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Teas from Sri Lanka

Historically known as Ceylon, the tear drop shaped island just south of India has a very productive tea industry. They produce many styles of black tea, most of which is sold at auction in Calcutta. The climate is such that tea can be grown all year around.

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Ceylon Orange Pekoe Black Tea | In Pursuit of Tea
Ceylon Orange Pekoe, Thotulagalla Estate (4 oz)

History & Region

Ceylon Orange Pekoe is a classic breakfast tea grown on the island of Sri Lanka. The name comes from the Dutch Royal House of Orange - not from the fruit.

Situated just off the southern coast of India, Sri Lanka's climate is tropical, with two distinct monsoon seasons allowing for yearlong tea production. Gorgeous green tea bushes wrap the lush hills, and the narrow roads wind through the verdant groves.

Long ago, Europe found it an ideal place for trading, and it became colonized for 450 years before gaining independence in 1948. The Portuguese, Dutch and British have all left their influence. The island is now home to almost 20 million people.

The Dutch were the first to experiment with planting tea, but without success. When the British secured the island, they had more luck. Planters came from England and Scotland, spurred by courage and opportunity. They bought land and toiled in harsh conditions, and by 1875, the tea industry was up and going. Sir Thomas Lipton is the most famous of the pioneering planters.

Tea produced in Sri Lanka is still referred to as Ceylonese teas.

Tea Production

Sri Lanka is the world's third largest producer of tea in the world. Most estates are also home to their own tea factories, processing thousands of tons of tea in many instances. The majority of tea production is black, 'orthodox' and grown in the following regions: Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula, Uva, Ratnapura and Galle. The region of Nuwara Eliya is the highest growing region and is credited for producing the finest teas.

'Orthodox' tea production is a method of crushing tealeaves by rolling. The rolling process helps break down and twist the leaves, allowing oxidization to begin. The tea is then fired, and final grading is based on the quality of the leaf.

Glossary of Tea Grades

Pekoe: derived from the Chinese word 'bai hao' meaning 'white hair.' It refers to the silvery white down present on young tealeaves.

Flowery Orange Pekoe: high quality whole or broken leaf tea with lots of tips

Orange Pekoe: whole leaf tea with some tips

Flowery Pekoe: whole leaf tea with leaves rolled lengthwise

Pekoe: whole leaf tea of medium quality

Broken Orange Pekoe: smaller and broken leaves with lots of tips

Broken Pekoe: broken, less quality tealeaves

Tasting Notes & Brewing

When making our teas from Ceylon, we like to pre-heat our teapot or mug. Add 1 teaspoon per cup, add hot water (just as it comes to a boil) and steep until desired strength. This tea is ideal for making in a porcelain teapot with white cups that show off its clear amber color.

Earl Grey Black Tea | In Pursuit of Tea
Earl Grey (4 oz or 1 lb)

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