsius)
2. Ceylon Green Tea
One of most popular teas in the world similar to Black tea. Tea lovers around the world are passionate of tasting a cup of green tea not only because of its taste but for the large scale of health benefits. The green tea production has become one of prominent green tea manufacturing countries in the world and main exports market of Ceylon green tea are Soviet Union, Middle East, Europe , North America & East Asia. Green tea is rich in antioxidants that can bring human body a lots of health benefits.
3. Ceylon White Tea
Ceylon White is produced from the same tea plant as the black & green tea but there are slight differences in it. The buds and leaves are left to wither in natural sunlight heat. After get drying in natural heat, the leaves and buds are into a light process to avoid oxidization. This is the main difference between White tea and both black and Green teas. Therefore white tea production is least than other tea types. Ceylon white is well known as “Silver Tips” due to the color transformation after the process. Silver tips or Ceylon white tea is the most expensive tea in Sri Lanka. It has bunch of health benefits such as it helps lower blood pressure, improve the blood circulation, and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Health Benefits of Ceylon Tea
- Black tea is an excellent booster for the immune system as it contains less caffeine than the coffee
- An excellent defender for Cancer
- Black tea consisted of anti-oxidants that helps to fight free radicals that cause damages DNA in your body & reduce cholesterol levels
- Black tea decrease heart diseases
- Green tea increase the metabolism in human body that helps to burn the unnecessary body fat
- Green tea reduces oral problems such as kill bacteria and prevent dental cavities
- Green tea helps to control the brain function
- Green tea reduces risk of heart diseases
- White tea reduces the stress and anxiety due to the contain of amino acid that’s called “ Theanine”
- White tea helps to reduce depression
- Likely Green Tea, white tea increases the metabolism and helps to reduce the body fat, much stronger than green tea
Explore the Ceylon Tea trails with Traumland Tours
Sri Lanka is well known as the “Kingdom of Ceylon Tea” and has become a top tourist destination because of its mind blowing scenic beauty, rich heritage, abundance wildlife, unique & diverse culture and beautiful sandy beaches. We are Traumland Tours, the best luxury boutique travel agent and the tour operator in Sri Lanka that creates the best bespoke tours as well as offer the unique hand-picked tour packages for any kind of traveler. Do not hesitate to contact us for your dream tailor made tour to visit and get an amazing experience of Ceylon Tea. If you are tea lover, let us draft and bring you to the best of Ceylon tea trails tour in Sri Lanka.