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Archive for the ‘~Ceylon Tea’ Category

Tea plantations & Colonial sanitariums

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Two main forms of Black tea in consumption
High quality loose leaf Black tea packed in metal containers comes in two forms: pure teas & blended teas. Paper sachets of Black tea, popularly called tea bags (one bag for cup) packed in light cardboard cartons aren’t for those who love high quality Black tea.

Ceylon Tea Plantations in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Ceylon Tea Plantations in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Blended Black tea
Blended Black tea is precisely what the name carries with it: a blend of Black teas grown & manufactured in different areas of the world. Low quality Kenyan Black tea is often blended with Ceylon tea, the finest tea in the world. If you go for high quality stuff in life, such blends aren’t what you would enjoy.
Then again there are high quality blended Black teas marketed by the blenders by blending Black teas from Sri Lanka (Ceylon tea-finest tea in the world) & Assam of India. Assam of India produces high quality Black tea too. You would definitely go for the blend of Ceylon tea & Assam tea if you like superior stuff.

Ceylon Tea Plantations in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka

Ceylon Tea Plantations in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka

Pure Black tea
Pure Black tea is plucked in the same country. Then again, you could have a tin container of Pure Ceylon tea with its metal printed label indicating it’s a blend. Very true, that’s definitely a blend, but with the unmistakable Lion logo of Ceylon tea, there’s no need for you to get upset. You have just bought a blend of Ceylon teas grown and manufactured in different parts of the island of Sri Lanka exclusively. You are someone who would go for nothing less than The Real McCoy.
Blended Ceylon tea brings off the best in the distinctive flavors & aromas of all the teas involved in the blend. The concept would a ring a bell: Blended Scotch Whisky.

Ceylon Tea Factory Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Formerly a Ceylon Tea Factory at Nuwara Eliya, now a Sri Lanka Holidays Luxury Tourist Hotel.

Black tea branding by the region of origin
Flavor, aroma & quality of Black teas, as in the case of wine, vary on the climatic & geographic conditions of the area of cultivation. Pure Ceylon teas grown & manufactured at different elevations in the beautiful tropical island of Sri Lanka are called after the area: Nuwara Eliya (2000 meters above sea level), a Sri Lanka Holidays tourist destination, Dimbula (1200-1700m), Uva (1000-1700m), Uda Pussellawa (1200m), Sri Lanka Holidays attraction of Kandy (650-1300 m), Ruhuna (sea level to 600m) each have its own distinctive taste & aroma.
Among the varieties of Black tea from all tea producing countries, quality & popularity of Ceylon tea from Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka is akin to the standing of Champagne among wine.
High quality Black teas are grown & manufactured in Indian provinces of Darjeeling, Assam, and Nilgiri too are known by their respective provinces of cultivation & manufacture.

High Grown Ceylon tea, Medium Grown Ceylon tea & Low Grown Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s tea plantations are mainly located in the Central Highlands of the island stretching from Kandy of Mediterranean climate to Nuwara Eliya of salubrious climate. Black tea is grown in Ruhuna of Sri Lanka too. Dimbula, Uva, Nuwara Eliya & Uda Pussellawa of higher altitude produce High Grown Ceylon teas of Sri Lanka. While Black tea produced in Kandy [a Sri Lanka Holidays Tourist Attraction] is called Middle Grown Ceylon tea, Black tea produced in Ruhuna is called Low Grown Ceylon tea.

Ceylon Tea Plantation, Central Highlands, Sri Lanka

Ceylon Tea Plantation, Central Highlands, Sri Lanka

Ceylon tea: Black tea to suit every pallet
Sri Lanka’s production of varieties of Black teas to go with every pallet has been the hallmark of Ceylon tea, the Black tea industry of Sri Lanka. Dimbula & Nuwara Eliya teas are sought after by blenders from all over the world; Uva Black teas too are used for high quality blends mainly in West Germany & Japan; medium grown Ceylon tea is popular in Europe, Australia, Japan & North America; low grown Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka is popular in Western Asia & Middle Eastern countries.

Black tea from India
The main areas of Black tea cultivation in India are Darjeeling, Assam & Nilgiri. Black teas produced in these areas vary with one another in terms of aroma & flavor. In India Black tea is also grown in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim, Orissa, Bihar, Nagaland, Mizoram & Meghalaya Tripura, Manipur Dooars and Terai of West Bengal.

Tea gradings By the processing method
The main products of evergreen tea plant (Camellia sinensis) are fermented (black tea), producing an amber-colored, full-flavored beverage without bitterness; semi-fermented (oolong), a slightly bitter, light brownish-green beverage; and unfermented (green tea) a mild, slightly bitter, pale greenish-yellow beverage.

Black tea gradings by the size of leaf processed by orthodox method as well as CTC (crush, tear & curl) method
Teas are also classified by the size of the processed leaf. Orthodox manufacturing method as well as CTC manufacturing method produces larger leafy grades and smaller broken grades. These grading terms are usually used for teas from Sri Lanka & India. The system is based solely upon the size of the processed and dried black tea leaves. The size of the processed Black tea leaves is determined by the means of sifting teas on wire meshes.

Orange Pekoe (O.P) is the main grade in tea production. Orange Pekoe consists of long wiry leaf with tips (buds). The High Grown Orange Pekoe consists of long, thin & wiry leaves containing tip or bud.
Broken Orange Pekoe (B.O.P) with superior color & flavor consists of smaller leaf & tip.
Pekoe Fannings which are smaller than B.O.P. brew quickly & give a liquor of good color when the beverage is prepared.
Dust, the black tea with smallest particles is very useful for quick brewing. The liquor produced by the Dust gives strength as well as color.

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Tea & Samuarai

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Tea & emergence of Samurai
The gradual emergence of a new warrior class “Samurai” (8th-19th century) indoctrinated in the concepts of absolute commitment of loyalty unto death to their lords, single minded discipline & superior physical courage bordering madness put forth by the newly emerging ideology of “Bushido” began to shatter the social fabric & imperial reign of Japan during the 11th and 12th centuries. With the deep seated belief that the increasing turmoil in Japan could be calmed by a spiritual renewal (as we believe today, that the end to violence borne of ignorance could be achieved by means of education & rehabilitation), Japanese Buddhist priest Myoan Eisai (1141- 1215) spent his life promoting Zen Buddhism and the secular use of tea as a Buddhist ritual, as well as an elixir capable of curing many ills and even extending life. Many Buddhist monks closed ranks with Eisai in a crusade to bring the spirit of Zen Buddhism and the virtues of tea to the masses.

Ceylon Tea, the Finest Black Tea in the World

Tea, a medium of spiritual enlightenment
Eisai’s unflagging devotion to studying the virtues & merits of tea led him to inscribe the first treatise on tea in Japan, a two-volume treatise entitled Kissa Yojo Ki (Preservation of Health Through Drinking Tea) in the year 1211. His outstanding promotion of the ritualistic preparation of tea was essentially the genesis of Cha-no-yu in Japan.
Eisai’s propagation of tea was to meet with glorious success. It even produced a result that wasn’t originally intended: his followers began to view the habit of consuming tea as an alternative means of spiritual enlightenment. It would, however, be another two centuries before an official Japanese Tea Ceremonywould be formalized with a deep sense of aesthetics & the concept of humility imbued therein.

Zen & Samurai
With the spread of traditions, the reverence towards the Buddhist monks, the pioneers of traditions, by the populace begun to grow in leaps & bounds. As in china, the Japanese feudal lords were to become restless over the sphere of influence Buddhist Temples had over the populace. Eventually the Samurai were ordered to put the Buddhist temples to fire & sword. Ironically, the raging flames of insane violence made Buddhist monks even more influential.

Caffeine & Tannin in Tea
The beverage of Tea has the quality of being refreshing & calming at once. Once the boiling water is poured into tea leaves, for the first couple of minutes, the caffeine is drawn out; in the very next minute Tanin is drawn out. The unique combination of the two chemical compounds accounts for the quality of the beverage of tea.

Ceylon Tea Plantation, Sri Lanka

Ceylon Tea Plantation, Central Highlands of Sri Lanka

The Samurai encounter Buddhist monks
The Samurai, the fierce warriors in calamitous era, honor bound to hold their lives subservient to the unwavering loyalty towards their feudal lords had assumed the Zen Buddhist monks would run for their lives at the first sight of blood. But then the Buddhist monks indoctrinated in the impermanence of all worldly matters couldn’t be ruffled from their serenity even in the face of mindless violence. The Samurai, who had been simmering with violence at all times, who had thought of the ordinary populace & monks as living testimony to cowardice, were taken aback to witness that there were means other than violence which would make one infused with indomitable courage.
Some of the Buddhist monks continued to meditate even as their temples were raging with fire & their fellow monks were put to sword. Such was the lasting impression of the phenomenon made on the Samurai, who aspired to be on par with the nobility & imperial court of Japan in terms of literary skills & intellectual faculties during the 11th & 12th centuries, took to Zen Buddhism with great fervor.

During the 13th century, upper class Samurai were already highly literate as a result of introduction of Confucianism from China during the 7th to 9th centuries. The practice of Zen Buddhism by Samurai resulted in them overcoming the fear of death & tendency towards killing at a mere whim. The 13th century also saw the formalization of Bushido, the Japanese code of conduct of Samurai warriors. In time the Samurai were to become an outstanding community among the most zealous disciples of Zen and tea.

The Samuari takes to Zen & tea
The Samurai found Zen as well as tea served a purpose in their very existence, which could be cut short at any moment in the battle if not at a mere whim of their feudal lord. Feudal lords of Japan called Shoguns developed a practice of gifting special jars of tea to Samurai for exceptional display of valor in the battlefield so that they could invite his kith & kin to a tea ceremony celebrating the occasion.

Tea ceremony begins to take shape
In time the tea drinking habit of Zen Buddhist monks was to create an extension into the wider, secular culture of Japan in the form of tea rituals. The initial incursion of tea habits into aristocratic circles of Japan resulted in evolving the order, art and simplicity in Japanese tea ceremony encapsulating the four principals of Japanese code of ethics: harmony with people & nature; respect for others; spiritual purity & tranquility.
With aesthetics of tea ceremony on ascendance, the ritual was formalized by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa in the 15th century. An everyday activity was brought up to a level of awareness that would detach all from the militarized feudal system albeit for a limited duration of the tea ceremony. Guests sat in serenity & took their own sweet time to taste & enjoy their tea in the calm atmosphere devoid of chatter & babble.
Within the confines of the tea house, all guests were put on an equal footing: nobody carried arms. Social status & military statues of the guests seized to exist: the peasant was held in the same esteem that the emperor was held. Tea ceremony was a far cry from then existing feudal system, a far cry from today’s calamitous modern world.

Ceylon Tea, the Finest Black Tea in the World

The logo of Pure Ceylon Tea, the Finest Black Tea in the World

The Finest Black Tea in the World: Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka
The Finest Black Tea in the World, since the British Colonial era has come from the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka. Originally grown by the Scotsman James Taylor and in good time marketed by the Irishman Thomas Lipton, Black Tea of Sri Lanka came to be known as Ceylon Tea, after the British colonial name of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Tea is grown mainly in the Central Highlands, the one and only mountain mass of the tropical island. The southern district of Galle, the district of Badulla and the district of Ratnapura too produce a considerable volume of Black Tea. Of all the tea growing zones of Si Lanka, Sri Lanka Holidays health sanatorium of Nuwara Eliya [the modern city, 1800 meters above the sea-level was founded By Samuel Baker, the discoverer of Lake Albert and the explorer of the Nile] of Central Province produces the finest of the High Grown Ceylon Tea of  Sri Lanka.

Of all the Black Tea growing zones of Sri Lanka, the Central Province encompassing the Central Highlands i.e. the districts of Kandy [altitude: 500 meters] and Nuwara Eliya [altitude: 1800 meters] are largely instrumental in making Sri Lanka one of top three Black Tea exporters of the world year after year since the British Colonial era of the island.

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Travel & Travails of Tea Around The World

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Can I get you anything? Coffee? Tea? Me? Working Girl (1988): Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith

Working Girl Ceylon Tea

The beverages Black Tea , Green Tea & Oolong Tea are products of the leaf of Evergreen shrub Camellia sinensis, family Theaceae. Slight variations in the manufacturing process have resulted in our need to identify these beverages specifically. Among the numerous factors instrumental in the popularity of tea was its ability to retain the manifold qualities of the fresh leaves even in the dried form. But it was not only dried Black Tea that first traveled out of China: seeds too were taken to Japan. Though tea was brought into Japan as early as AD 593 by the Japanese Buddhist priests, it was the seeds planted in the Kyoto temple of Japan by the Japanese Zen Buddhist priest Myoan Eisai (AD1141- 1215) that popularized  Tea as a beverage in Japan.

Tea  Ceremony Japan

Tea takes root in Japan: Tea with Zen
Eisai’s association of Black Tea with Zen Buddhist meditation coupled with imperial contributions towards the cultivation of tea paved the way for the phenomenal popularity of tea in Japan. Having established its status as the national drink of Japan, Black Tea quickly found its place in the spiritual aspect of the Japanese society too. Making & serving tea was elevated into an art form called “Tea Ceremony”. While there are numerous ways in which the tea ceremony is conducted, some of them such as night tea, sunrise tea, evening tea, morning tea, and afternoon tea are firmly established.

Quote Irish-Greek journalist-historian Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), also known as Koizumi Yakumo, one of the few foreigners ever to be granted Japanese citizenship during this era. “The Tea ceremony requires years of training and practice to graduate in art…yet the whole of this art, as to its detail, signifies no more than the making and serving of a cup of tea. The supremely important matter is that the act be performed in the most perfect, most polite, most graceful, most charming manner possible”. Unquote

Black tea_victorian era

Black Tea finds a sea-route China to Europe
In 1517, Portuguese seafarers presented their king with a gift of tea brought from China. However, it took almost another hundred years for the Europe to receive a substantial consignment of Tea by way of Dutch ships returning from China. Although Tea was introduced to England, France & Holland in 1600s, the beverage was used basically as a herbal medicine. During the 18th century, most possibly owing to the availability of Caribbean cane sugar at affordable prices, tea established its rightful place among the finest beverages of the world.

Black Tea extends a timely hand towards industrialization
Quote: The World That Trade Created: Society, Culture and the World Economy, 1400 to the Present by Kenneth Pomeranz, Steven Topik
And changes in social life no doubt mattered, too. More & more artisans came to labor in workshops (or in some cases, early factories) separate from their homes; work hours became more regimented, & going home at midday for a long lunch less likely. In such a setting, short breaks that provided a shot of caffeine & sugar became an important part of work routines. And even if these early stirring of industrialization did not quite cause the taste for tea, they certainly benefited from it. Tea, after all, replaced gin & beer as the national drinks in England-early factories were dangerous enough as it was without stupefied workers fumbling about their duties. Had tea & sugar not replaced alcohol as the country’s principal cheap drink & source of supplementary calories), the situation could have been far grimmer yet. Unquote

Black Tea Russia

Russian tea drinking tradition: samovar,pancakes, jam, cubed sugar, sliced lemon, porcelain set

Tea takes the land route from China to Russia
If the sea voyage from China to Europe was long & treacherous, the land route from China to Russia was no better either. The 16 month journey to & from Moscow consisted of roughly 11,000 miles of barren and mountainous terrain. The first few parcels of dried Black Tea leaves were brought to Russia by Russian Ambassador to China Vasily Starlove in 1638. Though the qualities of Black Tea were appreciated in no time, it was only in 1769 that Russians made a trade agreement with China for the delivery of Black Tea. That was following a gift of Black Tea from China brought in by Russian Ambassador to China Ivan Perfiliev. The long journey from China to Russia having raised the cost of Black Tea, the beverage had remained a luxury item in Russia. However, by the end of the 1700s, Black Tea became an affordable commodity to the Russian peasants.

Peter Stuyvesant's Legion

Lumen Martin Winter, Peter Stuyvesant’s Legion Oil on canvas, 30 in. x 80 in. 1953, Jacob Ruppert Brewery

Tea arrives in the new World
Peter Stuyvesant (1612-1672), the fourth and last Director-General of New Netherlands (1646-1664) is credited with introducing tea to the New World in 1650. The settlers of New Amsterdam (later renamed New York by the English) were known to consume more tea then, than all of England put together. American love affair with Black Tea lasted for 124 years to take a swift turn in the history of the world, if not precisely the history of tea.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

John Tenniel's original illustration of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party by kind courtesy of Disney

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
In 1774 tea parties were hosted in Philadelphia, New York, Maine, North Carolina, and Maryland. And those were tea parties like no other. In Boston alone, 45 tons of tea brought in by East India Company was unloaded to the waters of the Boston harbor by Sons of Liberty disguised as Native Americans. There was a method in the madness of the mad hatter’s tea party: no ships were damaged. It was the Crown’s tax against Black Tea, a staple of colonial life that spurred the colonists to revolt. Boston Tea Party leading to the American Revolutionary War, the colonists were destined to become the most powerful nation of the world.

The Finest Black Tea in the World: “Ceylon Tea” from Sri Lanka
The finest Black Tea in the World comes from the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka. The capital of the tea growing zones of Sri Lanka is Sri Lanka Holidays Nuwara Eliya is located in the Central Highlands, the one & only mountain mass of the drop pearl shaped tropical island. Nearly 700 factories in the Central Highlands & the southern zone of the island produce a exceedingly wide range of Black Tea in Sri Lanka still being marketed by the colonial brand of “Ceylon Tea” the world over.  Tea auctions are  held twice a week in Colombo. Colombo is home to Kelaniya Royal Buddhist Temple, where the Sri Lanka Holidays begins in view of the acclaimed mural therein depicting the landmarks of the 2500 year long glorious history of Sri Lanka.

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Black Tea: Ceylon Tea

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Tea is the ultimate mental & medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete”
Zen Buddhist Eisai Myoan: How to Stay Healthy by Drinking Tea. (AD 1211)

Given the year, i.e. AD1211 in which the Black Tea specialty book “How to Stay Healthy by Drinking Tea” was composed, one would wonder how far the history of Black tea runs into. The briefest answer to break you free of the contemplation is “very far, as far as the History of China itself” And the history of China runs into no less than 5000 years.

Ceylon Tea Eisai Black TeaZen Buddhist Eisai Myoan

Eureka Moment: luck favors the prepared mind
The in-depth answer would make you curioser and curioser as “Alice In Wonderland”. The discovery of Black tea is believed to be a fortunate accident. But then the accident wouldn’t have taken place at all, if not for the keen eye of the legendary botanist Shen Nong, emperor of China (2737-2699 BC).
Discovery of Black Tea was a Eureka moment as the accidental discovery of world’s first antibiotic, Penicillin thanks to the keen eye of the Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming (AD1881-1955) was. The legend has it a few leaves that had blown into a pot of water boiled for the emperor turned the boiled water from being colorless to a reddish tint. Having seen the coloration caused by the fresh green leaves of the nearby tree, ever the botanist, emperor pounced upon the chance of tasting the water to determine the qualities of the green leaf.

ShenNong Ceylon teaShen Nong – the father of agriculture and medicine. Illustrated by Jessica Chang/ET staff, www.theepochtimes.com

Black tea by any other name would taste as sweet
Though the modern world is unable to ascertain to veracity of the legend, the green tea leaf that made a beverage of Red tea has since then become popular throughout the East & West. Though the beverage of tea unsweetened with milk is popularly called Black tea in the western word today, most possibly following the fashion of calling unsweetened coffee as black coffee, in Asia & especially in Africa & Middle East, it is called Red tea.

Shen Nong Ceylon tea

The world’s first botanist
History of China records that emperor Shen Nong discovered, tested, analyzed & recorded hundreds of herbs for the benefit of his nation & his land. He is credited with the title of “father of Chinese herbal medicine” as if the title of “discoverer of green tea leaf” wouldn’t do.

Ceylon tea Shennong_bencao_jing

Shen Nong bencao jing [Shen Nong's Classic of Root & Herb]

What’s in a Name?
Everything, your good name is everything. But then Shan Nong was a name like no other. Nobody could have been better named than Shan Nong meaning Divine Farmer. The Chinese methods in recognizing potential farmlands & cultivation are credited to Shan Nong. Harnessing resources, inventing the plough & yoking beasts too are believed to be introduced by the emperor. Then again the name Shan Nong is immortalized by the popularity of Tea, no matter how you call it, Black Tea, Red tea or Green tea.

Popularity of Black tea following the glorious name
Such a glorious name as Shan Nong wouldn’t be called in vain. Tea was set into the path of undying popularity by Shan Nong. According to the “Tea & Coffee Trade Journal” September 1, 1995, a professional journal, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to plain water.

Black tea Lu Yu

A statue of Lu Yu, the father of tea located in Xi'an, China

First ever treatise on Black tea
The first treatise on Tea, “Tea Classic” was composed as far as back in 760 CE & 780 CE by a Chinese poet named Lu Yu. The treatise consisted of ten chapters tilted Origin, Tea Tools, Manufacture, Tea Wares, Brewing, Drinking Tea, Anecdotes, Places, Omission & Diagrams, The book was translated into English in 1974 (ISBN 0-316-53450-1).

First treatise on Black tea in Japan
The first treatise on Tea in Japan was inscribed by the founder of Zen Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist priest Myoan Eisai following his return from China where he studied philosophy & religion. Seno Tanaka, Sendo Tanaka & Edwin O. Reischauer in their book “The Tea Ceremony” published in year 2000 narrates: In January 1211 he wrote the first treatise on Tea in Japan, Kissa Yojoki or Tea Drinking Is Good for the Health, a small booklet of twenty pages in praise of Tea. In his short treatise Eisai, strongly recommended tea as a cure for five types of disease: loss of appetite, paralysis, beriberi & sickness from tainted water. Tea, he added, is a remedy for all disorders & this was perhaps the main reason for consequent popularity of tea-drinking.

The Finest Black Tea in the World, Ceylon Tea of Sri Lanka

The Finest Black Tea in the World, Ceylon Tea of Sri Lanka

The Finest Black Tea in the World:Ceylon Tea
The finest Black Tea of the world is Ceylon Tea produced in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Holidays Nuwara Eliya, the capital of Black Tea production of Sri Lanka is located at a height of 1800 meters above the sea level in the one & only mountain mass set right in the central zone of the drop pearl shaped tropical island of Sri Lanka. While the product of Black Tea in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka is called high grown Ceylon Tea, the product of Black Tea from the southern zone surrounding Sri Lanka Holidays Galle of lower altitude, is called low grown Ceylon Tea.

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Tea & Zen

Friday, November 30th, 2012

“Tea is the ultimate mental & medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete”
Zen Buddhist Eisai Myoan: How to Stay Healthy by Drinking Tea. (AD 1211)

Given the year, i.e. AD1211 in which the  tea specialty book “How to Stay Healthy by Drinking Tea” was composed, one would wonder how far the history of  tea runs into. The briefest answer to break you free of the contemplation is “very far, as far as the History of China itself” And the history of China runs into no less than 5000 years.

Eureka Moment: luck favors the prepared mind
When was tea discovered? The in-depth answer would make you curioser and curioser as “Alice In Wonderland”. The discovery of tea is believed to be a fortunate accident. But then the accident wouldn’t have taken place at all, if not for the keen eye of the legendary botanist Shen Nong, emperor of China (2737-2699 BC).
Discovery of tea was a Eureka moment as the accidental discovery of world’s first antibiotic, Penicillin thanks to the keen eye of the Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming (AD1881-1955) was. The legend has it a few leaves that had blown into a pot of water boiled for the emperor turned the boiled water from being colorless to a reddish tint. Having seen the coloration caused by the fresh green leaves of the nearby tree, ever the botanist, emperor pounced upon the chance of tasting the water to determine the qualities of the green leaf.

zen tea

 

Tea by any other name would taste as sweet, as serene as Zen
Though the modern world is unable to ascertain to veracity of the legend, the green tea leaf that made a beverage of Red tea has since then become popular throughout the East & West. Though the beverage of tea unsweetened with milk is popularly called Black tea in the western word today, most possibly following the fashion of calling unsweetened coffee as black coffee, in Asia & especially in Africa & Middle East, it is called Red tea.

Tea & Zen.

The world’s first botanist
History of China records that emperor Shen Nong discovered, tested, analyzed & recorded hundreds of herbs for the benefit of his nation & his land. He is credited with the title of “father of Chinese herbal medicine” as if the title of “discoverer of green tea leaf” wouldn’t do.

Tea & Zen

What’s in a name?
Everything, your good name is everything. But then Shan Nong was a name like no other. Nobody could have been better named than Shan Nong meaning Divine Farmer. The Chinese methods in recognizing potential farmlands & cultivation are credited to Shan Nong. Harnessing resources, inventing the plough & yoking beasts too are believed to be introduced by the emperor. Then again the name Shan Nong is immortalized by the popularity of Tea, no matter how you call it, Black tea, Red tea or Green tea. The finest black tea in the world is produced in Sri Lanka and has been marketed by the brand name of Ceylon Tea since the British Colonial era of Sri Lanka. The ancient drop pearl shaped tropical island of Sri Lanka was then known by the name Ceylon. Sri Lanka Holidays Nuwara Eliya, a colonial sanitarium, is the heart of the tea plantation zone of the Central Highlands. The Central Highlands, the one and only mountain mass of the Sri Lanka is accessed at Sri Lanka Holidays Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Popularity of  tea following the glorious name
Such a glorious name as Shan Nong wouldn’t be called in vain. Tea was set into the path of undying popularity by Shan Nong. According to the “Tea & Coffee Trade Journal” September 1, 1995, a professional journal, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to plain water.

Zen and tea

First ever treatise on tea
The first treatise on Tea, “Tea Classic” was composed as far as back in 760 CE & 780 CE by a Chinese poet named Lu Yu. The treatise consisted of ten chapters tilted Origin, Tea Tools, Manufacture, Tea Wares, Brewing, Drinking Tea, Anecdotes, Places, Omission & Diagrams, The book was translated into English in 1974 (ISBN 0-316-53450-1).

Zen-Tea

First treatise on tea in Japan
The first treatise on Tea in Japan was inscribed by the founder of Zen Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist priest Myoan Eisai following his return from China where he studied philosophy & religion. Seno Tanaka, Sendo Tanaka & Edwin O. Reischauer in their book “The Tea Ceremony” published in year 2000 narrates: In January 1211 he wrote the first treatise on Tea in Japan, Kissa Yojoki or Tea Drinking Is Good for the Health, a small booklet of twenty pages in praise of Tea. In his short treatise Eisai, strongly recommended tea as a cure for five types of disease: loss of appetite, paralysis, beriberi & sickness from tainted water. Tea, he added, is a remedy for all disorders & this was perhaps the main reason for consequent popularity of tea-drinking.

Sri Lanka Holidays

Zen Buddhism & Buddhism
Though Zen Buddhism has its origins in the ascetic practitioners of Buddhism, who found refuge in forests and mountains in India, it was in China, Zen Buddhism, a distinctive school of Mahayana Buddhism (the orthodox cannon of Buddhism is Theravada Buddhism) first took root following the arrival of Indian Buddhist monk Bodhidharma (470-543 AD) in the Shaolin Buddhist Monastery of Kung fu fame in China. Bodhidharma’s teachings tapped into some developments in the spiritual conceptions that were already on train, such as the confluence of philosophical Taoism with Buddhism. Such was the impact of Taoism upon Zen Buddhism, some sages and texts are owned by both religions. The early Mahayana philosophies of Madhyamika (2nd century AD) and Yogacara (3rd century AD) too were instrumental to great extent in the development of Zen Buddhism.
However, today Mahayana Buddhism is the primary form of Buddhism in North Asia and the Far East, including China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia, and is thus sometimes known as Northern Buddhism while Theravada Buddhism sometimes called ‘Southern Buddhism’ held fast in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.
Mahayana Buddhism accepts the Pali Canon as sacred scripture together with the Theravada Buddhism yet absorb many other Sutras or discourses which were written later in Sanskrit. It was in Sri Lanka in the 5th century AD during the reign of King Vatta Gamini Abhaya (the builder of Golden Dambulla Rock Cave Temple, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site) that 500 pious Theravada Buddhist monks assembled with Maha Thera Siva, as President of the Fourth Buddhist Council, in Sri Lanka Holidays Aloka-Vihara or Aluvihare rock cave monastery at the city of Matale, 12km north of Kandy (the gateway to Sri Lanka Holidays Central Highlands) committed to writing, for posterity, on ola leaves the Theravada cannon called Tripitaka, the three basket of the Teachings, known as the Pali scriptures, which had been handed down orally till then. It was at Aluvihare rock cave monastery, Buddhagosha, the 5th-century Theravada Buddhist commentator and scholar composed Visuddhimagga (Path of Purification), a comprehensive summary and analysis of the Theravada understanding of the Buddha’s path to liberation.

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Black Tea & Porcelain

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

The mere chink of cups and saucers turns the mind to happy repose.” George Gissie

As if the introduction of Black tea wouldn’t do, China introduced Porcelain to the world as well. As if having got the world addicted to Black tea, wouldn’t do, China brought in an aesthetic counterpart to the culture of drinking Black tea, lent class to complement the social habit: Porcelain. It was a case of classic addiction: addiction to Black Tea was complemented by the love for Porcelain.

But then again, it’s an addiction like no other. Black tea was far from a narcotic even to the medieval Doubting Thomases. Medical literature lends support in bounty to the numerous discussions all over the world that Black tea protects your health. Value of Black Tea as an herbal medicine has been recorded in history; its preventive capacity & remedial actions on numerous diseases ranging from cardiovascular diseases to cancer has been scientifically researched. With the search for a healthier lifestyle in a & sustainable environment having gained momentum, Black Tea has become more popular than ever in U S A.

Beatles Ceylon TeaJohn Lennon, Paul MaCartney, George Harrison & Ringo Starr-The Beatles having Ceylon Tea, year 1965, U.K.

Ceramics, Porcelain & China
The earliest ceramics were pottery objects made of clay, either by itself or mixed with other materials heat baked and cooled. Porcelain, the hardest of all ceramic products, is made by heat baking a blend of raw materials with kaolin, a clay material with a layered silicate mineral. Porcelain was first produced in China during the era of Tang Dynasty (AD 618-06). While China continued to produce ceramics throughout its glorious history, the rest of the great world being unable to produce ceramics products of such sophistication, in the 17th century, “porcelain from China” became known simply by the name “china”.

Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka, the Finest Black Tea in the World

Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka, the Finest Black Tea in the World

Tan Dynasty Chinse Pottery in Sri Lanka

Tan Dynasty Chinse Pottery discovered in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Even today porcelain is frequently called by the name “china” in spite of finest porcelain being produced in Japan & high quality porcelain being produced all over the world. However the term “china” identifies only with tableware, i.e. cups, jugs, pots, plates, bowls & dishes made of soft paste or tender porcelain fired at lower temperature. The term “Porcelain” can be safely used for the medical & industrial applications of hard paste ceramic products fired at a higher temperature.

Earliest Chinese ceramics discovered in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka being a central point in the ancient Asian maritime trade, bartering of goods in the island ports resulted in Chinese products being available in then capital of Sri Lanka, Anuradahpura (437 B.C – A.D.845). According to Priyantha Jayasingha & Wang Changsui (Department of Scientific history and archaeometry University of Science and Technology of China Hefei, Anhui, 230026 P.R. China and Archaeological Department, Colombo, Sri Lanka), the Chinese Ceramics discovered in Sri Lanka were produced during the era of Tang dynasty’s (A.D 618-906) of China. Chinese ceramics were discovered at Buddhist monasteries of Jetavanaramaya, Abahayagiriya and Mihintale of ancient Sri Lanka. Jetavanaramaya &  Abahayagiriya located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of  Anuradhapura and Mihintale Rock Monastery are Sri Lanka Holidays tourist attractions: must visit cultural destinations in Sri Lanka. Modern Sri Lanka is the producer of finest Black Tea in the world: Ceylon Tea.

Tan Dynasty Chinese Porcelain in Sri Lanka

Tan Dynasty Chinese Porcelain found in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

European Royalists & nobles lay hands on exotic Porcelain in the 14th century
It was not until the 14th century, Europe witnessed Porcelain. Porcelain of China arrived by way of overland path “Silk Road”, the most enduring trade route in human history & then by medieval maritime sea routes of Greece & Italy. A gift of chest of Chinese Porcelain from Sultan of Egypt to “Lorenzo de Medici” of Florence in the late 15th century was one of the shipments recorded in European history. But then again, in Europe, Porcelain of China was to remain an exotic commodity among the Royalists & nobles.

Discovery of exotic Porcelain by an act of piracy causes a sensation in Holland
In 1602 at St. Helena, South Atlantic Ocean and then again at 1603 at Johore, Malaysia, Dutch East India Company (VOC) captured two Portuguese vessels then called Carracks: St Fago valued at 1.5 Dutch guilders & St. Catarina valued at an amazing sum of 4 million Dutch guilders. Carracks were the first European ships that could weather the stormy seas in long voyages with heavily laden cargoes. The two Portuguese Carracks had Chinese Porcelain stowed in the holds to act as ballast against the main cargo of Black tea from China, spices & Chinese silk.

Import of Chinese Porcelain & imitations by the Europeans
Quote K. N. Chaudhuri: The import of Chinese porcelain during the seventeenth & eighteenth centuries was the cultural & aesthetic counterpart of the new social habits associated with the consumption of Black Tea, coffee, & chocolate in Europe. In the logistics of the East India Company’s ride with China, it had of course a humbler function. Chinaware packed in rice straw had no smell & it was an ideal complementary cargo to go with Black tea. Chests loaded with porcelain were extremely heavy & provided the necessary ballast for the ships.

The spectacular beauty of the late products from the kiln of Ching-te Chen & Teehua aroused as much admiration in the West as did the textile paintings of India a century earlier. Moreover, the rapid development of the porcelain industry in England, Holland, France, & Germany probably owed a great deal to the demonstration & substitution effect of the Chinese imports. The potters of Delft specialized in imitating the blue-& white ware of the K’ang-his period, & Bottger of Meissen, the inventor of porcelain in Europe, was the first to copy the superb white pieces from Tehua known as blanc de Chine. Bottger’s most famous imitations are dated from about 1715, & from the middle years of the century the great porcelain factories of Vienna, St Cloud, Mennecy, Chelsea & Bow were all striving to produce chinaware is the best tradition of the oriental imports. Unquote K. N. Chaudhuri: The Trading World of Asia and the English East India Company: 1660-1760.

One Direction having Ceylon Tea in Toronto, 2012British Boy band One Direction -Niall Horan, 18, Zayn Malik, 19, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles, 18, enjoying a cup of Ceylon Tea in Toronoto, year 2012

In search of harmony of Black Tea with porcelain
Black tea has been a prime feature in Chinese culture for millenniums. Chinese Legends & lore steeped in Black Tea are bountiful. Chinese elevated the habit of drinking Black Tea into a feature of culture called “Cha dao”, which was refined into an art form by the Japanese. None of the tea ceremonies or rituals and customs associated with tea drinking in Japan would have been elevated to such sophistication if not for the delicate cups, bowls & pots made of Porcelain from China. Since the eighteenth century, popularity of chinaware in Europe was to make a significant impact on popularizing the beverage of Black Tea.

Noritake-Gold-Turquoise-Blue-Hand-Painted-Porcelain-Tea-Cup

Noritake-Gold-Turquoise-Blue-Hand-Painted-Porcelain-Tea-Cup

Buy Ceylon Tea and Noritake  Porcelain in Sri Lanka
Ceylon Tea, the finest Black Tea in the world as well as World Class  Modern Porcelain produced in Sri Lanka can be purchased at CMB Colombo Bandaranayake International Airport at Katunayake, Negombo, Sri Lanka.

Ceylon Tea, the Finest Black Tea in the World

Ceylon Tea, the Finest Black Tea in the World

Special features of Noritake Porcelain produced in Sri Lanka are:-
Very high whiteness – 90%;  High translucency – 0.12%; High Thermal shock resistance – 180 c; Body is completely vitreous; High temperature fired – 1270c; High scratch resistance; Resistant to acid and alkalis
Maintenance of all these features made possible by the facts that product designing, selection and processing of raw materials, processing of printing materials such as pigment and gold, silk printing screens are all done within Noritake enterprise.Bone China
Noritake Porcelain, originating in a village of the same name near Nagoya in Japan, has been an A-lister ever since it hit the US market a little over 100 years ago. Cleverly appealing to both the mass market and the high end with a technologically superior and diverse product range, Noritake Porcelain has been a favourite with homes, hotel chains and airlines for its delicate designs and durable quality.
The porcelain producing factory of Noritake Lanka Porcelain Private Limited is located in Matale, home to ancient Aluvihare Rock Temple, 20 km north of Sri Lanka Holidays attraction of medieval city of Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Matale is also home to Sri Lanka’s  rich minerals such as quartz, feldspar and dolomite deposits.

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Black Tea

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Two main forms of Black tea in consumption
High quality loose leaf Black Tea packed in metal containers comes in two forms: pure teas & blended teas. Paper sachets of Black tea, popularly called tea bags (one bag for cup) packed in light cardboard cartons aren’t for those who love high quality Black tea.

Blended Black tea
Blended Black tea is precisely what the name carries with it: a blend of Black teas grown & manufactured in different areas of the world. Low quality Kenyan Black tea is often blended with Ceylon Tea, the finest tea in the world. If you go for high quality stuff in life, such blends aren’t what you would enjoy.
Then again there are high quality blended Black Teas marketed by the blenders by blending Black teas from Sri Lanka (Ceylon Tea-finest tea in the world) & Assam of India. Assam of India produces high quality Black Tea too. You would definitely go for the blend of Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka Holidays should you love the finest stuff under the sun.

Pure Black Tea
Pure Black tea is plucked in the same country. Then again, you could have a tin container of Pure Ceylon Tea with its metal printed label indicating it’s a blend. Very true, that’s definitely a blend, but with the unmistakable Lion logo of Ceylon tea, there’s no need for you to get upset. You have just bought a blend of Ceylon Tea grown and manufactured in different parts of the island of Sri Lanka exclusively. You are someone who would go for nothing less than The Real McCoy.
Blended Ceylon Tea brings off the best in the distinctive flavors & aromas of all the teas involved in the blend. The concept would a ring a bell: Blended Scotch Whisky.

Tea Factory Hotel, Nuwara Eliya

Tea Factory Hotel, Nuwara Eliya

Black Tea branding by the region of origin
Flavor, aroma & quality of Black Teas, as in the case of wine, vary on the climatic & geographic conditions of the area of cultivation. Pure Ceylon Teas grown & manufactured at different elevations in the beautiful tropical island of Sri Lanka are called after the area: Nuwara Eliya (2000 meters above sea level), Dimbula (1200-1700m), Uva (1000-1700m), Uda Pussellawa (1200m), Kandy (650-1300 m) of Central Highlands of Sri Lanka and Ruhuna (sea level to 600m) each have its own distinctive taste & aroma.
Among the varieties of Black tea from all tea producing countries, quality & popularity of Ceylon Tea from Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka is akin to the standing of Champagne among wine.
High quality Black teas are grown & manufactured in Indian provinces of Darjeeling, Assam, and Nilgiri too are known by their respective provinces of cultivation & manufacture.

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka Holidays

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

High Grown Ceylon Tea, Medium Grown Ceylon Tea & Low Grown Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s tea plantations are mainly located in the Central Highlands of the island stretching from Kandy of Mediterranean climate to Nuwara Eliya of salubrious climate. Black tea is grown in Ruhuna of Sri Lanka too. Dimbula, Uva, Nuwara Eliya & Uda Pussellawa of higher altitude produce High Grown Ceylon Teas of Sri Lanka. While Black Tea produced in Kandy is called Middle Grown Ceylon Tea, Black tea produced in Ruhuna is called Low Grown CeylonTea.

Ceylon Tea, Sri Lanka

Ceylon Tea Growing Areas Of Sri Lanka

Ceylon Tea:The Finest Tea in the World- Black Tea to suit every pallet
Sri Lanka’s production of varieties of Black teas to go with every pallet has been the hallmark of Ceylon Tea, the Black Ttea industry of Sri Lanka. Dimbula & Nuwara Eliya teas are sought after by blenders from all over the world; Uva Black teas too are used for high quality blends mainly in West Germany & Japan; medium grown Ceylon Tea is popular in Europe, Australia, Japan & North America; low grown Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka is popular in Western Asia & Middle Eastern countries.

Black Tea from India
The main areas of Black tea cultivation in India are Darjeeling, Assam & Nilgiri. Black teas produced in these areas vary with one another in terms of aroma & flavor. In India Black tea is also grown in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim, Orissa, Bihar, Nagaland, Mizoram & Meghalaya Tripura, Manipur Dooars and Terai of West Bengal.

Black Tea gradings By the processing method
The main products of evergreen tea plant (Camellia sinensis) are fermented (black tea), producing an amber-colored, full-flavored beverage without bitterness; semi-fermented (oolong), a slightly bitter, light brownish-green beverage; and unfermented (green tea) a mild, slightly bitter, pale greenish-yellow beverage.

Black tea gradings by the size of leaf processed by orthodox method as well as CTC (crush, tear & curl) method
Teas are also classified by the size of the processed leaf. Orthodox manufacturing method as well as CTC manufacturing method produces larger leafy grades and smaller broken grades. These grading terms are usually used for teas from Sri Lanka & India. The system is based solely upon the size of the processed and dried Black Tea leaves. The size of the processed Black tea leaves is determined by the means of sifting teas on wire meshes.

Orange Pekoe (O.P) is the main grade in tea production. Orange Pekoe consists of long wiry leaf with tips (buds). The High Grown Orange Pekoe consists of long, thin & wiry leaves containing tip or bud.

Broken Orange Pekoe (B.O.P) with superior color & flavor consists of smaller leaf & tip.

Ceylon Tea From Sri Lanka

Ceylon Tea From Sri Lanka

Pekoe Fannings which are smaller than B.O.P. brew quickly & give a liquor of good color when the beverage is prepared.
Dust, the black tea with smallest particles is very useful for quick brewing. The liquor produced by the Dust gives strength as well as color.

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Black Tea

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Everybody loves Black Tea, Coffee & Chocolate, the premier beverages. Of all of them Black Tea (oxidized tea) is the most consumed & healthiest beverage. While Green Tea (minimally oxidized tea) from Japan & China has become fashionable, Oolongs tea (semi oxidized tea) from Taiwan too has achieved its rightful place among the beverages. Meanwhile White tea (unoxidized tea) has been reaching out for a fair share in the tea market. All of them are products of a leaf from single specie of plant: Camellia Sinensis, popularly called tea plant.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Sri Lanka and India are the leading producers of high quality Black Tea. Of all the Black Tea produced in the world, the finest Black Tea is from the tropical island of Sri Lanka branded and marketed “Ceylon Tea” with unmistakable logo of a stylized, upright lion bearing a sword depicting justice in a steadfast stand. Go for unadulterated Pure Ceylon Tea.

Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka, the finest Black Tea in the World.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Black Tea by another name: Red Tea
Black Tea when prepared and served plain without milk is called Red Tea in some of the Middle Eastern countries & Asian countries in view of the reddish tint of the beverage.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Rooibos Tea aka Red Tea is not Black Tea
To mince no words, Rooibos Tea aka Red Tea is no Black Tea. To pull no punches, Rooibos Tea aka Red Tea has nothing to do with Black Tea or White Tea or Green Tea. To hit the last nail on the coffin, so called Red Tea aka Roobios Tea is not manufactured from the tea plant Camellia Sinensis. Rooibos Tea is a bush tea manufactured in the wilderness of South Africa & marketed mainly in U. S. A. As Such, herein we pay last respects to Roobias Tea aka Red Tea. We make a steadfast stand and tolerate no fakes when it comes to Black Tea.

Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka, the finest Black Tea in the World

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

The finest Black Tea in the world: Ceylon Tea
Ceylon Tea, the finest Black Tea in the world has been a cornerstone of the economy of the island since the beverage from Sri Lanka rose to prominence in the world with the entrepreneurship of Scotsman Thomas Lipton [1848 –1931], who closed ranks with the pioneer tea planter, Scotsman James Taylor [1835 -1892] at Loolecondera estate in Galaha, Sri Lanka Holidays Kandy. The consummate combination of Lipton and Taylor took Ceylon Tea to the Top of the World with a kind of hush. A hush reserved for awe.

Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka, the finest Black Tea in the World

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Today, Sri Lanka, the 3rd largest producer of Black Tea in the world, has a total extent of 202,347 hectares of Black Tea plantations, with most of it running along the highland motorway and railway line from Sri Lanka Holidays Kandy, the gateway to the Central Highlands and the medieval capital of Sri Lanka Holidays to Badulla of the Central Highlands of resplendent tropical island of Sri Lanka. Badulla is the terminal point of Sri Lanka’s highland railway line laid out to transport tea from the highlands to seaport of Colombo by the British colonialists [1815-1948]. Highland railway line and highland motorway twisting, winding and ascending hill after hill are overwhelmed with immaculately cultivated vast seamless Black Tea plantations that follow the contours of the land with incredibly trim, short and tight bushes of tea plants. So trim, so tight, so neat, so vast so green hill after hill lulls you all into a dreamy world in the salubrious climate of the Central Highlands, the one and only mountain mass of Sri Lanka. Then the bubble, babble and gaggle of streams and waterfalls awake you to the reality. It’s for real.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World

Above rare poster is reproduced herein by kind courtesy of Getty Images. www.gettyimages.com

Fine plucking Ceylon Tea
Sri Lanka’s seemingly seamless shimmering Black Tea plantation, that if left untended shoot up to become tall trees, are immaculately pruned to waist height so that manual fine plucking of two tender leaves and a bud are carried out with great swiftness. Plucking is done throughout the year except for the short period following pruning. No less than 300,000 plantation workers, the descendents of the indentured labor force brought down by the British colonialists in Sri Lanka pluck millions of superior quality Black Tea by hand day after day. The swift hands of the women tea puckers collect the youngest leaves of tea with both hands as if all of those thousands of women are equally ambidextrous. Their busy bee, butterfly swift mode of nipping off the youngest and topmost leaves (to maximize the flavor and aroma of the beverage) by snapping the stem with index and middle fingers, then tossing their pickings into large baskets hanging over the shoulders to the rear takes you by surprise. It takes the plucking from some 150 tea bushes to make one pound of Black Tea. The small and swift feminine hands coupled with the superior temperament in womanly virtue of patience are instrumental to great extent for high yield plucking. What would you do without them? In Sri Lanka, we say we can do without them, and then on the same breath that we say, we cannot do without them. The human condition is same all over the world from west to east, from east to west.

Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka, the finest Black Tea in the World

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Black Tea processing; as green as you would like
In Black Tea processing leaves and flushes from the tea plant Camelia sinensis are transformed into the dried leaves for brewing tea. Processing Black Tea consists of important stages: oxidizing the leaves, stopping the oxidation, forming the tea and drying it. That’s it: not overly complicated; still better, no artificial additives at all. Black Teais as green as you would like. Of these steps, the degree of oxidation plays to a great extent in determining the final flavor of the beverage, with rest of the process being instrumental to a lesser extent.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Black Tea manufacturing process: withering
Each and every major tea plantation of Sri Lanka has its own airy fairy factory by the side of a stream. On wide lofts one above the other with abundant space the Black Tealeaves are spread on long tables to wither in warm waves of dry air for twelve hours.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Black tea manufacturing proceeds: rolling
Then the leaves are subjected to a slow rolling process by means of heavy machinery making the tea leaves roll over and around in a twisting and crushing action till each leaf end up with an attractive twist. After all, everybody love a twist. The rolling process break up the cells of the tea leaf, releasing moisture, enzymes [the flavenoids and alkaloids] & Tea tannin. The distinctive flavor of the beverage comes out in rolling.

Black Tea manufacturing process: roll breaking
Roll breaking process breaks up the twisted balls or lumps of leaves and allows them to cool. The roll-breaker is a long mechanized sieve that vibrates while pushing the leaves over sloping mesh from one end to other.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Black Tea manufacturing process: fermentation
Then the mass of twisted green wisps are sifted according to the size & placed in a very cool room to ferment for a short time. Since there is no growth of yeast in the process, fermentation is a misnomer. The process herein is oxidation. Following the release of chemical enzymes from the ruptured cells, the mass of twisted & crushed ea leaves undergo an oxidation of the tea tannin. Oxidation changes the leaf to a coppery red-brown.

Black tea manufacturing process: firing
It all ends up with fire: following the fermentation is the torment. The leaves are fired and dried for 21 minutes in an enormous dryer on a series of trays exposing them to temperatures as high as 260 degrees Fahrenheit [120 degrees Celsius]. The tea leaf now goes black and brittle, the Black Teaas you know, is ready to brew in your kitchen.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World

Ceylon Tea: Premium Black Tea
The ordinary beverage of tea consumed from Colombo to London, Dubai to Moscow, is not necessarily premium quality Black Tea. Most of the products could well be blends of good quality Black tea with low quality Black Tea. Never be satisfied unless your beverage is brewed from premium quality Black Tea from Sri Lanka, branded Ceylon Tea. Always go for Pure Ceylon Tea. While the affluent society would enjoy premium quality Black Tea from Sri Lanka, Ceylon Tea, some humble folks too find themselves lucky to live in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka where among the tea sold for everyday consumption is also the premium quality Black Tea though with a significant price disparity against the lower quality Black Tea. The well-to-do residents of hill country resorts of Sri Lanka Holidays Nuwara Eliya, Hatton, Haputale and Bandarawela etc. would agree, to the boot.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Ceylon Tea from the Resplendent Sri Lanka is the finest Black Tea in the World.

Ceylon Tea: High grown, medium grown and low grown tea
Sri Lanka’s varieties of Black Tea draw their distinctive essence and flavor thanks to the climatic conditions of the tea growing areas of the tropical island. Sri Lanka’s Black Tea, still branded and marketed as Ceylon Tea since the era of British Colonial period of Sri Lanka [1815-1948], is categorized high grown, medium grown and low grown in line with the altitude of the zone. For a small island with no more than 25620 sq. km in area, Sri Lanka has a pretty good range of altitude in the Central Highlands. High grown teas from Nuwara Eliya [altitude: 1800meters; distance from Colombo: 180km], the prime hill country resort produces the ultimate Ceylon Tea, the finest Black Tea in the world: rich, pure and fragrant.

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Coffee to Tea in Ceylon

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

The Turn of the Screw: from Ceylon Coffee to Ceylon Tea in Sri Lanka
Prior to the beginning of plantation of Ceylon Tea in Sri Lanka, coffee grew wild in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. Sinhalese Buddhist traditions that run into medieval era enlighten us of a time coffee flowers being offered at the Holy Temple of the Tooth at Kandy. But it was not until 1823 coffee plantations took root in Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon. During the Napoleonic Wars in Europe (1799-1815), when Holland was occupied by France, the Dutch East India Company [whose VOC Dutch Galle Fort at Sri Lanka Holidays Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the best preserved colonial Dutch fort in Asia today], lost much of the Indonesian coffee-producing area to the British East India Company (1811-1816). The Dutch reclaimed Indonesian archipelago from the British in 1815, following the inevitable downfall of Napoleon. No “third Reich”, no “Grande Armee” would withstand Russian winter; no Napoleon, no Hitler would conquer great Russia.

In 1823 British colonial Governor of Ceylon, Sir Edward Barnes (1776-1838) & his friend George bird, a former cavalry officer, formed the first European coffee plantation in Sri Lanka Holidays Kandy, the gateway to the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. In the same year the colonial governor established a government plantation of 200 acres near the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens at Kandy. The quality of Ceylon Coffee was such the governor believed in a brilliant future for coffee in Sri Lanka Holidays Central Highlands. The Story of Ceylon Tea was yet to begin and unravel.

Ceylon Coffee Production during the British Colonial Era in Sri Lanka

Ceylon Coffee Production during the British Colonial Era in Sri Lanka: sifting coffee beans

The British Child Soldier
In 1825, the British colonialists in Ceylon began cultivation of coffee in large scale in the Central Highlands. Governor Barnes invested in a network of roads in Ceylon. At the forefront of the road building work was one Thomas Skinner (1804-1877), who enlisted in the Ceylon Rifles in 1818 at the tender age of fourteen. Thomas Skinner made roads and history in Ceylon. Such was his contribution, he was attributed to had his hand & heart in the construction of nearly every road & bridge in the tropical island of Ceylon. He gave British Ceylon 3000 miles of good macadamized roads. The remarkable growth of coffee plantations in Ceylon was more or less a result of the road building work of Major Skinner.

Sir Emerson Tennet (1804-1869), colonial secretary of Ceylon (1845-1850) was on the bull’s eye when he stated “to him more than to any living man the colony is indebted for its present prosperity”. One would wonder whether Emerson could have done still better to do justice to Skinner, had Emerson lived to witness the success of Ceylon Tea plantations.

Ceylon Tea Plantations, Central Highlands. Sri Lanka

Ceylon Tea Plantations, Central Highlands. Sri Lanka

Ceylon Land Rush Vs. California Gold Rush
The investment in the network of roads in British Ceylon caused a Land Rush, commencing in 1836, for a decade, in the Sri Lanka Holidays Central Highlands in the vein of the Gold Rush in California (1848-1855). Coffee was the latest craze that torched Ceylon ablaze. Fired up by the coffee craze, enterprising individuals across a wide spectrum of the populace took lock, stock & barrel (literally in view of the herds on elephants then populated the Central Highlands). Among those who swarmed to the Central Highlands were Ceylonese civil servants, soldiers, judges & clergymen with one ambition in common: to become planters. At the forefront was legendary Sinhalese Coffee planter, “Rothschild of CeylonCharles Henry De Soysa (1836-1890) of Moratuwa [of South-Western Coastal Belt of Sri Lanka Holidays].

And the authorities were only too ready to sell crown lands of British Ceylon and did so at the pace of about 40,000 acres per annum. With the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies in 1833 resulting in a decline of coffee production therein, coffee export from Ceylon was in ascendance, filling the gap in the world market. The success of Ceylon Coffee plantations was such it successfully transformed Ceylon’s economy from reliance upon subsistence crops to plantation agriculture. Coffee industry became a money spinner of Ceylon in the lines as tobacco, cotton, or sugar was in America albeit on a different scale of production. By the mid 1800s Ceylon was the world’s leading coffee producer. In 1869, coffee covered over 90,000 acres of Sri Lanka Holidays Central Highlands and had created a vibrant export trade. But then the wheel of fortunes was to turn & turn with merciless wrath.

Irish Potato Blight Vs Ceylonese Coffee Blight
In 1869, nature turned its wrath upon the coffee plantations of Ceylon through a leaf blight called Haemileia vastatrix, for which no control could be found as was the case in Irish Potato Bight during 1740-1741, a watershed in the history of Ireland which sparked Irish emigration to the New World. Alas, once vibrant Ceylon Coffee plantations of Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon was to become a footnote in the history.
The Los Angeles Time, June 30, 1899: The coffee of Yemen (Mocha) is esteemed the best in the world, but little Mocha coffee gets out of Arabia, or at least beyond Turkey and Armenia. Ceylon once had an excellent reputation for its coffee, but so many natural obstacles arose to impede coffee cultivation in Ceylon that Ceylonese coffee plantations have been largely converted into tea plantations…

Andrew Carnegie sees a brilliant future for Black Tea in Ceylon
In 1879, a decade after the coffee blight, American industrialist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) wrote “there are more than twelve hundred coffee plantations, and the amount of coffee exported exceeds twenty millions of dollars per annum. Tea cultivation has been introduced recently, and the quality is said to be excellent. There cannot be any doubt of this, because it finds a ready market here. None has been exported. If it were not a remarkably good article the foreign would be preferred, as we all know a domestic article has a world of prejudice to overcome at first. I shall watch Ceylon Tea leaf may rival that of the coffee bean.”
On the ashes of once great Ceylon Coffee industry, was built the now world renowned Ceylon Tea industry of Sri Lanka.
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Lipton & Taylor

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Thomas Lipton & James Taylor
The history of Ceylon Tea, the finest Black Tea in the world runs far back to Sri Lanka’s British colonial period (1815-1948). Until the year 1869, Coffee industry of Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon was a lucrative business to the British colonial era planters of the resplendent Indian Ocean Island. Second to none among the planters, mainly British, was legendary Sinhalese Coffee planter, “Rothschild of Ceylon” Charles Henry De Soysa (1836-1890) of Moratuwa [of South-Western Coastal Belt of Sri Lanka Holidays], who prided on management of his estates with no European whatsoever on the payroll. But most of the Ceylonese executives were of European origin. The business of Ceylonese planters was business. They made money.

Ceylon Tea Plantation Central Highlands..

Ceylon Tea Plantation Central Highlands..

Ceylon Tea fields down in there in an exotic tropical island
As all good things must come to an end, in 1989, the death blow to the coffee industry was dealt in by the outbreak of a coffee rust, Hemileia vastatrix, a fungal disease. Such was devastation by the ‘coffee blight’, planters lost all hope on coffee. All of a sudden coffee was the bitter berry. Should you get tired of historical narratives, the next best option is fictional narratives based on facts. Standing head & shoulders high among all the fictional narrations of the grand enterprise is “the Bitter Berry” to hold you in thrall. The novel was written in by Christine Spittle Wilson, daughter of much adored Ceylonese Dutch burgher writer, Dr. R. L. Spittle (1880-1869) in 1957. It was translated from English into Sinhala by the title “Thitta Kopi” meaning Bitter Coffee in Sinhalese. But then the bitterness was not given an opportunity to take root. The lion-hearted planters wouldn’t be denied: new cash crop stronger than coffee plant was found. Undaunted & obstinate with courage, the planters carried on to establish legendary industry of Ceylon Tea, the finest Black Tea in the world, in the Sri Lanka Holidays Central Highlands beginning in Kandy, the gateway to the Central Highlands to Sri Lanka Holidays Nuwara Eliya, the prime hill country sanatorium.

Ceylon Tea: Brave Hearts
“Not often is it that men have the heart, when their one great industry is ruined, to rear up in a few years another as rich to take its place: and the tea fields of Ceylon are true a monument to courage as is the lion of Waterloo”.
Sir Arthur Connan Doyle (1859-1830)

Ceylon Tea: our man in Ceylon
“It can be said of few individuals that their labors have helped to shape the landscape of a country. But the beauty of the hill country as it now appears owes much to the inspiration of James Taylor, the man who introduced tea cultivation to Sri Lanka”.
John Field, the High Commissner for Great Britain in Sri Lanka, 1992, the 100th death anniversary of James Taylor

When the hour comes, the man would appear. Our man was only a boy when he arrived in resplendent Sri Lanka from Kincardineshire in 1852. He was sixteen. His name was James Taylor. James Taylor (1835-1892) during his time at a coffee plantation in Ceylon visited India (1866) to learn on growing Black tea. On his return in 1867, James Taylor pioneered the Black tea plantations of Ceylon in mere 19 acres of land.
In 1872, with a new variety of Black Tea from Assam discovered by another Scotsman, Robert Bruce, Taylor went on a much larger scale in plantations at Loolecondera estate in Sri Lanka Holidays Central Highlands. James Taylor has already been narrating his enterprise. “I have a machine of my own invention being made in Kandy for rolling tea which I think will be successful”, wrote Taylor. The year 1873 saw the export of Sri Lanka’s first Ceylon Tea consignment 23 lbs from Loolecondra Estate to London.

Ceylon Tea: Thomas Lipton was here
Although Ceylon Tea had become a popular beverage in Great Britain by 1880, it was still not within the purchasing capacity of the working class. In the year 1890, a British millionaire, who at the age of eighteen had picked up American techniques of salesmanship and advertising in New York, secretly booked a sea passage to Australia yet disembarked in Sri Lanka Holidays Colombo to close ranks with James Taylor to launch an enterprise of gigantic scale: “Straight from the tea gardens to the tea pot”. He had already taken a leaf out of the book his mother: his mother dealt directly with the farmers over the middlemen at the market to buy bacon, egg & butter for their small grocery shop at Glasgow, Ireland.

Ceylon Tea: Lipton came, Lipton saw, Lipton conquered
Thomas Lipton (1848-1931) resolved to leapfrog the industry of Ceylon Tea” “kill wherever possible, the middleman or intermediary profiteer between the producer and consumer, with profit alike to myself and my customer” (Lipton’s autobiography by Sir Thomas Lipton, 1932).
In 1891 Ceylon Tea established a record price of GBP 36.15 per pound at the London Tea Auctions. In 1893, an incredible one million packets of Ceylon Tea were sold at Chicago’s World Fair. Thomas Lipton became a household name across and the US. Lipton took Ceylon Tea to the world. And the world, in return, brought him greatest fame and fortune. In 1898, the Irishman was knighted by Queen Victoria.

Ceylon Tea Plantation. Central Highlands.

Ceylon Tea Plantation. Central Highlands

Ceylon Tea: if you build it, they will come
And they came with great power. They came climbing, winding over the rings of hills, after hill, through the tunnels cut through the hills, over the bridges built over the rivers and ravines: the steam powered locomotive trains. They came to transport Ceylon Tea from the Sri Lanka Holidays Central Highlands to the seaport of Colombo for export. In the  year 1884 the highland track of spectacular scenery built by Ceylon Railway Lines of British Ceylon was extended from Nanu Oya to Sri Lanka Holidays Nuwara Eliya and in 1894 to Sri Lanka Holidays Bandarawela and then in 1941 to Sri Lanka Holidays Badulla via paradise like village of Ella of the Central Highlands, the home of Black Tea branded Ceylon Tea, the finest Black Tea in the world.
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