Ceylon Tea Story

The Story of Ceylon Tea.

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The story of Ceylon Tea begins with the introduction of tea to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), by James Taylor, a Scottish coffee planter, in 1868. The plant soon became a successful replacement for the coffee industry which was being ravaged by the coffee rust leaf disease. The new plantation crop was the leading foreign exchange earner for the country for the major part of the ensuing period of well over 150 years. It still maintains its position as a key industry in view of its contribution towards provision of employment to a very large work-force, besides being one of the highest foreign exchange earners.

The tea plant chemically is a very complex one. It contains thousands of complex organic chemical compounds. The key compounds are mainly in the  young leaves. To ensure the best quality product, only the apical leaf (bud) and the two leaves immediately below it, are carefully harvested, manually. During processing, in the factory, the chemicals in tea leaves undergo further chemical reaction, forming complexes with one another, giving rise to new compounds. The conditions in the factory need to be meticulously controlled to produce tea of uniform quality.

The smell or the aroma of brewed tea, comes from thousands of volatile compounds (collectively known as the “aroma complex), formed during processing and released to the tea liquor.. Thousands of non-volatile compounds in the tea liquor, result in the typical sense of taste in tea.The quantities and the proportions of the chemicals in young tea leaves vary from plant to plant. Therefore, modern tea plantations are raised vegetatively from cuttings of young shoots taken from mother plants selected for attributes of quality, yield, disease resistance, etc. These are called clones. Each selected mother clone is propagated in millions to ensure uniformity of attributes in tea fields.

The quality attributes of tea depend not only on the clone but also very sensitive to agro climatic conditions. Thus, the same clone planted in the three main elevational categories, low, mid and high, on the basis of height above mean sea level, give teas of vastly different quality and flavour characteristics. They vary even between too adjacent plantations.This makes Ceylon Tea unique, in that its characteristics cannot be duplicated. In the global tea market many teas, blended and packed in various countries, include a little Sri Lankan tea, to claim the famous brand. Teas Packed in Sri Lanka is the only guarantee of Pure Ceylon Tea.