Being shadowed by its much larger neighbour – India, Sri Lanka is a rather underrated place to visit in Asia. But despite that, there is so much to the ‘Island of Dharma’ that we have yet to discover and one of the highlights of this beautiful country? Its tea culture.
Today, Sri Lanka has become one of the leading tea producing countries in the entire world. Rows of lush tea plantations can be seen in many regions across Sri Lanka – creating a multi-sensory experience with its natural setting that is pleasing to the eyes, while the aromatic scent from tea leaves leave you refreshed.
How It All Started
The tea culture in Sri Lanka dates all the way back to the 1800s – and we have the British to thank for introducing tea to the Sinhalese. It was in the year 1824 where the British brought a tea plant into the country from China, which was planted in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya at the time.
After years of cultivation, tea was truly embraced with open arms by the locals and has been embedded in their culture ever since. This rich tea culture also made the billion-dollar tea industry that it is today.
Home of Ceylon Tea
While Sri Lanka is home to one of the finest teas in the world, it is also where Ceylon tea originated from. The island nation was known as ‘Ceylon’ up until 1972, but the name of the ever-so-famous Ceylon tea still remained.
There are different varieties of Ceylon tea, but most Ceylon tea leaves would fall under the category of black tea. Ceylon tea has three main categories: low-grown, medium-grown and high-grown. High grown-tea is known to have the strongest flavour amongst the rest. But regardless of how you’d like to have your tea, it’s bound to taste exceptional either way.
Take a Trip to the Tea Estates
When in Sri Lanka, you would definitely want to consider adding a tea plantation visit in your itinerary. One of the better tea estates to visit are the factories along the Nuwara Eliya area. The Pedro Tea Factory and the Blue Field Tea Factory are the more popular ones, which offer enriching tours that show you how the process of how they make their tea. But above all, make sure to do your own research nonetheless to find which experiences would cater best to you!