The central highlands of Sri Lanka provide the apposite ecosystem that promotes the growth of the highest quality tea. The first tea plant arrived to the island nation from China in 1824 as an ornamental plant for a botanical garden. The Sri Lankan highland weather was perfect for the tea plantation because of which they thrived in the local soil. In the years that followed, more tea plants were brought from different continents and neighboring lands including, Kenya, Assam and Calcutta, after which the production of tea grew at a rapid pace. On your visit to the tea country, don’t forget to visit the tea factories to understand the local addiction to the beverage. Below, you’ll find some more information about the Sri Lankan tea:
Black Tea: Black tea is the most common kind of tea. Ceylon black tea that is found in Sri Lanka is considered to be the cleanest tea in the world, completely free of harmful pesticides or additives. To make this tea, masterful tea plucker’ hands pick the leaves, after which they are withered, rolled and fermented, and consequently dried and sifted. After the sifting process, the leaves are segregated into different grades, where every grade is characterized by a different color and intensity. The highest tea grade for black tea is the ‘orange pekoe’ and the lowest grade is known as ‘dust’. This tea is also the base for classic blends including ‘English Breakfast’ and ‘Earl Grey’. While you’re staying at a hotel in Kandy, try the rich and crisp flavor of black tea found in the particular region.
Green Tea: Ceylon green tea is becoming wildly popular outside the Sri Lankan region. Although green tea is derived from the same plant, the process of preparing it is considerably different. The green tea leaves maintain their antioxidant properties, as they are unfermented. These leaves are picked, withered and heated, then rolled before they are dried and sifted to obtain pure and clean Ceylon green tea.
White Tea: White tea is the most unique tea found in Sri Lanka and is also the most expensive, owing to the process by which it is harvested. White tea is the only tea that is completely handmade. The buds are not fermented at all and are hand rolled individually. As compared to green or black tea, white tea has less caffeine and more antioxidant concentration, making it one of the healthiest teas out there. Characterized by a subtle neutral hue, white tea is also known as ‘Silver Tips’ in the region. While you’re staying at a homely cottage in Nuwara Eliya, try the Adam’s Peak white tea produced here, named after the English name of Sri Pada, a local mountain that is a notable landmark and holds importance in many world religions.