About Ceylon Tea
Sri Lanka is a small island, but it has an enormous range in elevation, so the flavours of the teas produced there vary greatly. This difference in flavor is influenced by climate, soil, precipitation and the sun.
Eleven tea-growing regions are found in the country, the best-known are Uva, Nuwara Eliya, and Dimbulla.
Uva is perhaps the most famous tea-growing region in Sri Lanka. The soil of Uva produces black tea with a distinctively sweet flavor and an exotic aroma that can handle a bit of milk. Some white teas are also produced in Uva.
Nuwara Eliya is the highest elevation tea-producing area in Sri Lanka. Its terroir produces tea with a delicate, floral fragrance and light, brisk flavor. The high elevation teas of Nuwara Eliya are exceptional iced or served with lemon.
Dimbula is a tea-growing region in central Sri Lanka. It is the southernmost of the three well-known regions. As a region of mountain slopes, the terroir ranges greatly with the elevation.
Other tea-growing regions in Sri Lanka include Badulla, Galle, Haputalle, Kandy, Maturata, Ratnapura, Ruhuna, and Uda Pussellawa, all producing a variety of different flavours.
History of Ceylon Tea
It was 1866 when Scotsman James Taylor planted tea seeds along roadsides in Loolecondera, after an attempt in 1841 by two brothers failed due to high costs. Taylor went on to build and operate the island's first fully-equipped tea factory, and proceeded to sell his first batch in Kandy in 1872.
After his death in 1892, the Association of Tea Traders was formed. Even today, the majority of tea produced in Sri Lanka is conducted through this association and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
After the formation of the Ceylon Estate Employers' Foundation was born to deal with labour and social issues in 1945, Sri Lanka became the World's largest tea exporter for the first time. The 1970's saw the international exportation of tea bags begin, and the establishment and founding of the Sri Lanka Tea Board. The board was set up to compromise representatives from both private and government bodies in the industry. Today it is the administrative body of the tea industry.
Fast forward to the 00's, the first Ceylon Tea Museum was set up using an old tea factory in Hantana, Kandy. It contains tea-related artifacts and displays the history of Ceylon tea throughout the years.
2017 marked a hundred and fifty years since Taylor introduced the first tea plantation in Loolecondera, Kandy. Today, Ceylon tea is one of the country's biggest industries.