Before we tell you the story of Ceylon Tea and how it became a successful cultivation in Sri Lanka, we would also like you know the origin of tea! Over 5000 years ago, Chinese Emperor ShenNung happened to discover tea! While boiling water, a leaf from the nearby plant fell into the pot. The emperor upon drinking the mixture felt invigorated and strangely satisfied. Who knew then, that this simple drink would change the history of Sri Lanka?
Up until the 19th and 20th Century, Sri Lanka was still under the British rule and coffee was a dominant crop in the island. In 1824, a British brought a tea plant from China to Sri Lanka and planted it in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya for non-commercial purposes.
Coffee Leaf Disease
Towards 1860’s, Coffee leaf disease also known as coffee rust or Hemileiavastatrix happened to strike the coffee plantations and crops began to die. Within a decade this disease led to financial ruin for the island’s British coffee planters.
Estate owners had to move into other plantations to avoid a slow death. Around 1700 cultivators left to Britain, remaining 400 switched to tea to try their luck.
Did you know – Tea is the most popular beverage, next to water, in the world.
Thanks to Scottish coffee planter James Taylor, over 19 acres of tea was planted in Kandy for cultivation in early 1960’s.
A perfectionist by nature, Taylor started experimented with tea to obtain the best flavour from its leaves. Other planters began imitating his methods. Before anyone knew, Ceylon Tea became a favourable choice of tea to British buyer’s thereby becoming a profitable cultivation. In 20 years’ time, almost all the coffee plantations in Ceylon had been converted to tea.
By 1965 Sri Lanka became the world’s largest tea exporter for the first time. In 2012 Sri Lanka exported 340 million kilograms of tea, the third highest by volume behind Kenya and China.
Who would have thought that the story of Ceylon tea actually began with coffee? 🙂
Travel with Ichiqoo and explore Sri Lanka like a local. If you are interested in history and want to experience Tea, check out our Sri Lanka holiday package here – http://ichiqoo.com/packages-srilanka/index.php/tour-item/a-taste-of-history.
You can also write to us firstname.lastname@example.org today.
Did you know – Tea is the most popular beverage, next to water, in the world? Check out this article on tea.https://t.co/4yVdhtzWbC
— Ichiqoo (@ichiqootravels) August 17, 2016