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Ceylon tea, also known as Sri Lanka tea, is a type of black tea grown and produced in Sri Lanka. It is known for its high quality and distinct flavor, which has made it a favorite among tea lovers all around the world. In this article, we will take a closer look at the history, production, and health benefits of Ceylon tea.
History of Ceylon Tea
The first tea seeds were brought to Sri Lanka in 1824. Tea seeds were brought back to Ceylon for the second time in 1839. Both these cases are for research purposes and not cultivation purposes. These tea seeds were planted in the Peradeniya Botanical Garden and grew freely (without budding).
In 1852, a 17-year-old young man named James Taylor came to Sri Lanka from England. He came to Sri Lanka with the intention of improving coffee cultivation which was widespread in Sri Lanka in those days. But at that time, an epidemic spread throughout the coffee plantations in Sri Lanka. Because of this, the coffee plantation in Sri Lanka was destroyed. After realizing that there is no possibility to expand the coffee plantation in Sri Lanka again, James Taylor turned his attention to the tea plantation.
An Englishman named Noble who visited Ceylon from India gave Taylor basic knowledge of tea. After that, James Taylor was inspired to do a lot of experiments and research on tea. In the year 1847, he started a successful tea cultivation project at No. 7 Hewaheta Lul Kandura estate.
Tea cultivation was mostly done in the Badulla, Kandy and Udu Kandy areas. This is how tea cultivation started in our country. Because of this, James Taylor, the pioneer of tea cultivation in Sri Lanka, is known as the father of tea cultivation. Stuart Mackenzie, Governor of Ceylon from 1837 to 1841, who was interested in tea cultivation in Ceylon 30 years before James Taylor’s tea plantation, planted some tea seeds brought to Ceylon from Assam in India during his reign. Peradeniya Botanical Garden Nursery. But he could not expand tea cultivation in Sri Lanka.
Coffee cultivation did not succeed, so English planters turned their attention to other substitute crops. It is Cinchona and tea. Cinchona cultivation also failed, so British planters turned their attention to tea cultivation. They saw the success of James Taylor’s tea plantation project at Lull Kandura Estate. British planters were able to successfully start the tea cultivation system in Sri Lanka through that example.
Due to the spread of tea cultivation throughout Sri Lanka, by the year 1873, Sri Lanka joined the international export market by exporting 23 pounds of tea. In 1891, English planters in Ceylon awarded James Taylor a silver tray. James Taylor died of dysentery in 1892. His body was buried in Mahaiyava Cemetery, Kandy. The marble tomb built for him can still be seen there today. This implies that tea cultivation has such a long history.
In 2013, Sri Lanka became the country that exported the most tea. The country earned a record income by exporting 340 million kilograms of tea. This symbol appears to be recognized by tea drinkers from all over the world. The symbol is registered in about a hundred countries at the moment.
The museum was established by the Sri Lanka Board in 2001 in Kandy. A lot of valuable information about ‘Sri Lanka’s past’ has been revealed by the museum.
Progress can be very slow. The Sri Lankan Research Institute is the fastest growing tea producer in the country.
A small center staffed by a few research officers was maintained in Nuwara Eliya to update the processes as they progressed. Later on, in 1929, a full-fledged research institute was established at the St. Coomb Estate, Talawakele. This is one of the leading research institutes for formal research activities. With the intention of bringing new ideas to the areas where tea plantations are also being carried out, branches have been established in the cities of Passara, Kandy, Ratnapura, Galle, Deniya, Kalutara.
There are many factors that have led to the popularity of products manufactured in Sri Lanka.
There are a variety of “taste” colors and aromas preferred by different segments of the population, according to these studies. This is why CEYLON TEA’s popularity is because it can be produced in different models that satisfy people’s tastes. Topographical anomalies, rainfall patterns, temperature and Due to the influence of many physical factors such as humidity of the atmosphere, in accordance with the bidirectional characteristics, seven agro-climatic zones have been identified. The zones identified here include Nuwara Eliya, Udapussellawa, Dimbula, Kandy, Uva, Sabaragamuwa and Ruhuna. In this way, it was possible to produce seven types of excellent agroclimatic teas with quality in taste.
At present, compared to other countries in the world, very advanced machinery and technology are being used for tea production in Sri Lanka. No matter how advanced technology and machinery are used in the tea industry, the primary priority is given to the traditional method in Sri Lanka. A lot of human resources are used for this. A machine cannot determine the healthiness of the cup of tea we drink. For that, the contribution of labor resources has a very high value. It is for this reason that the aroma and taste of tea powder determined by man has been able to carry the name of Ceylon Tea. This tea bears the lion mark of the world.
Production of Ceylon Tea
Ceylon tea is produced using the orthodox method, which involves plucking the leaves by hand and then withering, rolling, and oxidizing them. The tea is then fired to stop the oxidation process and give it its distinctive flavor and aroma.
Plucking the Leaves
The first step in producing Ceylon tea is plucking the leaves. Tea leaves are plucked by hand, which ensures that only the top two leaves and the bud are picked. This is important because these leaves are the most tender and flavorful.
Once the leaves are plucked, they are spread out on trays and left to wither for several hours. During this time, the leaves lose moisture and become limp, which makes them easier to roll and shape.
After the leaves have withered, they are rolled to break down the cell walls and release the enzymes that will cause oxidation. This is typically done using a rolling machine, which presses and twists the leaves to shape them into small, tight balls.
Once the leaves have been rolled, they are left to oxidize. Oxidation is a natural process that occurs when the enzymes in the tea leaves react with oxygen in the air. This causes the leaves to turn brown and develop their characteristic flavor and aroma.
To stop the oxidation process, the tea leaves are fired. Firing involves exposing the leaves to high temperatures, which stops the oxidation process and gives the tea its distinctive flavor and aroma.
Flavor and Aroma of Ceylon Tea
Ceylon tea has a unique flavor that is often described as bold and full-bodied, with a bright and brisk taste. The tea is known for its crisp, refreshing quality, and it can be enjoyed on its own or with a splash of milk and sugar.
In terms of aroma, Ceylon tea has a floral and fruity scent that is both invigorating and soothing. The tea’s aroma is particularly strong when the leaves are freshly brewed, and it can fill a room with its delightful fragrance.
Types of Ceylon Tea
There are several different types of Ceylon tea, each with its own unique flavor and aroma. Some of the most popular types of Ceylon tea include:
Black Tea: This is the most common type of Ceylon tea, and it is known for its bold and full-bodied flavor. It can be enjoyed on its own or with a splash of milk and sugar.
Green Tea: This type of Ceylon tea is made from unoxidized tea leaves, which gives it a milder flavor and a lighter color.
White Tea: This is the most delicate type of Ceylon tea, and it is made from the youngest tea leaves. It has a subtle flavor and a pale color.
Oolong Tea: This type of Ceylon tea is partially oxidized, which gives it a unique flavor and aroma that is somewhere between that of black tea and green tea.
Health Benefits of Ceylon Tea
Like other types of black tea, Ceylon tea is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the body against harmful free radicals. Antioxidants can also help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
In addition, Ceylon tea contains caffeine, which can help boost energy and alertness. However, the caffeine content in Ceylon tea is lower than that of coffee, making it a good alternative for those who want a mild energy boost without the jitters.
Finally, Ceylon tea is also believed to have a calming effect on the mind and body, thanks to its high content of theanine, an amino acid that is known to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
Ceylon tea is a delightful and unique brew that has captured the hearts of tea lovers around the world. With its bold flavor, refreshing aroma, and numerous health benefits, it’s no wonder that Ceylon tea is one of the most popular types of tea out there.