History of Ceylon Tea


by Imperial Tea Garden June 05, 2018

History of Ceylon Tea

The story of Ceylon tea began over a hundred years ago when the country currently known as Sri Lanka was still a British colony. Coffee was the dominant crop on the island; however, it was destined for failure.  In the late 1860's the plantations were struck with Hemileia Vostatrix, more commonly known as coffee rust or coffee blight.  As crop yields became unproductive due to the disease, growers switched to planting and producing tea.  Commercial cultivation of tea began in 1867 from experimental plantings from the East India Company sown on the island in the 1830's. 

James Taylor is credited for playing a significant role in the development of Ceylon tea.  A perfectionist by nature, Taylor experimented with tea cultivation in order to obtain the best flavor from the tea leaves.  Taylor's methods were quickly emulated by other tea plantations and soon Ceylon tea was favorable and well received by buyers in London.

The first recorded shipment of Ceylon tea was aboard the vessel The Duke of Argyll in 1877.  By the 1880's almost all of the coffee plantations had been converted to tea and machinery and mechanization was developed to meet the increasing demand.  As Ceylon tea gained popularity throughout the world, the need arose to mediate and monitor the sale of tea.  An auction system was established and on July 30, 1883 the first public sale of tea was conducted. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce undertook the responsibility for the auctions.

Ceylon tea is still world renowned as a symbol of quality with year round production.  Sri Lanka ranks 4th among all tea producing countries in total output.  With its light sweetness, Adam's Peak is a must try for any white tea connoisseur.  For a bold and brisk black tea that is delicious served hot or as an iced tea we recommend trying Courtlodge Estate black tea or Ceylon Flowery Orange Pekoe.  If flavored teas are your cup of tea, then Imperial Tea Garden® offers the best Earl Grey bar none.  We also have a sweet vanilla and grenadine flavored black tea called Monk's Blend as well as Chocolate Mint and the classic Lemon flavored black tea.




Imperial Tea Garden
Imperial Tea Garden

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