Sri Lanka Tea

Sri Lanka

Of special interest is a drive to the Sri Lanka's highlands for a visit to a tea plantation. Who has not heard of Ceylon Tea?
Now it is the island's major crop for export and represents a full 22 percent of the world's tea exports.

Not so surprisingly, perhaps, is the fact that it was Scotsman James Taylor who got the ball rolling in 1867 on his plantation in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, areas cool and subtropical and meeting all the agricultural requirements for growing the world's best teas.

Many varieties are grown in verdant fields that carpet the hills in linear patterns made by rows and rows of low-growing shrubs. Experts classify teas according to the altitude at which they were grown. The medium grown are the ones to be found around Kandy, and these are classified as bright and producing a dark brew.

A tea estate that is well worth visiting is the Melfort Tea Garden on the Pussellawa plantation.

Spotless, whitewashed building house drying tables and all the processing equipment to sort and prepare the various grades of world-famous hand-picked Ceylon tea. The "plucking" is done largely by Tamil women, descendants of workers brought from India during the colonial era. Their children walking home from school in their crisp uniforms are just as curious about you as you are of them.

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For more travel and background information on Sri Lanka, read our Sri Lanka Guide and the travel tips, helping you to make the most out of your holiday in Sri Lanka.