Processing of tea in SriLanka



Will the Processing of tea in SriLanka die just as the coffee production did?

 

SriLanka has been known to be a tea producing country.

Group of Tea Pickers Walking on Path in Tea Estate, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Group of Tea Pickers Walking on Path
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
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An island in the Indian Ocean it was once a colony of England called Ceylon. Many people are not aware that in the 1800's coffee was its principle crop.

It was the British who made coffee a huge commercial success there. This was done at the expense of the land. Forests were cut down and the land was devoted to growing coffee. The lack of trees for shade created the environment that caused a fungus. It was called the coffee rust fungus and it destroyed the coffee plants.

The next British enterprise was to plant the tea bush or Camellia Sinensis plant. In the year 1867 James Taylor was the first to plant tea seeds in Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon. The tea bush is not so vulnerable to this fungus that destroyed the coffee crop. This is how the processing of tea in Srilanka began. Today Sri Lanka numbers among the third largest countries that export tea.

Being influenced by the British what kind of tea would you expect to find being produced there?

It should not be surprising to find that tea produced in Sri Lanka would be wonderful black teas. Other types of tea are also produced there, but SriLanka is most famous for its black loose tea. Tea flavor is influenced by the soil it is grown in. The climate and the altitude also play a roll in the final taste profile. How the tea harvest is handled after picking determines what type of tea it will be. (black, green, oolong or white)

Tea is similar to wine in this respect. You can expect Ceylon tea to have medium body with a slight essence of fruit. The color will be bright having a burgundy or brown hue and the flavor smooth.

Tsunami hits Sri Lanka in 2004


In recent years Srilanka was hit by a tsunami. Unlike the coffee blight that destroyed the coffee industry, the tea industry was spared. The higher elevations where tea plants grow saved the country from losing another export industry.

The tsunami, an earthquake under the sea that causes a hugh sea wave, took more that forty thousand lives. Over a million people lost their homes. The coast line is forever changed.

The people there struggle to survive. Their tourist industry has been affected by both the tsunami and political unrest. The loose tea industry not being located on the coast of the island was spared the terrible devastation.

Tea pluckers continue to work

Worker Picking Tea Bushes, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Worker Picking Tea Bushes,
Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

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The processing of tea in SriLanka still employs many. This nation continues to be one of the top producers of loose tea for the world



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