Speciality Tea

Growing and Plucking Ceylon Tea

Do it extraordinarily well.  Sri Lanka/Ceylon is renowned for its black tea.  But with a market that’s flooded from all four corners of the world with good black tea, the tea estates in Sri Lanka have finely honed the art of producing fantastic speciality teas.

Speciality Tea from Sri Lanka. Tea estate in the Uva Provience
Tea Estate in the Uva Province

Growing Tea

Tea is grown in the mountains and hills to the lower plains of Sri Lanka.  Most tea estates will have tea trees that are as old as the estates themselves and a thriving nursery of seedlings and young plants.  These tea seeds and plants would have been studied and then cloned to suit the terrain.  The nurseries will clone tea plants that are not only resistant to drought and disease but also for flavor and fragrance.

Tea Picking for Speciality Tea

Bushes are ‘encouraged’ to spread as much as possible so that it’s exposed to the atmosphere and sunshine as much as possible.  Branch and leaf coverage over the soil prevents –

  1. Weeds from growing
  2. Soil being washed away by rain water
Picked tea leaves are brought to a central point

Plucking Tea

It’s a year round job, since Sri Lanka is in the tropics, tea leaves need to be constantly plucked.  The tea estate will have planned out their plucking schedule in advance so that the tea pluckers know which section/hillside is to be done for the day.

By the time the tea pluckers weave their way round their marked plucking route, the tea plants they started with would have sprouted new leaves.  The plucking cycle continues.

Tea tables that are all at the same level are so important; for ease of accessing which of the leaves to pluck and for picking the tea.  The simplest tools are the most effective for checking the tea table level.

Tea Plucking on the Hills of UpCountry Sri Lanka

A few other details from my Facebook Live:

Speciality Tea – Ceylon – Part 1