Ceylon tea (black)

Ceylon tea (black)

Tea_name = Ceylon
Tea_type = Black
Tea_color = Black

Tea_origin = Sri Lanka | Tea_names = NA | Tea_quick = Powerful, light, citrusy crisp taste.

Ceylon black tea is black tea that is grown in Sri Lanka (which was known as Ceylon before 1972). It has a crisp aroma reminiscent of citrus, and is used both unmixed and in blends. It is grown on numerous estates which vary in altitude and taste.



The production of black tea in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) began after a deadly fungus called "Hemileia vastatrix" destroyed most of the coffee crop on the island. The coffee plantation owners realized that they needed to diversify. The Loolecondera Estate had long been interested in producing tea in Sri Lanka. James Taylor, one of the fathers of Ceylon Tea, had recently arrived on the Estate and wanted to be there for the sowing of the first tea crops in 1867. It was done on 19 acres of land. James Taylor was already experienced in tea cultivation. He had acquired his knowledge in North India. He carried out different experiements on cultivating tea on the verandah of his estate. He rolled the leaves by hand and fired the oxidized leaves on clay stoves over a charcoal fire.

The tea that James Taylor made was delicious and sold for a very good price in the London 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.

Until 1971, most of the tea companies in Sri Lanka were British-owned, but this soon changed after the Land Reform Act was introduced to reacquire land in foreign hands. Since 1990, a new plan has been devised to share the industry between state-owned companies and privately-owned companies. Today Lipton, Sir Winston and Ahlan Tea are the most widely-known Ceylon tea brands around the world.

Tea branding

Ceylon or Sri Lanka is renowned for its high-quality tea. Sri Lanka, as the 3rd biggest tea producing country globally [http://www.pureceylontea.com/srilankatea.htm] , has a production share of 9% in the international sphere, and is one of the world's leading exporters with a share of around 19% of global demand. The total extent of land under tea cultivation has been assessed at approximately 187,309 hectares.

Ceylon tea is divided into 3 groups as Upcountry, Mid country and Low country tea based on the geography of the land on which it is grown.

The plantations started by the British were initially taken over by the government in the 1960s but have since been privatized and are now run by 'plantation companies' which own a few 'estates' or tea plantations each.

Though tea is not the largest export commodity in Sri Lanka, it is the most value-added product, since the total production from beginning to end is done within Sri Lanka.

Tea produced in Sri Lanka carries the "Lion Logo" [http://www.pureceylontea.com/lionlogo.htm] on its packages, which indicates that the tea was produced in Sri Lanka. The use of the Lion Logo is closely monitored by the Sri Lanka Tea Board, [http://www.pureceylontea.com/] which is the governing body of the tea industry in Sri Lanka. If a tea producer wants to use the lion logo on his packaging, they need to gain permission from the Sri Lanka Tea Board. The tea board then performs a strict inspection procedure, the passing of which allows the producer to use the logo, along with the "Pure Ceylon Tea - Packed in Sri Lanka" slogan on their tea packaging. Each and every consignment is thoroughly inspected by Sri Lanka Tea board officers before being shipped. Therefore the lion logo and the wording is indeed the assurance of the origin of the tea and of its quality.

Most of the Sri Lankan tea exporters now focus on adding more value to the exports rather than exporting raw tea. The name "Ceylon Tea" or "Sri Lankan tea" is still regarded as a sign of quality throughout the world.

;Grading of Ceylon Tea:Grade names which are used in Sri Lanka to classify its teas are not by any means the indication of its quality but its size and appearance. Mainly there are two categories. They are "Leaf grades" and "Smaller broken grades". Leaf grades refers to the size and appearance of the teas that were produced during Sri Lanka's colonial era (which are still being used) and the other refers to the modern tea style and appearance.

Leaf grades

;OPA (Orange Pekoe A): The largest whole leaf wiry tea. A delicate brew that varies in taste, according to the different elevations at which it is grown.

;OP (Orange Pekoe): A whole leaf, well twisted tea. A delicate brew that varies in taste according to the different districts in which it is grown.

;OP 1 (Orange Pekoe 1): A well twisted leaf tea, generally from the low country region.

;Sencha: This Green tea is prepared using the Japanese steaming process. A delicate tasting tea with a character synonymous with this style of manufacture.

;Pekoe: A curly leaf style giving a light cup and delicate taste

maller broken grades

;FBOP (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe): A semi- leaf tea with some tip. Has a mellow flavoury cup.

;FBOPF Ex.Sp (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning Extra Special): A whole leaf tea with an abundance of long tips. An exquisite mildly caramel sweet liquor.

;FBPOF 1 (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fanning 1): A typical low country semi-leaf tippy tea with a full bodied sweet brew.

;BOP (Broken Orange Pekoe): A popular leaf size, which helps to bring out a good balance of taste and strength.

;BOPF (Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings): A particle smaller than BOP, popular in the higher elevations. Tastes stronger than BOP whilst retaining all other characteristics.

;Dust 1: Fine granular particles that bring out optimum strength and body, ideal for commercial brewing.

;Broken Pekoe 1:The larger leaf of CTC (Crush, Tear & Curl) type manufacture with bold spherical particles giving a full bodied bright tea.

;PF 1 (Pekoe Fannings 1): A smaller size leaf of CTC (Crush, Tear & Curl) type manufacture giving a strong tasting tea. Ideal for tea bags.

;PD (Pekoe Dust): Smaller size leaf of the CTC (Crush, Tear & Curl) type manufacture, giving & strong taste with more cup colour.

;Silver Tips: The finest buds from teas of a special colour which turn velvety silver when dried. A very delicate fragrant brew of mystical medicinal properties.

;Golden Tips: The finest buds of a special clone, which turns velvety Gold due to coating of juices. A very delicate fragrant brew, of mystical medicinal properties.

;Gun Powder: This Green tea has been prepared using the Chinese pan heating process. A strong tasting tea with its unique Ceylon fragrance.

Ceylon Tea Museum

Sri Lanka Tea Board recently opened a Tea Museum in Hantana, Kandy. Although exhibits are not abundant they do provide a valuable insight into how tea was manufactured in the early days. Old machinery, some dating back more than a century, has been lovingly restored to working order. The first exhibit that greets visitors in the Engine Room on the ground floor of the museum is the Ruston and Hornsby developed diesel and other liquid fuel engines, power for the estates were obtained by water driven turbines.

Museum's "Rolling Room" offers a glimpse into the development of manufacturing techniques with its fascinating collection of rollers. Here the showpiece is the manually operated ' Little Giant Tea Roller'. It Also houses tea shops and a restaurant that give visitors an opportunity to taste and take home fine Ceylon tea. Today Akbar, Alghazaleen & Lipton are most known Ceylon tea brands around the world.

Tea-growing areas

There are six main tea-producing areas in Sri Lanka:
* Galle, to the south of the island
* Ratnapura, about convert|55|mi|km east of the capital Colombo
* Kandy, the low region near the ancient royal capital
* Nuwara Eliya, the highest area that produces the finest teas
* Dimbulla, west of the central mountains
* Uva, located east of Dimbulla


* Morawak Korale district tea is grown at up to convert|2500|ft|m
* Kandy district tea is grown at convert|2500|ft|m or above
* Uva district tea is grown at convert|2800|ft|m or above
* Dimbula and Dickoya tea is grown at convert|3500|ft|m or above
* Nuwara Eliya tea is grown at convert|6000|ft|m or above

ee also

* Other varieties of Ceylon tea: oolong, white, green.
* Tea industry of Sri Lanka
* James Taylor
* Thomas Lipton
* Dilmah
* Serendib Anti Diabetic Tea


* [http://www.wilstea.com/ceylon.htm The History of Ceylon Teas]
* [http://www.teamuse.com/article_000903.html Taylor, Lipton and the Birth of Ceylon Tea]
* [http://www.unilever.ca/ourbrands/foods/lipton_tea.asp Lipton Tea: Our Story]
* [http://www.pureceylontea.com/teamuseum.htm Ceylon Tea Museum]

External links

* [http://www.pureceylontea.com/ Sri Lanka Tea Board]
* [http://ia360632.us.archive.org/3/items/ceylonteamakersh00pettrich/ceylonteamakersh00pettrich.pdf The Ceylon tea-makers' handbook ] (1899) by George Thornton Pett, (from archive.org)
* [http://ia300202.us.archive.org/1/items/viewsofliptonsce00newyrich/viewsofliptonsce00newyrich.pdf Views of Lipton's Ceylon tea estates ] (1912), (from archive.org)

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