If we dig deeper into the history of tea, we’ll find that tea originated over 5,000 years ago in China however it was Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, that made this beverage famous.
It all started during the British era when tea was first cultivated in Ceylon and exported to other parts of the world. This period resulted in Ceylon tea gaining reputation for being the finest tea in the world. And in 1965 Ceylon became the world's largest exporter of tea. Ceylon tea was and still is loved for its unparalleled quality and variety. The different climates in the different regions of this small island results in a variety of taste, quality, character and appearance.
What Qualifies as Ceylon Tea?
'Ceylon Tea' is basically tea which is grown and manufactured entirely in Sri Lanka. It’s quality standards are strictly regulated by the Sri Lanka Tea Board. Some of these quality standards include maintaining the authenticity and freshness of the tea leaves. If tea is mixed or blended with tea from any other part of the world it will not be labeled under Ceylon tea - it in fact becomes a single origin tea.
Climate & Tea
Ceylon tea became the favourite of many tea lovers because of its distinct taste and character which comes from Sri Lanka’s low and high tea growing regions. In the low grown regions, teas are grown in an altitude between sea level and 600 metres. These teas are exposed to longer hours of sunshine and damp weather conditions resulting in uniformly black tea leaves which is heavy and intense in flavour with a deep burgundy liquor.
Mid regions, namely Kandy, are at a height between 600 metres and 1200 metres above sea level. The weather in these regions are slightly cooler compared to the lower regions resulting in strong and full bodied teas with floral notes and malty fullness.
Higher regions are above 1200 metres of sea level. One of the well known high regions with a cool climate in Sri Lanka is Nuwara Eliya. Teas grown in this region differ drastically from teas grown in lower regions - they’re aromatic with fine and light notes and greenish, grassy tones in bright golden to deep red liquors.
We often associate Ceylon tea with black tea and although this isn’t wrong, Ceylon tea isn’t just limited to black tea - there are also green Ceylon teas.
So the next time you get yourself a cup of Ceylon tea, take a minute to think about how it differs from the other teas you’ve tried.