Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Newsletter
In this month we have a special focus on Sri Lanka – The beautiful tropical island where the amazing Ceylon teas are produced. Sri Lanka, or as it used to be called, Ceylon, has had a turbulent history over the last centuries. The island has been colonised by several nations and hit by civil wars and natural disasters.
In last week’s newsletter we told four beautiful teas from Sri Lanka, and in this newsletter we would like to take you on a small trip to the island, which we last visited in 2019.
Ceylons tea history
Of course, it was the English who started tea production in Sri Lanka just as they did in India, but the Portuguese were actually the first settlers on the island. They were ousted by the Dutch in 1656, who were again expelled by English troops in 1798. The island was of great economic importance due to large quantities of gemstones and pearls.
The climatic conditions with two monsoon times should prove to be ideal for growing tea and soon one tea plantation emerged after another. Within a few years, tea had become the new great crop on the island. Already in 1870, Ceylon had become a very large tea producer and it was the pioneering work of Scot James Taylor that made it the island’s largest export.
Most of the tea was shipped to England where Ceylon tea accounted for 37% of total consumption. It was also during these years that Thomas Lipton, a wealthy merchant, began to take an interest in the tea. He had outlets all over england and he never got out of the way of good business. Ceylon became the most important of the English’s so-called “Crown Colonies” and the income from the island was so large that the English chose to let the Dutch take over Java.
VISUAL JOURNEY TO CEYLON PLANTATIONS
We have cut a small film together with a short introduction to Ceylon tea, so join us on an exciting journey to the world of tea. We visited the island during the rainy season in late 2019 and during filming we were haunted by leeches who climbed out of our legs and bit themselves.
Find our Ceylon teas here.