Friends of Sri Lanka Association (“FoSLA”) hosted a special evening “Ceylon Tea from Colonial Times to the Modern Day & A Tea Tasting Session” in Kensington, London with Special guests included Mr Nimal Karunatilake (Trade Representative attached to the High Commission in London), who provided tourist brochures and small packets of loose-leaf tea for guests to take home. This event was a precursor to the 150th anniversary of Sri Lankan tea industry.
Dr. David Ebbels author of “Round The Tea Totum, When Sri Lanka Was Ceylon” discussed about the early days of tea planting in Sri Lanka and Ms. Sarah Callaghan inspired the audience with how she took over the dilapidated Ampitigoda Estate and created the Ceylon Company. A company that focusses on corporate social responsibility and has helping transform the lives of those she employ. Then Mr. Mike Bunston, the Tea Ambassador to the Sri Lankan Tea Board took the audience through his tea tasting tips. Members and their guests had a chance to sample teas from the 7 districts: Nuwara Eliya, Uva, Uda Pussellawa, Dimbula, Kandy, Sabaragamuwa & Ruhuna. The taste, flavor and aroma of teas are influenced by the conditions particular to those regions. Sri Lanka produces teas that are low grown (at an elevation between sea level and 600m), mid grown (from 600m – 1200m) and high grown (above 1,200m). Wine and Canapés followed while everyone took a poll at the end of the tasting session which revealed that, tea from Uva Province was the most popular.
Sri Lanka is currently the world’s fourth largest tea producer but in 1995 was at the top of the pack. Fore more information about Ceylon tea you can visit the Sri Lanka Tea Board. Sri Lanka Tea Board website