It was in 1824, at the botanical gardens at Peradeniya in Kandy, that
Tea was introdused in Sri Lanka for the first time ever. Earlier it was
brought from China, but later, in 1839, more were introduced from Assam.
James Taylor, a Scottish planter, planted tea seedlings on eight
hectares of forest land which had been actually cleared for coffee
plantation. Two years later the whole coffee crop was destroyed by
blight and the all planters had to resort to tea as a result of James
The first sale of Looll kandara tea was held at Kandy in 1872. Export
was started in 1873 with 23 pounds (approximately 10 kg) being shipped
The first public Tea auction was held in Ceylon in 1880 and The Ceylon
Tea Traders Association was formed in 1884.
In 1925 the Tea Research Institute was established at Talawakelle to
extend the facility of research work and to improve the industry.
Quality of Tea
Quality tea should meet all the criteria a tea drinker would look for:
such as Flavor, an attractive bright coppery or orange color, good
liquoring properties, which give body or strength to the tea, and
fragrance. All the type of Tea produced in Sri Lanka is flavored by
different drinkers of worldwide.
The high grown varieties, grown from 1220m up to about 2500m, with
their light taste, weak color and strong aroma are preferred by German
Medium grown tea, grown from 550 to 1220m with its good mix of liquor
and color is popular in Australia, Europe and North America.
Low grown tea, grown below 550m, with its thick taste and strong color
is popular in Middle East.
Present day marketers have introduced variety of flavored teas in to
the domestic and export markets.
Tea Producing Areas
There are six main tea-producing areas- Galle, to the south of the
island; Ratnapura, about 55 miles east of Colombo; Kandy, Nuwara Eliya,
the highest area that produces the finest teas; Dimbula, west of the
central mountains; and Uva, located east of Dimbula. Any tourist
planning to visit a tea estate may simply visit any of these localities.
Accomodation can be availed at the guest houses belonging to the
respective tea estates. The finest teas are gathered from late June to
the end of August in eastern districts and from the beginning of
February to mid-March in the western parts.