Pure Ceylon Tea is the most sought after by connoisseurs of Tea the world over. Renowned for its rich body of flavour, aroma and colour Pure Ceylon Tea with each sip, carries one through a gastronomical journey of the surreal.
A History as Rich as the Brew
Sri Lanka, a tropical island in the Indian Ocean was known as Serendib, Taprobane and Ceylon. The word “Serandip” gave the English language the word “serendipity” – “A welcome surprise”. The term “Ceylon Tea” is synonymous with Sri Lanka and it is legendary for its high quality, aroma, and taste. As the fourth largest tea producer and perhaps the second largest exporter in the world, we are in the front line of tea exports to the world market. This is a spot that we have sustained over the years.
Our tea industry ages from 1865 during the British colonial period. Ceylon, as the island was then known, produced coffee for export. By the end of the 1860’s, the coffee leaf disease annihilated the plantations. This was an economic blow for the planters who then turned to tea. In 1866, a pioneer began the first commercial tea plantation in Ceylon. James Taylor, planted the new crop in 1866 and founded a profitable industry. Other planters followed suit and by 1877, the first recorded shipment of tea was dispatched to England. The famous brand, Lipton’s, had its origin in Sri Lanka. Within a decade, a new prosperous tea industry was built on the ruins of the coffee industry.
Ceylon tea enjoys a tall reputation. One warranted from producing fine blends and flavors gaining from a matchless environment of ideal climatic conditions that allowed a year round harvest. The blend of weather, rain, mist and dry spells shared with hand picking has produced a range of inimitable flavours. Much like the variations in wine produced in different regions.
Pure Ceylon Tea stands above the rest in all its glory! The hypnotising taste of pure Ceylon tea takes your mind far away from the stress of a routine day, just by the intake of a small sip of its divine taste. In Sri Lanka people make a habit of drinking tea often as they are permitted to, since a fresh cup of pure Ceylon tea is the drink everybody’s mind desires. That is why the history of tea runs back to the glorious past, where our proud royals experienced the best natural brew.
Tea was first introduced to Ceylon in 1867 as an experiment by a British Planter named James Taylor. Thereafter he set up the first Commercial Tea Plantation on just 19 acres, to begin with on a property called the ‘Loolecondera Estate’ close to the Hill Capital of Kandy.
This plantation was to become the model for future development of the Tea industry of Ceylon. Tea came to be the principal crop of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the early 1870s, and in 1875 James Taylor managed to send the first shipment of Ceylon Tea to the London Tea Auction.
A Scotsman named Thomas Lipton, a millionaire in the United Kingdom visited Ceylon in the 1890s en route to Australia when he met James Taylor. Together they discussed the possibilities of starting a business in exporting Tea from Ceylon and hence Lipton’s Company started buying Ceylon Tea.
Together with Thomas Lipton, James Taylor also pioneered the Tea export industry of Ceylon.
Variety as Rich as the Brew
There are seven principal regions in Sri Lanka that grow Pure Ceylon Tea.
Nuwara Eliya at an elevation of 6,128 feet is renowned the world over for its Tea recognised by connoisseurs as the finest in the world and a brew fit for the Gods. This Tea when brewed acquires a greenish-yellow tone with a subtle golden hue and a delicate yet fragrant bouquet.
Uda Pussellawa in the Central Province is wedged between Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and the Uva province. Its Tea gardens are located at an elevation of 3,000 to 5,000 feet and are famous for their range of Rosy Teas. Though sometimes compared in character with their Nuwara Eliya counterparts, these Teas appear somewhat darker in the cup, with a rosy hue, medium body and subtle character.
Dimbula at an elevation between 3,500 and 5,000 feet produces Teas that connoisseurs of fine Tea prize to this day. Teas from this region are of a fine golden-orange hue in the cup, with a distinctive freshness to the flavour that produces a light delicate cup with a mellow taste.
Uva grown teas have a unique character recognised and acknowledged the world over. It is said that Thomas Lipton introduced the Americans to tea-drinking after sampling this brew from Uva. The mellow and smooth taste of Uva Teas, once tasted is easily distinguishable from any other. The elevations of Tea plantations in Uva range from 3,000 to 5,000 feet. This region produces exotically aromatic, a truly unique flavour in quality seasons.
Kandy at an elevation of 2,000 to 4,000 feet is famous for Mid Grown Teas and the first Tea Plantations established in the country. Teas from Kandy are recognised by their bright infusion with a coppery tone. Though light in the cup, the brew presents a fair amount of strength and body.
Sabaragamuwa teas, like those of Ruhuna, are mainly low-grown. Its plantations range in elevation from sea level to around 2,500ft. These Teas are much sought after by the Middle Eastern and Russian markets and are similar to the Teas of Ruhuna, which are dark yellow-brown with a reddish tint. The aroma however is noticeably different from its Ruhuna counterpart, with a hint of sweet caramel and not quite as strong.
Ruhuna teas are quite distinguishable low-grown teas from the Southern region of the island which are grown from sea level to 2,000 feet. These Teas thrive in fertile soils and warm conditions. These Teas are prized by the Middle Eastern and Russia Markets for its strong and thick cup, full-flavoured black hue which is a hallmark of Ruhuna Teas.
Sri Lanka is currently the fourth largest Tea producer in the world and exports most of its produce making it the world’s second largest Tea exporter. Pure Ceylon Tea has thus been developed to cater to the palates of Tea drinkers throughout the world.
The strength of Pure Ceylon Tea does not lie only in the volume of production, but also in its superior quality and taste. Tea mostly thrives on sloping terrain, therefore, it is grown in the central highlands and southern inland foothills at varying elevations.
Based on the elevation at which it is grown, Pure Ceylon Tea is identified under three varieties- Low Grown, Mid Grown and High Grown.
Today, amongst the few ‘safe’ foods available for human consumption is Tea, as it is not fraught with toxins harmful to health. Therefore Tea is not only safe to consume but is also loaded with nourishment and medicinal properties.
Not only does Tea tantalize the senses of sight, smell and taste, it is also loaded with numerous health benefits. Therefore, this time-honoured beverage is loved and valued by billions the world over for its curative and preventive health properties as well.
Established health benefits of Tea are numerous. Many of these are regarded as preventive and therefore stave off heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, many forms of cancer, tooth decay and other oral disease, while promoting digestive health.
The most significant health-promoting properties of Tea lie in the high concentrations of antioxidants it contains assisting in the removal of harmful toxins from the bloodstream. Research shows that consuming such antioxidants can lower the risk of heart disease, strokes and cancer. There are also indications that antioxidants in tea may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related memory impairment.
According to proven scientific research Tea is also nutritious. Though it contains almost near zero calories Tea contains surprising quantities of nutrients as well. Taken with a dash of milk, four cups of Tea a day can provide one with.
Minerals such as Manganese and Potassium in a cup of Tea also help balance the body’s fluid levels. Besides Tea also contains the unique amino acid Theanine, which has a relaxing effect on humans, as well as assisting the natural immune response to infection. The modest amount of caffeine in tea also acts as a mild mood stabilizer.