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Story of Tea

 

Once upon a time ...

 There lived an emperor named Shen Nung in China over 5000 years ago. He was a skilled ruler, creative scientist and a patron of the Arts who made it a rule to boil water before consumption as a hygienic precaution.

 

One day while a pot of water was kept to boil, he made an amazing discovery by a fluke. A few dried out leaves which fell into the simmering water changed its colour and out of curiosity the emperor tasted the new concoction to realize it was truly refreshing.

 

This was how the tea was discovered and before long it was popularized across China by the emperor as a natural beverage. Today Tea has gained a tremendous popularity throughout the world as a hot and cold drink, both natural and healthy, which comes in an extensive array of gourmet flavours to the delight of your taste buds.

 

 Tea in Sri Lanka ...

 

Love Story Tea BookThe production of black tea in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) began after a deadly fungus destroyed most of the coffee crop on the Island in 1860s. The coffee plantation owners realized that they needed to diversify. Scotsman James Taylor is attributed to planting the first tea estate in Sri Lanka. It was in 1867 that Taylor planted 20 acres ( approx. 8 hectares) of tea on the Loolecondera estate (of which he was superintendent).

 

The tea that James Taylor made was delicious and sold for a very good price in the London Tea Auction. The tea craze hit Ceylon. By 1890 tea production was at 22,900 tons, up from just a mere 23 pounds between 1873 and 1880.

 

Today, Sri Lanka rank as the 3rd biggest tea producing country globally, has a production share of 9% in the international sphere, and one of the world's leading exporters with a share of around 19% of the global demand. The total extent of land under tea cultivation has been assessed at approximately 187,309 hectares.  The tea growing areas are mainly grouped according to their elevations, with High Growns ranging from 1200m upwards, Medium Growns covering between 600m to 1200m. and Low Growns from sea level up to 600m.

 

High grown teas from Sri Lanka are reputed for their taste and aroma. The two types of seasonal tea produced in these areas Dimbula and Nuwara Eliya are much sought after by blenders in tea importing countries. Uva teas from Eastern Highlands contain unique seasonal characters and are widely used in many quality blends. The medium grown teas provide a thick coloury variety.