Ceylon is renowned for its rich smooth tea with a malty nutty flavour. It isa common favourite component in many breakfast teas, but there is a lot more to Ceylon tea than meets the eye. The story of tea in Ceylon actually starts with coffee. Through the early part of the 19th century the Sri Lankan hills sides were filled with coffee trees, these were planted by the British as a way of paying for their garrisons on the island. However by the 1880's a debilitating disease known as 'coffee rust', struck all the plants on the island. Luckily a Scotsman named James Taylor had started experimenting planting tea in 1866. By the time the coffee rust had taken hold Taylor had already planted 20 acres worth of tea and when his first tea shipments arrived in London, word spread and planters flocked to James Taylor's door to learn how to plant this new crop. In a heroic effort 300,000 acres of land were stripped and replanted with tea bushes which managed to turn the colony prosperous once again. At the time Sir Arthur Conan Doyle even said of this feat, ‘the tea-fields of Ceylon are as true a monument to courage as is the lion at Waterloo'.
Sri Lanka is covered with tea plantations now, not just in the Highlands where the first tea plantations started but also low lying regions as well. This makes Ceylon tea uniquely diverse. The low grown tea is darker and stronger, often used in breakfast tea blends. High grown teas have a lighter smoother flavour and are usually sold in the OP format which are the first two leaves from the new shoot. Our very own Smooth Ceylon is an OP from the Dimbula region, where some of the first plantations were established. The tea leaves are grown 1250 metres above sea level with a special micro climate that is especially wet and misty, but with cool winds in the summer which help to produce some of the finest tea in Sri Lanka. Our Smooth Ceylon makes a brew with a fine golden-orange hue which is refreshingly smooth to drink.