In 1824 a tea plant was smuggled into Ceylon by the British from China and two decades later the first tea plantation was established. Sri Lanka is now the world's fourth largest tea grower and Ceylon teas ('Ceylon' after the former British name of the island) vary in flavour by the range of elevations the island offers.
Ruhuna Located in Sri Lanka’s Southern Province, Ruhuna enjoys abundant rainfall and a warm climate. The teas grown in this region are typically low to mid grown, the high rate of photosynthesis creates leaves that are especially suited to rolling. Teas from this range tend to be rich, coloury and strong.
Dimbula is located to the west of the central mountains, and with an elevation of approximately 5000 – 6000 ft above sea level, Teas from Dimbula of good body and full slightly malty flavours. Peak flavour season is achieved during the dry season from January till around March-April, before the onset of the monsoon rains.
Uva is located to the southeast of the central mountains. Uva’s quality season is between July to September, when the unique climate of Uva (specifically the dry prevailing winds) lends to a unique fruity character found in the flavour of the tea.
Uda Pussellawa has only one monsoon, and therefore is one of the more challenging areas in Sri Lanka for growing tea. This dry climate, which stresses the leaf to yield its best flavour is what creates the defining characteristics of Uda Pussellawa tea. The region has two quality seasons, one from January to March and the other from July to September. “The best conditions for leaf growth is however from March to April, where sunny mornings are followed by afternoon/evening showers.
Nuwara Eliya is a located in the Central Province Sri Lanka, just south of Kandy. Nuwara Eliya boasts the highest altitude of all tea-growing regions in Sri Lanka, with an elevation of approximately 6000 ft above sea level, providing for a year round cool climate. The elevation and prevailing climate causes the tea bush to grow slower with small leaves that take on an orange-hue after withering. When infused, the tea takes on a greenish yellow tinge- the palest among all regional Ceylon tea, producing a high-grown champagne like character.
Sabaragamuwa is Sri Lanka’s biggest district, the teas of which are low-grown with estates ranging in elevation from sea level to 800m. Like Ruhuna, Sabaragamuwa produces a fast-growing bush with a long leaf. The liquor is similar in colour to that of Ruhuna teas, dark yellow-brown with a reddish tint, but the aroma is noticeably different, not as strong and with a hint of caramel.