Tea production in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, is of high importance to the Sri Lankan economy and the world market. The country is the world's fourth largest producer of tea and industry is one of country's main sources of foreign exchange and a significant source of income for laborers, with tea according for 15% of the GDP, generating roughly $700 million annually.

In 1995 Sri Lanka was the world's leading exporter of tea (rather than producer) with 23% of total world export, but it has surpassed by Kenya. The tea sector employs, directly or indirectly over 1 million people in Sri Lanka, and in 1995 directly employed 215,338 on tea plantations and estates. The humidity, cool temperatures, and rainfall in the country's central highlands provide a climate that favors the production of high quality tea. The industry was introduced to the country in 1867 by James Taylor, the British planter who arrived in 1852.


There are six main tea growing areas in Sri Lanka. Which is basically divided to three elevation formats. High grown, central grown, low grown are the basic topics.Each elevation has its own distinctive characteristics in appearance, flavor, aroma and strength. Therefore, different grades of tea, by nature, come from different locations.


NuwaraEliya teas are grown at an elevation of over 6000 feet. They have an exquisite flavor and aroma whilst the brew is comparatively light. It is delicious delicious with a slice of lemon, lime or orange It has been said that 'NuwaraEliya is to Ceylon tea, what champagne is to French wine'

Scenic and very beautiful to behold, gushing waterfalls tea estates and green hills shrouded by mist is what once sees around NuwaraEliya.

Climate conditions are similar to that of Uva. Tea produced from these areas tend to have a medium body and a rosy taste. Leopards still roam among the mountain forest of UdaPussellawa.
Dimbula was one of the first areas to be planted after tea took over from coffee in the 1870s. The plantations, most of them around 5000 to 6000 feet up in the hills, produce a typical high grown tea, which is of the finest character and rich in color throughout the year. A place for pilgrimage is Adam's peak or Sripada, a landmark of this area, sacred to many religions.

Grown on the Eastern slopes of Sri Lanka's central mountains, tea from the Uva has district has quite a remarkable flavor and is widely used in many blends.

Wending its way through the picturesque UvaMountains is the 'viceroy special' a luxury locomotive with its old world charm.

The plantations around Kandy, which was once an ancient capital, supply what are known as mid-country teas. These are notable for full-bodied strong teas which appeal to everyone who likes a good coloury brew. The plantations are located from 2000 to 4000 feet and is the region where tea was first grown in Sri Lanka.

Kandy is also home of the DaladaMaligawa, where the sacred tooth of the Buddha is preserved and is the one of the Sri Lanka's prized possessions.

Plantation range from tropical rain forest to the south-western coast. These thick strong teas are much sought after particularly by the countries in the Middle East. A refreshing drink for those who like a thick sweet brew with or without milk.

History Of Tea

The Legendary Origins

According to the Chinese mythology tea was discovered in 2737 BC by Shen Nong Shi – (2,852-2737 B.C)

Second of the three Chinese Emperors of the san Huang period (3000-2,700 B.C)

He was a scholar, the father of agriculture and he the inventor of Chinese herbal medicine.

His edicts required that all drinking water be boiled as a hygienic precaution. One summer day while visiting a distant region, he and the court stopped to rest, and his servants began to boil water for the court to drink.

Dried leaves from the nearby bush fell into the boiling water, and a brown liquid was infused into the water. As a scientist, the Emperor was interested in the new liquid, drank some and found it very refreshing.

The tree was a wild tea tree, and so tea was created.

The Chinese Influence.

The original English pronunciation of the word tea was 'Tay"and can be traced back to around 1655 when the Dutch introduced both word and beverage to England. The pronunciation 'tee'also originated in the 1600's but only gained predominance after the late 18th century.

Both words may have come from the Malay "the' and come from the Chinese Mandarin character 'cha' pronounced 't'e' in the Amoy (Xaimen) dialect.

The word was used to describe both the beverage and the leaf. The Japanese character for tea is written exactly the same as the Chinese, though pronounced with a slight difference. .

Tea is first mentioned in Chinese writing in 222 AD as a substitute for wine and in a circa 350 AD Chinese dictionary. .

By the third century AD tea was being advocated for its properties as a healthy, refreshing drink and the benefits of the tree drinking, but it was not until the nobility of the Tang Dynasty (618 AD – 96 AD)made tea fashionable , that tea became China's national drink. .

As the demand for the tea rose steadily, Chinese farmers began to cultivate tea rather than harvest leaves from wild trees. Tea was commonly made into roasted cakes, which were the pounded into small pieces and placed in a china pot. After adding boiling water, onion, spices, ginger, or orange were introduced to produce many regional variations. .

Tea consumption spread throughout the Chinese culture. .

In 780 A.D., Lu Yu wrote the first definitive book on tea, the 'Ch'aChing" .