There is something special about a great cup of fresh tea. When it is harvested and processed correctly the flavours found in fresh tea can be intense, subtle, layered, and delightful: far more rewarding and enchanting than your typical store bought and bagged cuppa. If you’re a fine tea enthusiast like I am (also known as a “tea snob”), you may be interested to know that some of the world’s best loose leaf and blended teas are produced in Sri Lanka, these are still known by the country’s old name Ceylon. These teas are considered some of the best in the world.
There are numerous reasons to visit the ancient, mystical, beautiful, and complex country that is Sri Lanka. Despite its tumultuous history of struggles between people groups and neighbouring India, this country is abundant and gorgeous and tourism is a great benefit to its economy. For me, the best reason to visit this intriguing country is to discover and spend time among the tea plantations, learning about how delectable Sri Lankan tea is grown and made.
The tea industry in Sri Lanka is a testament to the country’s courage and resiliency. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once said, “Not often is it that men have heart when their one great industry is withered, to rear up in a few years another as rich to take its place, and the tea fields of Ceylon are as true a monument to courage.”
Sri Lanka’s dedication to producing great teas is to be applauded. When you visit Sri Lanka’s tea country, you will notice that much of Sri Lanka’s rolling green hills are covered with tea plants. The tea regions are the country’s most scenic with awe-inspiring mountain peaks, dramatic waterfalls, and winding pathways through the lush green. Even if you’re not a tea lover, visiting this part of Sri Lanka is unforgettable.
Tea is produced in several different regions in Sri Lanka, but generally around its central regions. Tea regions include Galle, Ratnapura, Kandy, Dimbula, Uva, and Nuwara Eliya. The highest region is Nuwara Eliya, which is said to produce the finest teas in the country, or perhaps anywhere. These teas are generally not bagged, which is good news for tea enthusiasts who know the value of a fresh loose leaf tea but not always great news for the Sri Lanka tea industry (many teas are becoming solely bagged, which reduces flavour).
The region a tea is grown contributes to the tea flavour. Low-grown teas are flavourful and have a pleasant aroma and colour, but the higher grown teas (from 3500 to 7500 feet), planted and grown in the hills of Sri Lanka, are incredibly rich in colour, and flavour. It is therefore best to visit several regions to get a full understanding of Sri Lanka’s varied tea flavours and aromas.
Tea Country is also home to Adam’s Peak, the great holy mountain which rises to 7360 feet is the second highest peak in the country and a place of deep significance for Sri Lankan Christians, Muslims and Buddhists. A six hour trek will get you to the peak and offer unrivalled panoramic views of Sri Lanka.
Tea lovers will also enjoy tours of tea plantations to learn the 7 key steps for making a great tea, and taking part in high tea available at many resorts, villas, and bungalows in the region. Sri Lanka’s tea country is a true treasure and worth a trip all its own. If you have never thought of visit Sri Lanka but love tea, come for the flavour, the beauty, the courage and tastes of this great region.
Note: if you’re looking to try Ceylon tea at home, be sure it bears the official Ceylon quality symbol (a lion with a sword) otherwise it is not actually from Sri Lanka.
This is a guest post by K Newey, a copywriter, scriptwriter and tea snob who would love to visit Sri Lanka, walk in the green fields and endlessly sip fresh Ceylon teas. If you’re considering a visit to Sri Lanka, check out Tropical Sky for help planning a bespoke tea centred holiday!