The story of Ceylon tea has always interested travelers and at Sri Lanka In Style we love helping our clients learn and understand the story of Ceylon tea and the intricacies of an industry that bears a name with tremendous global brand recognition.
As a nation we are proud of our tea journey over the last 150 years. It has become a beverage consumed by almost every Sri Lankan and the industry has contributed significantly to our economy. However, with globalization and changes in consumer trends, things are about to change.
For the longest time, we have produced our teas using traditional production techniques. These labor intensive production techniques have not changed drastically over the last 150 years and this has resulted in the cost of production remaining almost static. These techniques also produce traditional tea grades which can be produced by any other country.
Other tea producing nations such as India and Kenya have now implemented production techniques using smarter machinery which has reduced their cost of production and their market prices. This makes it difficult for Ceylon tea to compete in the marketplace.
If Sri Lanka wants to compete on price, a possible way forward is to invest and develop smarter technologies that allow automated plucking which enables efficient tea picking on our steepest hills. But there is more to tea than the “volume game” – Sri Lanka is leading the way in blending tea in a different way… in what we all know as ‘infusions’.
Experts believe that adding value to tea by producing tea infusions or by creating local brands of tea should be the next phase of Ceylon tea. Tea infusion is not a new concept but it has now become a major competitive edge.
Tea infusion is a process of naturally adding roots, flowers, fruits or leaves of another plant to traditional teas. It could be lemongrass, hibiscus, licorice, chamomile and sometimes even chili. Various combinations that can be created through infusions transform the taste of teas to create more interesting and subtle flavours. Tea infusions are also great for food pairings and there have been instances where wine is replaced by tea infusions!
In Sri Lanka, a great place to experience tea infusions are Dilmah Tea Lounges (
https://www.dilmaht-lounge.com/sri-lanka/). These lounges are great for a quick taste of Sri Lankan tea infusions.
For a more deep dive in to the production of natural tea infusions, a visit to the gorgeous Amba Estate is a must (
https://www.srilankainstyle.com/experience/artisanal-tea-making-trek). In our opinion, Amba Estate produces the most innovative tea infusions on the island and we have been fascinated by their creativity. This visit enables a traveler to understand how the tea scene in Sri Lanka is evolving and how tea could be created in various ways. On our next post we will explore tea production techniques and how Amba Estate is pioneering a new form of tea production.
Dilanke stumbled in to the travel industry whilst completing his Management Accounting examinations and has been rediscovering his passion for travel since then. He has designed many luxury experiential holidays to Sri Lanka for several years before his short stint at Yala National Park as a safari guide. Since 2016 he is managing Pepper Life, a company that designs and develops unique travel experiences to connect travelers to the people and culture of Sri Lanka.
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