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Updated by Joanna James on May 30, 2020
Headline for Types of Tea to taste in Sri Lanka – For the refined palate
Joanna James Joanna James
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Types of Tea to taste in Sri Lanka – For the refined palate

From 1824 when tea first arrived in Sri Lanka from China, it was discovered that the central highlands of Sri Lanka had special, rich soil where quality tea could be produced. Since then tea plants have come in from several countries and were cultivated here, thus, the tea industry began and is one of the major exports bringing income into the country today. Here are a few types of tea you ought to taste when in Sri Lanka.


Black tea

This is the most common type of tea in Sri Lanka and in the world, Ceylon tea is known to be the cleanest tea in the world as well with no preservatives or pesticides used when growing the crops. Usually, two tender leaves attached to a bud are plucked in large quantities and bought to the factory where they go through many processes from withering, to rolling, fermenting and much more. Once the leaves are dried and sifted, they're separated according to textures and then graded. Each grade is used to make different types of blends; Black tea with berries, English Breakfast, Rose and French Vanilla, English Afternoon, Spiced Masala, Irish Breakfast, Lapsang Souchong and Earl Grey.


Green tea

Green tea in Sri Lanka is also made using the same plant, however, the processes may differ. In this case, the leaves are left unfermented, thus retaining its antioxidant feature. Still, the leaves are withered, heated and rolled before drying and sifting. Just as it is with black tea, Ceylon green tea does not contain additives or pesticides. Special blends such as Real Leaf Green Tea, Mint Green Tea, Jasmine Green Tea and Lemongrass Green Tea can be found.


White tea

This type of tea is by far the most expensive of Ceylon teas to be found. This is because, believe it or not, White tea is handmade tea! At dawn, the tea pluckers set out to the terraces and pick out only the buds. Each bud is then hand-rolled and is not fermented. The colour of White tea is very light, therefore, it is also called "Silver Tips". It has even more antioxidants than green or black tea and thus is healthier as well. You'll find it sold in loose-leaf or pyramid teabags. There are a few blends for White tea as well; Jade Butterfly handmade white, Ceylon Silver Tips, Real White tea and White Litchee hand-rolled tea.


Tea basics

All tea in Sri Lanka is made from the Camillea Sinensis species, what makes the difference in taste is the climate in which the plant is grown. The difference in soil too is a factor that contributes to a change in flavours. The fascinating part of it all is that tea is grown in five regions in Sri Lanka and all at different elevation as well. A tour around the factory is pretty interesting as well and is possible if you are staying in hotels in Nuwara Eliya. For instance, hotels like Heritance Tea Factory offers tours and tea plucking sessions for those interested.

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