Welcome to the World of endless tea plantation hills and finest tea factories!
Sri Lanka is famed for producing some of best quality tea on Earth. Being World’s 4th biggest tea producer and 3rd largest exporter of tea, it stands out among tea producers.
This small island country was formerly known as Ceylon, a British colony and the name was kept for over 25 years after independence. Tea was introduced to Sri Lanka by British citizen James Tailor. He planted 19 acres of tea plants in Kandy and surrounding areas. Today, he is called, the Tea Pioneer of Ceylon.
Tea in Sri Lanka is grown at high altitude (above 1200m) as well as mid (600-1200 m) and low altitude areas (up to 600 m). Depending on altitude of the region, the teas come in different flavors. The climate, temperature, sun and soil make each tea unique in taste, character and style. It makes Sri Lanka very unique, as it is so diverse for such a little island country.
What makes the Ceylon tea so special?
Ceylon tea is high-grown black tea in Sri Lanka. It is known worldwide for being the finest black tea in the World. Ceylon teas are orthodox teas. What does it mean?
The 150-year Sri Lanka’s old tea industry follows the traditional methods and standards of processing Ceylon teas. The high-quality leaves are hand picked and proceed by hand to provide the best taste and aroma. Today, Sri Lanka is the largest producer of orthodox tea in the world. It is believed that:
Every day, thousands of tea pickers collect enormous amount of leaves in Sri Lanka. It is said that the average skilled tea picker can collect about 20kg of Ceylon leaf per day.
Where to find the best tea plantations?
Today, the tea plantations cover over 4% of Sri Lanka’s Hill Country and around 90% of the harvest are designated for export. During my latest trip to Sri Lanka, I visited some of the best tea plantations in the country.
1. Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya is also known as the Little England of Sri Lanka. It is set in the mountainous area at an attitude of 1868 m, so days are pretty cool and bracing here. The unique climate provides a perfect ecosystem for the excellent high grown teas. This area is considered as the most significant for tea growing in Sri Lanka.
Kandy is set in a valley and this is a place where everything began. Here, over 150 years ago, the well-known James Taylor planted the first acres of tea and this moment was marked as the birth of tea industry in the country. Tea in Kandy is ideal for those who enjoy strong tea served with milk.
Tea in Uva is known to have a truly unique flavor, as it is grown at elevations from 1100 to 1700 m. The region exposed to the winds of monsoons, produces tea with a special aromatic and exotic flavor and unique character.
Tea plantations in Dimbula are located at elevations from 1100m to 1700m. This region attracts lots of visitors for its incredible green jungles, rain forests and plenty of green tea gardens. The dry climate and quite cold nights in this area bring a wide variety of teas, from full-bodied to very light, but always mellow in flavor.
5. Uda Pussellawa
Cold weather and monsoon rains bring very strong and dark teas in Uda Pussellawa. This small mountainous region is also well-known for producing teas rich in rosy flavor.
Tea plantations in Ruhuna are defined as low grown teas, as they are grow at an attitude of 600m above sea level. The climate and the condition of the soil make the leaves to grow rapidly, very long and dark. This full-flavored black tea is ideal for those who enjoy sweet and strong flavor.