Taylor, James

James Taylor is the pioneer of Ceylon Tea. Arriving in Ceylon in 1852 as a 17-year-old, he was billeted at Loolecondera Estate in Galaha, a coffee plantation in the Kandy District. With the onset of the coffee rust disease, Taylor visited India in 1866 to learn about growing tea. Upon his return, Taylor planted a 21-acre plot of tea on Loolecondera in 1867 – Field No 7.

It was fortuitous timing as the coffee plantations were all but decimated within a couple of years. Taylor’s initiative enabled a new industry to hastily replace an old one which had been brought to its knees. It breathed new life into the perilous situation that investors, owners and planters had found themselves in.

From an initial export of a mere 23 pounds, tea production on Loolecondera and the country expanded rapidly and by 1890, exports had risen to more than 20,000 tons. So too did the glowing reputation of Ceylon Tea, as the industry continued to expand heavily, moving into the 20th century.

Historical Events

1867 – First Tea Estate in Sri Lanka was Born

1867 – First Tea Estate in Sri Lanka was Born

Scotsman James Taylor started Sri Lanka’s first tea estate, 19 acre Loolecondera Estate, marking the birth of the tea industry in Ceylon.

1873 – First Shipment of Ceylon Tea arrives in London

1873 – First Shipment of Ceylon Tea arrives in London

The first Shipment of Ceylon Tea, a consignment of 23lb (10kg) arrived in London for trade

1883 – First Public Tea Auction was Held in Colombo

1883 – First Public Tea Auction was Held in Colombo

The first public Colombo Tea Auction was held at the premises of Somerville & Co. under the auspice of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

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