The wonderful history of Ceylon tea and its evolution
Ceylon tea, a much-loved tea that is used in the production of various types of brews and infusions, has a story that is a reflection of Ceylonese heritage and the influence of colonization. The story dates back to the 1820s when Sri Lanka was still a British Colony. The first tea plant was brought to Sri Lanka and planted in the Royal botanical gardens in Peradeniya by the British. But, it was Sir James Taylor’s arrival in Ceylon in the 1850s that kicked off the legacy of Ceylon tea. After visiting India in the 1860s, he was influenced by the emerging tea industry in India, which allowed him to understand the fundamentals of growing premium tea. He returned to Ceylon, where he began planting tea on his estate in Kandy. By 1872, he was ready to start the first tea factory and begin exporting Ceylon tea.
When the sales of Ceylon tea grew, several institutions and organizations were held responsible for auditing and reporting the growth of Ceylon’s tea industry. The appropriate support and the hard work of tea estates helped Sri Lanka become the world’s largest tea export by 1963 and in 1966, Sri Lanka commemorated a successful 100 years of planting and distributing tea.
At present, Ceylon tea is found in various regions of the world. Ceylon tea in South Africa accounts for 10% of the total demand for tea in the country.
The fame and popularity of Ceylon tea have inspired the biggest exporters of Ceylon tea to adopt new technologies and innovate the planting and the processing of Ceylon tea, as evident by the initiatives taken by many of the producers. For example, being one of the biggest exporters and producers of Ceylon tea, we, at Dilmah tea, are a carbon neutral brand and expiring to become carbon zero by 2030.
However, throughout the years, the premium quality of Ceylon tea has not diminished. If at all, it has enhanced to capture more hearts of enthusiastic consumers of tea, locally and internationally. From exporting tea to all corners of the world and promoting Ceylon black tea in South Africa, Australia and the Middle East, and many other nations to retaining its position as one of the best teas in regions where Ceylon tea was always recognized, tea from Sri Lanka is growing to new heights in the world of tea.