Food & Beverage

Jul 1, 2015

To tea or not to tea

Sri Lanka has been a tea treasure for a long time. Almost two hundred years ago, the British brought one single tea plant from China, and planted it in the Royal Botanical Gardens. The plant spread, and now Sri Lanka is one of biggest tea production countries in the world, um exports of USD$1.5 billion.

And all it took was a single plant. Tea has a history of practice in China for 5000 years. In a medical book from the year 2737 BC said that "It is gathered on the third day of the third month and then dried. It quenches the thirst, it lessens the desire for sleep, and it gladdens and cheers the heart." It was however from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) that it spread throughout the world, in the 19th and 20th century.

A man named James Taylor, who was a coffee planter, and later came to be considered the pioneer of tea cultivation on Sri Lanka, planted about 20 acres of tea on the Loolecondera estate in 1967, at an altitude of around 500 meters. Soon others followed, and after a plague decimated the coffee plantations – the main export at the time – many of the cultivators left, but many others stayed, and switched to planting tea.

By the end of the 19th century, 23 000 tons of tea were exported from Ceylon to Tea Auctions. The land was perfect for the plant, and the sun, sea and the rain, and the equilibrium of these and all the other elements and aspects of the country give the tea a unique taste and an exquisite aroma. 

The country gained independence from Britain in 1948, and became the world's leading tea exporter in the 60's, but the tea industry was still dominated by the British.

Today, Ceylon tea continues to be produced, and even though the demand is not as huge as it was, due to the cheaper multi origin blends sold around the world, a mix of teas that are from several different countries, but the quality is no match for Ceylon Tea.

Dilmah Tea.

In 1950, six Ceylonese men were selected to be tea tasters. Among them was Merrill J. Fernando, the founder and visionary of Dilmah tea. The British power over tea production was still very strong, and seeing the British exporting Ceylon tea as raw material only to be branded somewhere else led him to imagine and envision a national brand, marketed and packaged, that only sold 100% Ceylon tea, with no blends, that would help the country to profit.

Thus, in 1988, Fernando founded Dilmah tea, which today is the most internationally recognized tea brand. With the philosophy that fine tea lovers deserve the best, and therefore, Dilmah tea is for them, the brand makes sure that each bag carries the pioneering concept of tea 'picked, perfected and packed' at origin. Single Origin Tea. The high quality of each kind of tea, from simple classic black tea, to various infusions, makes us understand why it is so prized. After all, it's a truly national product, and it brings us two centuries of tradition. 

Dilmah is so dedicated to Tea, it is creating touristic resorts and tea trails, to provide travelers with the history, nature and culture of Sri Lanka, the Ceylon Tea Trails, Cape Welligama, which are already active, and in a near future, Wild Coast Lodge and Red Rocks Beach Camp.

Ceylon Tea Trails

With the Ceylon Tea Trails, you find yourself at a luxury Relais & Chateaux resort. Four colonial era tea planters' bungalows are connected by walking trails, and you can walk between them and stay on the one of your choice, indulge yourself you the beauty of the country and the ambience of the land. 

You can also learn about tea making, with a guide that will show you the complete process, from collection of the tea to the making of the final process at the factory.

Cape Weligama

Down in the Southern part of Sri Lanka, staring straight into the Indian Ocean you find a beautifully luxury resort with 40 private retreats, design by one of the most renowned architects in Asia, Lek Bunnag.

Beautiful sunsets, the wonderful emerald green tone of the land, deep blue of the ocean, and beaches that make you feel like nowhere else in the world exists join the traditional look of Sri Lankan villages represented in this resort.  All accommodations enjoy private butler services, individual gardens, dining and spa facilities.

Beautiful landscapes, endless tea plantations, exotic plants, all of this is a show that no one should miss. It's all about embracing the life in this island, and with more than one resort to choose from, there is no way anyone who comes will leave without a renewed soul and a story to tell. 

Tea Trails: Resplendent Ceylon Pvt Ltd. 46/38 Nawam Mawatha, Colombo 2, Sri Lanka | +94 11 774 5700 |

Dilmah : + 94 11 482 2000

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