Tea Regions of the World - Sri Lanka

Train from Nuwara Eliya to Kandy among tea plantations in the highlands of Sri Lanka

There are three main tea growing regions in Sri Lanka. These are, Low grown teas which are teas grown on an elevation between sea level to 600m, Mid Grown teas which are from 600m to 1,200m and High grown teas which are grown at an elevation above 1,200m.  The tea-growing regions of Sri Lanka are clustered mostly among the central mountains of the island and its southern foothills. Like the great wine-growing regions of France, the tea cultivation of Sri Lanka is divided up into seven defined regions or ‘districts’. Nuwara Eliya, the best-known of Sri Lanka’s tea-growing districts, is the most mountainous, and has the highest average elevation. Combined with low temperature, this produces teas of exquisite bouquet. The infusion in the cup is the lightest (palest) of all the types of Ceylon Tea, with a golden hue and a delicately fragrant flavour. The whole-leaf Orange Pekoe (OP) and Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP) are the most sought after tea grades from the region. Between Nuwara Eliya and Horton Plains lies the district of Dimbula, whose teas are defined as “high grown” as all estates exceed an altitude of 1,250m (4000 Feet). This tea produces a fine golden-orange hue in the cup, which is refreshingly mellow. The Uda Pussellawa district is situated close to Nuwara Eliya, so its tea is often compared to that of its neighbour. But it is darker in the cup, with a pinkish hue, of greater strength, and exquisitely tangy. In the Kandy district, where the industry began in 1867, the teas produced are described as “mid-grown”as cultivation does not exceed 1,300 m. The teas of the Ruhuna district are defined as “low-grown” as they are cultivated at an altitude not exceeding 600m comprising vast sub regions from coastal plains to the Southern edge of Sinharaja Rain Forest. Sabaragamuwa is Sri Lanka’s biggest district, the teas of which are low-grown as its estates range in elevation from sea level to 610m. Sabaragamuwa, sandwiched between Sinharaja in the south and Adam's Peak wilderness in the north, produces a fast-growing bush with a long leaf.

Sri lanka is the fourth largest tea producer in the world. Ceylon tea reputed for its signature taste and aroma is produced, consumed and exported upwards of 340,000 metric tons. Tea salons, tea trails and private tea tastings have helped garner immense popularity to the island and boosted the tea industry monumentally. Tea tours around different tea estates and the insight into preparation from scratch has added another dimension to the global tea experience. This has catapulted ceylon tea on the global map and boosted employment opportunities for the locals.