Tea Regions

LOW COUNTRY - LOW GROWN TEAS


Most of the low grown teas hail from the South of the Island, or more precisely, South West. The bushes are cultivated from sea level up to at least 610 meters above sea level.


The fertile soil of this area yields a quality to the leaf of the low country teas resulting in a robust malty, sweet flavour. Often, the Low Country teas are used in blends, but they can be lovely on their own and some are highly prised and sought after by connoisseurs from the Middle East, especially the teas of Galle.


The Low Country teas have a splendid show of golden and silver tip, a robust sweet malt flavour which can be taken with or without milk.


Main Low Country Sub Districts


Ratnapura/Balangoda

This is where one finds the beautiful Sinharaja Rainforest, a protected reserve and one of Sri Lanka's most pleasant refuges of natural beauty. It is really quite breathtaking here. The rich aromas of the jungle are certainly prevalent in the teas.

The area is subject to the South West Monsoon, which could very well inflict a lot of damage to the tea bushes here if it were not for the protective forest belt which keeps the winds at bay.


Some of the brighter varieties of tea from this sub district are also quite popular in the European markets.


Deniyaya

Teas from the Deniyaya district have similar, if not the same, characteristics of teas from Ratnapura/Balangoda. Deniyaya lies south of Ratnapura, and the liquors of the teas from this area are not so dark as some of their southern counterparts, but lighter and brighter in the cup, and are gaining popularity in the European market.

Matara

Matara lies on part of the most southerly tip of Sri Lanka, notfar from Dondra Head, where Blue, Humpback and Sperm whales can be sighted often between the months of November to April.

The tea plantations around Marata lie practically at sea level, where the Nilwala Ganga and mountain springs descend to feed and nurture the lowland soils.

Galle

Some of the finest teas that are sought after in Eastern and Western markets come from Galle. They often tend to be rich full bodied and malty with lots of chocolate and sweet fruity notes . They do take milk well, but to be fully appreciated, we recommend you try them without. Our Wijaya Estate FBOP Ex Sp comes from Galle. And it really is a marvellous tea.


MID COUNTRY - MEDIUM GROWN TEAS

KANDY

Kandy is the Ancient Royal capital of Sri lanka, and it is here that the Sacred Tooth Relic resides, in the Temple of the Tooth, by beautiful Kandy Lake. The fabulous Esala Perahera takes place here in the months of July or August, depending on the lunar calendar, or Poya ( full moon) day.

It is a splendid event and not one to be missed if visiting at this time. The citu comes alive with lights, music, elephants decked out in the highest of finery, dancers, singers, and drummers. The Eslala Perahera was established by King Rajasinghe in the 18thC. for the public to venerate the relic, as it was the kings own private relic for the rest of the year. Kandy rests in a small valley surrounded by hills with roads of hairpin turns and dotted with numerous guest houses with lovely views over the town, especially from the Rajipahilla Mawatha.

The area about Kandy is known for its Mid Country teas which are grown at elevations between 600 – 1200 meters above sea level.

PUSSALLAWA/HEWAHETA


The Pussallawaand Hewaheta hills are a range of the Central massif that extends to Nilambe, Kotmale, and Gampaha.


Here, in the hills and valleys where tea is grown, is an area guarded from the the stronger monsoon weather, and is not so exposed, which results in a stronger, darker tea.


The plantations near Hewaheta, though are exposed to weather changes brought by the South East monsoon, and the teas acquire a flavour characteristicof what is known as the Eastern QualitySeason, which lasts from July to September and yieldsa good full bodied strong tea with earthy Muscat notes.


The Loolecondera Estate is located in the hills near Hewaheta.


MATALE

The teas grown about the area of Matale are strong, with a good colour to them. Matale is a town situated on the road south of Dambulla, when coming into Kandy from the Cultural Triangle. If you have not been before, it is the area between Matale and Kandy where you first enter the 'tea hills', and where plantations, carpeting the landscape with their gardens, first become visible. It is also in this area where you will encounter the peaks of the Madukelle, Knuckles, and Rangala Mountain ranges.


MEDIUM AND HIGH GROWN TEAS


UVA DISTRICT


The teas from Uva are characteristic of a distinct pungency and flavour associated with the drying 'cachan' winds that sweep across the area from the East, especially during the months from July to September. The tea bushes here lie exposed to the drying winds which causes an alteration in the chemistry of the leaf, which tends to close up when exposed to these winds, sending a chemical reaction to the base of the leaf whcich lends the  title 'Uva Quality' to the teas. But these flavours are prevalent throughout the year, only, during this season, between July and October, are they more pronounced and the teas yeild their finest 'Uva Season' crops.


Often Uva teas that grow outwith the months of July to September are blended, but this is not necessary for they are still beautiful teas on their own. If you purchase a blended Ceylon tea you will often find an Uva has been added to it, and some blends do have these distincitive wintergreen notes.


The Uva district boasts of some of the most dramatic mountain scenery on the Island, where the town of Ella lies nestled among the hills are some incredible views across the Ella Gap looking south.

Our Amba Estate teas come from Uva. 


The teas from Uva have characteristics of full flowery pungency, and are strong flavoured and beautifully smooth. There is something earthy about them but not spicy like the strong low grown teas; these are not so dark in the cup but their perfume is very heady and wonderful with the distinctive wintergreen notes that Uva teas are famous for. We wonder if here is one tea in which one can 'taste the wind'.


Uva Sub Districts


MALWATTE / HELWADA

This is the heartland where the most famous of Uva Teas grow and the teas from this sub district possess all the flower pungent flavours which Uva teas are renowned for.


PASSARA LUNUGALA

The teas here produce a fine robust liquor , a round pungency and a smooth mouth feel.


ELLA / NAMUNKUNA


Namunkuna is also known as small Adam's Peak, and is one of Sri lanka's highest mountains. The teas that grow on the slopes about Ella and Namunkuna are a medium strength tea with a lovely mild Uva character.


BANDARAWELA / POONAGALA

Lighter teas come from here, with the same Uva pungency but not as strong.


HAPUTALE

This area is famous for its spectacular views over the low country. The best time to experience this is at dawn, to watch the mists rise with what I have described as 'angels rising to kiss the mountains' .


It is near Haputale where the great Thomas Lipton himself had, like James Taylor, established his own seat over looking the countryside, which is a short ascent to witness some of the most spectacular views. It is said that most of the Island can be seen from this vantage point, and when next we are in Sri Lanka we hope to do this climb.


KOSLANDA

Here, in the foothills of Uva, the Estates yield a stronger more full bodied, earthy liquor. A good morning tea to take one on the road.


UDA PUSSALLAWA

This region merits having a classification all of its own. Uda Pussallawa lies between the fringes of the Uva District and Nuwara Eliya and although the tea grown here is influenced by the same climate as Uva, it experiences  two periods ( or seasons) which yield superior quality teas.

This area enjoys both what are known as the Eastern and Western Seasons, (possibly due to its geographic location but I will need to confirm this). The Eastern Quality Season falls between July to September, and Western Quality Season , from January to April.

The plantations which lie closest to Nuwara Eliya also experience the same cold conditions as the Nuwara Eliya teas, which yield lovely floral and rose notes .

MEDIUM TO HIGH GROWN TEAS


DIMBULA

The area of Dimbula rises as a vast area of mountains and valleys from 1'066 – 1'524 meters above sea level. These hills and valleys stretch from Hatton and Dickoya to Talawakelle and Nuwara Eliya. This area known, in general, as Dimbula, houses a number of some of the best tea estates on the Island and a concentration of most of them, which is one reason why we stock a number of different Estates from this area, although each in its own right has subtle characteristic differences, the same as would any wine from a particular region in a wine growing country.

And it's always delightful to draw comparisons while tasting and being surprised with particular notes.


Dimbula is one of the regions where tea was first planted in the 1870's, where the quality of the tea is highly influenced by the South West Monsoon rains, and the cold dry winds that affect the area from January to March , bring changes to the teas which vary, from valley to valley.


The Dimbula area is so vast that the teas grown here can range from full bodied and strong, to light and delicate, and sweetly fragrant. Our Ratnapura FOP comes from the Dimbula region, and is a Western Medium tea.


Some Dimbula Sub Disticts


HATTON / DICKOYA


The area and towns of Hatton and Dickoya lie at the foothills of Sri Pada ( Adam's Peak) an which has been an important pilgrimage mountain for at least 1'000 years. It is said that this is where Adam first set foot upon the earth, and where the imprint of the sacred footprint of the Buddha can be seen, but also, it is called Samanalakande, or the Butterfly Mountain, a place where the butterflies go to die.


The mountain can be accessed from here, at Dalhousie which is the starting point for the shorter climb to the top. To see the sunrise on Christmas morning, was our intention and we did see it; a dawning which was bright, beautiful, and serene. I felt amazing.


The teas that come form this area are mellow and cheery with a bright liquor in the cup.


BOGAWANTALAWA

This area is known as the 'Golden Valley' where the sun kissed green gold of tea bushes can be shrouded in mists milk and warm or cool and thick, which rise from the humid valleys and embrace the hills. It is really lovely here, not just for the full bodies morning cup of liquid gold the teas that grow here are famous for, but that it truly feels as though here one is in its Ancient place name, the 'Plains of the Gods.' The Elysian Fields of Sri Lanka.


Here, you will find the Leopard Rock, and the entire flora and fauna of the area is resplendent with jungle life – where leopards roam, along with wild boar, deer, elk, and a plethora of bird species make their nests.


Most of the teas in this area yield a full bodied full flavoured liquor, wonderful to greet the the morning with.


UPCOT / MASKELIYA


The teas from this sub district are lighter and rosier, and grow at the foot of Sri Pada.


KOTAGALA

Produces full strength teas which are so characteristic of Dimbula.



NANU OYA / LINDULA / TALAWAKELLE

The teas grown here are full bodies, lively and refreshing but with certain teas, such as the Bambarakelly FBOP which we stock, who's gardens lie closer to Nuwara Eliya, tend to be lighter and more fragrant.


AGARAPATANA

This area yields a very special class of Ceylon tea where the conditions for growing tea here are so ideal that there is no rival. The combined characteristics that emerge from the climate and soil are so complete here that this sub district yields some of the finest classic Dimbula Ceylon's.Our exceptional Dayagama FBOP and Clydesdale BOPF ( Clydesdale is a selling mark for the Balmoral Estate), both come from Agarapatana.

NUWARA ELIYA

Nuwara Eliya means 'City of Light in Sinhala and Tamil. It lies high on a plateau in the highest region of the Central Massif and it is here where the real 'Champagne' teas are grown. It is an area of great scenic beauty of forest, hills and meadowland and wilderness. The town itself stands at about 1890 meters above sea level and some of the teas in this area are grown at 1'900 meters above sea level.


The air here is salubrious, cool, and deliciously sweet with the aroma of pine and cypress, and eucalyptus trees. The air too, has a rather floral scent about it as well, and to my mind, that of Frangipani flowers, and mint. What are called 'Queen of night' flowers bloom here in abundance and it could be this aroma as well that permeates the tea. This flower affects a rather 'rosey' nose to some of the teas. The floral and foliage notes prevalent in the atmosphere, along with the monsoon rains and winds that affect the area, are reflected in the flavours of the teas that grow and are produced at this high altitude.


Teas from Nuwara Eliya exhibit gorgeous rosy and floral notes with veils of rich cedar and pine forest and sweet cypress, and some have even said, that the wild mint that grows here also adds to the flavour of the tea.

It can get very cold here and the temperatures have been known to plummet to minus three Celsius during the winter months.

These high grown teas are of what is known as 'Champagne Quality' due to the lightness and delicacy of their liquors and the terrioir in which they grow.

Our Inverness teas as well as Edinburgh and Pedro Estates come from this region.


























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