A Quick Guide to Ceylon Tea

Affectionately dubbed as ‘tea paradise’, Sri Lanka produces teas of varying tastes and aromas, based on their elevation level, soil type, and climate. Read through our quick guide to find out more about the regions, history and benefits of Ceylon tea!

History of Ceylon Tea

Ceylon was historically known to be a producer of coffee until a fungus destroyed all the crops in 1869. When James Taylor planted 19 acres of tea in the Loolecondera estate in the hills of Kandy, Ceylon tea sprung to life, making the country one of the largest producers of tea that caters to several global markets.

Regions of Tea Cultivation

Interestingly, Ceylon tea is produced in several regions across the country, each with its own distinctive quality and taste, owing to the varying climates and elevations of the region. The main tea-producing regions are:

  • Central Province – Includes the famous hill cities of Nuwara Eliya and Kandy. Nuwara Eliya, located 6,200 feet above sea level produces rare and refined teas that are quite unlike those produced in other regions. When infused, the liquor ranges from a light golden colour to a deep red hue with an exquisite aroma. Kandy’s mid-grown tea estates, on the other hand, produces a variety of strengths and styles. Teas grown in a higher elevation produces a mild and delicate brew while those grown in a lower elevation produces a strong brew.
  • Uva Province – Grown at an elevation of 3,000 – 5,000 feet, tea produced in Bandarawela, Badulla, and Haputale are recognised around the world for its distinct flavours and aromas, owing to its weather conditions.
  • Southern Province - With a warm, dry climate, the low grown teas of the southern province are elevated 2,000 feet above sea level, which produces a burgundy-hued brew. Its strong, malty flavour and distinct aroma makes it the ideal black tea.
  • Sabaragamuwa Province - Dark-yellow brown with a hint of red when brewed, teas grown in this region offers a strong flavour of Ceylon black tea.
Types of Ceylon Tea

There are three main types of Ceylon Tea produced on the island; black tea, green tea, and white tea. With over 188,000 hectares of land producing tea, Ceylon black tea is the most popular around the world, closely followed by Ceylon green tea and Ceylon white tea.

Health Benefits of Ceylon Tea

There are a number of health benefits of Ceylon tea. Ceylon black tea and Ceylon green tea are rich in polyphenols and is known to have a beneficial effect in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, long term consumption of black tea lowers blood pressure and decreases the chances of heart disease. It has also been stated that the flavonoids present in black tea have the ability to neutralise cancer-causing substances and reduce the risk of cancer initiation. Ceylon green tea is beneficial in healing skin and protecting it from UV radiation.

How to make Ceylon tea

Though simple enough, here’s the ideal way to make a delicious cup of Ceylon tea.

  1. Boil the water in a kettle.
  2. Add a single tea bag into the hot water.
  3. Let it brew for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add honey or sugar to taste.