Ceylon Tea

 

History

 

We all know that Sri Lanka’s (then known as Ceylon) main crop was Coffee until the ‘coffee-rust fungus’ devastated the coffee plantations in 1869. With this distressing event the plantation owners decided to diversify into other crops. James Taylor a recently arrived Scotsman was entrusted with the planting of the first tea seedlings in the country; this significant historic occasion took place in 1867 at Loolecondera Estate, Deltota, Kandy. James Taylor who had acquired basic knowledge of tea cultivation from North India began experimenting tea-making using the tea he had grown himself, this was done on tables laid out on his bungalow verandah where the tea was hand rolled and processed. The first tea manufactured thus was acknowledged to be delicious and was the stepping stone to Taylors fully equipped factory which was set up in 1873. Taylor’s passion and determination saw him selling his first high quality teas at the London Auction for a very good price. Today James Taylor is regarded as the ‘Founding Father of Ceylon Tea’ because his insight and passion for tea resulted in the early success of tea production and the establishment of a great tea tradition that has lasted over a century.

Today, Ceylon tea is known to be the finest tea in the world and is the world’s most favored beverage after water.

 

 

Pure Ceylon Tea – The world’s finest tea - Why is it different?

 

Pure Ceylon teas are different from other destination teas because it offers a wide variety, which is so remarkable for a country as small as this.  Ceylon teas are grouped as Low grown (elevation between sea level and 600m), Mid grown (elevation between 600m and 1200m) and High grown (elevation between 1200m and 8000m). Since tea yields are influenced directly by weather and changing wind patterns, Sri Lanka’s unique geographic location (being situated just above the equator) and its tropical climatic conditions is of great importance. These factors greatly influence each of its teas types, making it significantly different in flavor, taste, aroma, color and strength.

 

 

Ceylon teas are graded on appearance of size of leaf and not quality which briefly falls in to two categories: The Leaf Grades and the Smaller Broken Grades. The Leaf Grades are grouped as Orange Pekoe (OP), Pekoe (Pek) and Souchong (Sou) while the Broken Grades are Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP), Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings (BOPF) and Dust (D).  

 

Ceylon teas are further classifies by their origin.

 

 

Dimbulla (High Grown) - located on the west of the central mountains, it produces its best teas during the dry months of January and February before the commencement of the monsoon rains. These teas which appear to have long wiry leaves are known for their body, strength, refreshingly mellow taste and strong aroma.

 

 

Ruhuna (Low Grown) Situated in the south of the country and grown below 2000 ft above sea level, these are standard sized leafs that give golden, smooth liquor, with a fragrant and fine moderate taste.

 

Nuwareliya (High Grown) – located in the highest region of the country where the altitude rises from 4000 ft – 8000 ft above sea level. The teas produced here have a rich golden color, smooth and delicately perfumed liquor with a brisk flavor. Theses teas are described by connoisseurs as the “Champagne of Ceylon Teas”.

 

Ratnapura (Low Grown) – located in the Sabaragamuwa province, on the southern slopes of the island, it producers a low grown tea that is long leafed and excellent for blends. It has a faintly sweet smell and a mild smooth taste.

 

 

Uva (High Grown) – situated on the eastern slopes of the central mountains, it produces some of the best during the months of June and September when the dry winds blow towards Uva. These teas which are exotically aromatic and have a wonderful distinct taste and deep gold colored infusion.

 

Kandy  (Mid Grown) A beautiful city located in the hill country where mid grown teas are produced. These teas are full bodied strong in taste with a deep golden-brown color and pleasing aroma.
 

 

 

Nutritional Value of Pure Ceylon teas

 

Tea, bursting with a multitude of health benefits is the most consumed beverage after water. Research findings show that tea both Green and Black whether hot or iced have powerful health benefits similar to fresh vegetables and fruits. Tea contain strong anti oxidant properties that help protect the body against the damage of free radicals which could otherwise set off a chain reaction of biological events resulting in cancer, heart ailments and other diseases. These damaging effects are reduced significantly by the antioxidant properties found in fresh, pure teas. Tea is also known to be one of the few natural sources of the mineral fluoride that fights against tooth decay. It also contains refreshing, energizing and cleansing properties that promote overall good health and well being.