Buy Ceylon Tea Online From Sri Lanka
Ceylon Tea is, typically, a type of Black Tea from the island nation of Sri Lanka. The country (known officially as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka) is the fourth largest Tea producer in the world, accounting for over 20% of the world’s total output.
Its best-known and most popular Tea-growing districts are Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Uva and Dimbula. We stock varieties from all of these regions.
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But that’s not all on offer here. The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company also boast several truly rare gems from relatively unknown areas of Sri Lanka. Perhaps even better, we have types of Ceylon Green Tea, Ceylon White Tea and even Ceylon Oolong. Each and every variety we pack fresh to order here at our Kent-based factory, thus ensuring quality and consistency.
Ceylon Tea - Where it All Begin
The history of Tea arguably began not in the highlands of Sri Lanka, but that of Scotland. This was where James Taylor, who would eventually become a famous planter, was born. Also remarkable was the fact that, even before Taylor made his mark, the possibility of a Ceylon Tea industry came about because of Coffee - or, rather, its tremendous failure.
In the early 1820s, the last native holdout in Ceylon - Kandy - came under British rule. The island officially became a colony thereafter, at which point the new overseers sowed the seeds for a local Coffee industry. Initially, it went well - until 1869. It was then that a plant-based disease called Coffee-Rust decimated crops and came close to causing economic ruin.
Luckily, around the same time that Coffee first appeared in British Ceylon, Tea plants from China had also arrived. More came later from the Indian regions of Assam and Darjeeling. Additionally, James Taylor had purchased a Kandy-based Estate called Loolecondera in 1851. By the time Coffee-Rust had started wreaking havoc, he had already planted 19 acres of what would become Ceylon Tea.
In 1872, just three years after the outbreak, Taylor established a fully-equipped Tea factory. That same year, he made the first sale of Ceylon Tea. The year following, in 1873, the Scot sent a shipment to an auction in London, thus marking the first international sale. Planters eventually came from across the colony to learn the art of cultivating it.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the world-famous author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, wrote of the endeavour: “a rotten fungus drove a whole community through years of despair to one of the greatest commercial victories which pluck and ingenuity ever won… the tea-fields of Ceylon are as true a monument to courage as is the lion at Waterloo”.
Ceylon Tea by Grade
The lush, green, fertile island of Sri Lanka, situated in the Bay of Bengal just below the southeastern tip of India, today plays host to numerous Ceylon Tea grades. This term refers not to the quality of the leaves, but their size and where, exactly, they’re picked from on the plant. The shaping and/or breaking method used for these leaves, too, has a significant influence on your morning cuppa.
The likes of Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP) and Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP) are common with Ceylon Tea and indeed all other types of Black Tea. The former denotes Tea made from the top bud and the first two leaves of each new shoot. They also contain young, tender leaves with a balanced amount of ‘tip’ and ‘bud’. The latter is where the leaves have, literally, been broken into smaller pieces for a stronger taste.
Yet there is at least one grade associated with Ceylon Tea almost exclusively. This is Orange Pekoe (OP), which is a variety to contain leaves larger than an FOP. These are also harvested when the buds have fully unfurled, while at the same time seldom containing ‘tip.’ But while that explains the unique grading system of this Tea, it doesn’t explain the name, “Ceylon.”
Why is it Called Ceylon Tea?
The word “Ceylon” is a remnant of the British Empire. The country attained independence from its former colonial overseers in 1948, although it didn’t change its name to “Sri Lanka” until 1972. The government then found itself faced with a potentially dire logistical issue: “Ceylon Tea,” as it was still known, was popular around the world. Could the nation risk changing the name of the product, too?
Sri Lanka decided to maintain the phrasing associated with what had become an economic staple. In doing so, they hoped that it would avoid the fate of falling into obscurity. It worked. Today, few people know this infusion as “Sri Lanka Tea” - however accurate it might be. They instead use the term, Ceylon Tea, a beverage with many noteworthy qualities.
Ceylon Tea by Region
Some estimate that Tea Estates cover 4% of Sri Lanka’s landmass. Such is its abundance here, in fact, that the country has become known as the “Island of Tea.” Large areas used for Tea-growing often consist of flat plains, particularly in the south. In other regions, mountains rise to heights of around 2,400 metres above sea level. This is where some of the most-prized Ceylon Teas come from.
Broadly, around one million people - nearly 5% of Sri Lanka’s population - harvest between June and August in the eastern district and from early-February to mid-March in the western districts. Meanwhile, the exceptional climatic conditions and fertile soils of Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Uva and Dimbula, as well as Ruhuna / Ratnapura, lend themselves to great taste in your cup.
- Kandy: This is the first home of Sri Lanka Tea. It lies on the northern side of the Central Highlands at altitudes some 1,200 metres above sea level. Tea to come from Kandy is what people would classify as “mid-grown,” with most estates located on the western slopes of the nearby hills. These infusions tend to be strong and full-bodied.
- Nuwara Eliya: Located at elevations of around 1,800 metres, Nuwara Eliya is the highest part of Sri Lanka - which shows in the Tea it produces. An infusion from here often has a delicate, floral fragrance and a light, brisk flavour. Many connoisseurs indeed consider it the best of the best, with popular choices including Lovers Leap Tea and Ceylon Tea BOP Nuwara Eliya Alton.
- Uva: Although some call Uva a “district,” it is, in fact, a Province. Nevertheless, it remains sparsely populated and, as a result, relies heavily on Tea production to sustain the economy. The area itself lies to the east of the country’s high plateaus. Most estates are at elevations between 900 and 1,500 metres above sea level. The Tea, meanwhile, is sweet and woody.
- Dimbula: This particular region finds itself between two high plateaus in Central Province. Its name comes from the valley that lies in its heart. When it comes to the general taste of Ceylon Loose Tea from here - which is “high-grown” - you can expect refreshingly mellow notes. Such is the case with our ever-popular Ceylon Tea BOP Dimbula Gouravilla.
- Ruhuna / Ratnapura: Boasting low hills and plains, good soils and a favourable microclimate, this district is much underrated. Although Ceylon Tea from Ruhana / Ratnapura doesn’t have the same fame as those from Kandy, say, they have a great deal to offer. Production first started here in the 20th century. Since then, they have become known for their punchy flavour.
Health Benefits of Ceylon Tea
If the rich history and flavour of these beverages aren’t enough, consider buying them for their well-documented Ceylon Tea benefits. Studies suggest that, among other qualities, they can improve heart health, promote weight loss and reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. There is even the possibility, according to preliminary evidence, of them serving as a cancer preventative.
The primary reason for Ceylon Tea’s medicinal value is its wealth in vitamins, minerals and other antioxidants. These chemical compounds can neutralise free radicals in the body, the product of natural, though harmful, human oxidation. Ultimately, this means that your morning cuppa improves life in small yet significant ways. Here are the specifics:
Enhanced Brain Function
Ceylon Black Tea could reduce the risk of experiencing cognitive decline. This is according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The research took place at the University of Singapore, involving some 2,500 people. Its conclusion was that those who drank 6-10 cups a day had a 63% lower chance of dementia.
Promoted Weight Loss
All types of Black Tea, including this one, boost the metabolism of fat cells, which enables the body to burn fat quicker and more efficiently. Periods of exercise, therefore, produce better, indeed more noticeable results after drinking Ceylon Tea. It’s worth noting, too, that there are only two calories per 8-oz cup of it.
A collaborative study conducted at two institutes - one in Sweden and the other in the United States - found that this Tea has cavity-fighting capabilities. Scientists say that its polyphenolic compounds can kill or suppress bacteria from either growing or producing acid. What’s more, it prevents the formation of the sticky-like material that binds plaque to teeth.
A Potential Cancer Preventative
A 2015 meta-analysis discovered that drinking a cup of Tea daily, regardless of the type, reduced cancer risks by 2%. Those who drank the “most” Tea, on the other hand, had a 21% lower chance of getting cancer than those who drank none. The reason, experts say, is its abundance of antioxidants.