In this blog, we are going to bring you some very interesting facts about a mystic island nation in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka. The tea industry of Sri Lanka began nearly 150 years ago in 1867 under the ruling of the British monarchy as one of their colonies. Since then, the country has continued this industry with many developments. Today the country holds the title of the 4th largest tea exporter in the world after China, Kenya, and India.
Around 303.8 million kilogram of tea has been produced in 2018, out of which, 91% is Orthodox Black tea, 7.8% is CTC Black tea and the balance is produced as Green tea. Among all the other tea producers in the world, the specialty of Sri Lankan tea is heavily resulted by the diverse agro-climatic inheritance of the country.
Bulk tea boxes in factory, Sri Lanka
There are a few facts you must first understand about the Sri Lankan tea industry. Teas are grown and produced in plantations, covering six planting regions in the country. The finished teas are sent to Colombo to sell at the Colombo public tea auction. The buyers and the exporters buy the required amount of tea at the auction and do their own packaging and value additions before shipping the products from Colombo to overseas buyers.
Best tea destinations to plan your travel- Ceylon Tea Museum
As you arrive in Colombo, you can take a visit to Kandy city, the ancient hill capital of Sri Lanka. The Ceylon Tea Museum is located in Hanthana area, around 3 km away from Kandy. The museum contains a number of exhibits that demonstrate the evolution of tea Industry in Sri Lanka with a dedicated section for Sir James Taylor – the father of Ceylon tea. Don’t forget to visit the ever popular Elephant orphanage at Pinnawala, on your way from Colombo to Kandy.
Ceylon Tea Museum- Tea hills
From Kandy, you could take a trip to the mystic tea country, Nuwara Eliya. The city consists of many decent hotels and apartments for a comfortable stay. When it comes to tea travel, it is a must do to visit “Pedro tea estate”, located 3.5 km away from the Nuwara Eliya Town. You can directly visit the place and book a guided tour (around 20 minutes) of the factory as well as the scenic tea fields. The estate also consists of a lovely tea house so that you can enjoy a freshly brewed cup of tea right at the site.
Tea plantation near Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka- Lipton's Seat
This is one of the most impressive viewpoints in Sri Lanka located around 18 km away from Haputhale Town. In order to visit the Lipton’s Seat, you must first buy a ticket to enter the Dambathenne Estate, and from there either a three-wheeler or jeep ride can be taken to the Lipton’s Seat. This is one of the most iconic sceneries in Sri Lanka, and it is a magical experience to be so close to the clouds. (the factory can be contacted via 0094575 670 595)
Tea plantation view from Lipton's Seat, Haputale, Sri Lanka- Tea export factory
When you come back to Colombo, it will be ideal if you can visit a tea export factory to understand better about the tea supply chain. There are few companies who open their doors to the visitors for a tea factory tour. Check out the Colombo Tea and Herb Tour if you are interested in a local tea tour.
When is the best time to travel to Sri Lanka?
When planning your visit, it is best to avoid the rainy season in the country, as you are going to visit tea plantations, hills, and sceneries. From December to March, one can experience the ideal weather conditions in the hills as well as in the southern coastal areas.
Other facts to be aware of
Before traveling to Sri Lanka, you must carefully plan your modes of transportation as the public transportation modes might be hectic to visitors from overseas. We recommend you to book your own transportation either through a travel agent or the hotel that you are staying.
Secondly, you must be careful not to try different foods from unknown street vendors. The foods in Sri Lanka are really delicious. Just make sure you get your food from a reliable vendor.
The above guide is just a nutshell of the tea travels that you can do within this amazing country. If you had been travelling to Sri Lanka for tea, please share your experience with us!
Statistics (2018), Tea Exporters Association of Sri Lanka, (2018) retrieved online via http://teasrilanka.org/statistics