On 6th July 2017, a Global Tea Party was simultaneously held at all the Sri Lankan embassies of the world. The Indian chapter was joined by various diplomats, high commissioners, secretaries and other high ranking officers from various govt. ministries along with the media and writers. I am glad to be a part of the Indian chapter as I got to know so much about how teas are produced in that part of the world and what all goes into that aroma and taste. We share a lot more with this neighboring country than mythology.
A Scottish planter named James Taylor, regarded as the father of Ceylon tea started commercial tea production in Sri Lanka in the year 1867. Since then it was no looking back. Currently, Sri Lanka is the 4th largest producer and 2nd largest exporter of tea. In fact, even we are behind Sri Lanka in terms of exports through, our country itself is a mammoth producer of tea. At many places in Sri Lanka, black tea is still produced using the orthodox method instead of CTC method which has now been adopted worldwide. The orthodox method ensures much more aroma and flavor.
There are seven districts in Sri Lanka where tea is produced – Nuwara Eliya, Uda Pusselawa, Dimbula, Uva, Kandy, Sabaragamuwa, and Ruhuna. The agroclimatic differences in these areas influence the taste, aroma, flavor, liquor, and appearance. Tea from every region has unique qualities of its own. They do not believe in blending their teas. They also don’t use the ozone depleting Methyl Bromide for their tea production and therefore Sri Lanka Tea Industry was awarded Ozone Friendly Status in 2007 and have also received the accolade from Montreal Protocol in Canada.
We also learned a bit about the complexities of tea tasting. The quality of teas showcased by Dilmah and Vintage was fantastic. I’m yet to come across more flavorful and aromatic teas. Personally, my favorite was Dilmah’s White tea. There is so much variety in teas yet to be explored by us Indians esp. the variety in which there’s no need to use milk and sugar, even though we ourselves are one of the largest producers as well as consumers of tea. I was amazed by the gesture shown by the Hon’ble Ambassador and her ministers who prepared mouth watering traditional snacks to go along with the teas.
If you want to buy Ceylon tea, look for the Lion Logo which is Sri Lankan Tea board’s registered trademark and a symbol of quality. It can be found only in packs that contain 100% pure Ceylon Tea and are packed in Sri Lanka itself.