Commercial production since: the 1870’s. The British brought tea to the island as early as the 1830’s, and it became a dominant crop after blight prevented the growth of coffee.
Major tea producing regions: Ruhuna, Ratnapura, Dimbula, Uva, and Nuwara Eliya.
Sri Lankan teas will often be found under the Ceylon name, an English transliteration of the name given the island by Portuguese explorers. Its climate allows tea production year-round.
- Ceylon tea production is divided into low-grown (2,000 feet and below), mid-grown, and high-grown (above 4,000 feet).
- The Colombo tea auction holds claim as the largest tea auction in the world, with efficiency that rivals computerized bidding programs.
- Statistics still place Sri Lanka as the largest tea exporting country
- The island’s mountain range creates 2 separate monsoon seasons, one for each side of the mountains.
- Western high-grown (Dimbula region) estates include Brunswick, St. Coombs, and Kenilworth.
- Some of the highest altitude Ceylon black teas include those from Lover’s Leap in the Nuwara Eliya region. These are grown in elevations of 6,000 – 7,000 feet.
- Uva teas grow on the elevated eastern section of the mountain range at altitutes of 3,000 – 5,000 feet.
- Low- and mid-growing regions include Ratnapurna, Galle, and Kandy.
- Though Sri Lanka is known for its orthodox black teas, there has been growth (especially in the low-grown regions) in CTC teas as a response to demand for higher quality tea-bag teas.
- Sri Lankan oolongs and white teas have also gained an increased presence in markets.
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