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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Types of Ceylon Teas to Try – What Goes into a Good Cuppa
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Types of Ceylon Teas to Try – What Goes into a Good Cuppa

Sri Lanka has been renowned globally for its tea dating back to colonial times when the country went by the name of Ceylon. Here's a look at the different kinds of tea that are available here.


Does Your Tea Make the Grade?

Just like your homework assignments were graded in school, so too are the tea leaves that have to go through the manufacturing process. Instead of being given a passing or failing grade rather, what is being talked about here is the classification of tea-based on certain physical properties. For example, while BOP, BOFP and PEKOE may look like utter gibberish to us laymen, what they are telling tea experts, is this: the leaves under the first classification are to be well made, neat and of medium size in the absence of excessive fibre, stalk and fine particles; the second classification denotes leaves that while neat and clean, are somewhat smaller than their BOP counterparts; and finally, the latter refers to leaves that are curly or partially curly and which stem from a crop reared at any elevation. Phew! This tea grading is hard stuff! Did you ever think this much work went into your steaming cuppa? Perhaps the next time you sit down to tea you will feel a newfound sense of appreciation for the beverage.


Tea's Journey in Sri Lanka

Although tea is the beverage that Sri Lanka is known for exporting, you would be surprised to learn that it was actually coffee plantations that were initially introduced to the islands by the colonials. Later on, tea production overtook all else and Ceylon tea became a global brand unto itself. Today, there are several local tea producers and packagers such as Mlesna, Zesta and Dilmah which plant, produce and package Sri Lankan tea both for the domestic as well as export markets. To Sri Lankans, tea is a vital brew without which many could not get through their day. It would be considered a sad day indeed for any member of this island nation of tea addicts, if they were ever denied the guilty pleasure of their daily morning and evening mugs of tea. Interested in trying out one of the most popular beverages in Sri Lanka? Just head out to a local corner shop or supermarket such as Keells Super and take your pick from among a dizzying number of tea brands, varieties and flavours.


A Place Called Home

Tea variations also depend on where they are grown due to the differences in weather and soil conditions. Famous tea producing zones in the country include Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Uva and Dimbula, among others.


The Flowery Types

In addition to the many grades of teas, there are also many varieties, one of which is the 'flowery' type of the tea grades such as FBOPF and FOP. The flowery types of these main grades of tea are highly sought after as possessing the best quality. These are made up primarily of just the tiny golden tip on the ends of the tea plant's small shoots, and its production is costly due to the fact that all the sorting must be done by hand and not by machine. Sri Lankan tea is popular in most English speaking countries as well as the Middle East and South America, and only a small portion of the tea that leaves the country is classified under the 'flowery' category since it is so hard to produce and has a relatively high selling price.

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