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Updated by GiN on Apr 10, 2018
Headline for Tea Tasting in Sri Lanka - One, Two, Tea
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Tea Tasting in Sri Lanka - One, Two, Tea

The jade pendant of the Indian Ocean and a warm brew of tea have gone hand in hand for centuries, becoming synonymous with each other. If you’re a tea lover, planning a tea tasting experience on the island is a definite must!

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The Father of Tea

The Father of Tea

James Taylor, aged 19, arrived in Sri Lanka and hence became known as the father of the tea industry in Ceylon. He first started a tea plantation in 1867, in the Loolecondera estate in Kandy. Approximately 10 years later, he established and operated a fully equipped tea factory in the estate, where the first sale of Loolecondra tea was made. A year after that, 10kg of Ceylon tea, the first shipment arrived in London. This was the birth of Sri Lankan tea.

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Best Time to Visit?

Best Time to Visit?

Since tea plantations are most commonly found in the hills of Hatton, Ella, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, you can visit at any time as the temperatures in these parts are colder compared to the other cities of Sri Lanka. You might even be able to strap a basket to your bag and attempt to pluck some tea – however, do this only with permission from the owners / your hotel.

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Tea Estates

Tea Estates

A visit to one of the island’s tea estates is a must-do, and simply buying or drinking tea will not give you the same experience. Head over to Nuwara Eliya or Hatton for rolling hills of tea plantations. The mountainous areas of the island are shaded in different hues of green, some cultivated land while other remain dense forests. Some tea factories require prior permission to be granted. However, if you’re looking for an authentic experience, stay at the first tea planter’s bungalow – converted to a luxury bungalow at Tea Trails, offering everything from tea based spa treatments to tea infused cuisine. Once here, you can embark on their tea experience which includes a guided tour along tea plantations where tea pluckers are busy with the day’s work . Then head to the factory to watch the process of making tea. End your experience with a tea tasting.

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It’s All About Tea

It’s All About Tea

Despite the many brands of tea, e.g. Zesta, and products of tea such as the famous Ceylon black tea, Ceylon green tea and Ceylon white tea, there are a range of flavours available in today’s market that James Taylor could have only dreamed about!

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The Process of Tea

The Process of Tea

There’s a long process before the tea brews in your cup. The plucking of tea requires skilled and gentle hands to search and pluck the upper leaves of a tea branch. Usually, it’s the top two leaves and the bud that gets nipped off. Local women, with bags strapped to their back spend their mornings (mostly) plucking tea before taking it back to the factory to be weighed. Once this is done, the leaves are then dried and spread over a large tray in a ventilated room for a day, where close to two thirds of its moisture is drained out in the process. The next step includes “rolling’ the dried leaves, which is meant to release the enzymes from the tea cells. The broken leaves are left out to aerate and further dried in a desiccator, where all remaining moisture is drained out, causing the leaves to shrink and darken. The tea is then graded according to strength and flavour before being packed into tea bag or bulk packets.

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Flavours of Ceylon Tea

Flavours of Ceylon Tea

Ceylon tea can be brewed using a combination of different flavours to create the perfect cup. You’ll be able to find the popular cinnamon tea and ginger tea, along with other flavours such as apple, strawberry, lemon, mint, peach, orange and so much more.

Tea, Tea, Tea

A fresh brew of Ceylon tea awaits!