Sri Lankan tea or Ceylon tea is celebrated the world over for its rich and decadent flavour alongside its profuse health benefits.
Located in the central highlands of the ‘Teardrop Isle’ in the Indian Ocean, surrounded by cascading waterfalls, and nestled away in the lush green mountains, are acres and acres of tea estates carpeting the hillsides of central Sri Lanka.
If you are visiting the island, do not miss out on the opportunity to experience the culture surrounding a hot cup of tea, the Sri Lankan’s beverage of choice!
And what better way to do it, than to fully immerse yourself in the hills of its tea country?
1. Ceylon Tea Museum - Hanthana
Nestled away amidst the famed seven peaks of the Hanthana mountain range, just 3km south of Kandy, is the Ceylon Tea Museum; once a functioning tea factory in its hay day. A tour of the museum would give you some insight into the history of tea cultivation in Sri Lanka, as well as all the processing that takes place before those tea leaves are ready to make its way to your cup!
While you’re in Hanthana, make sure to take in the breath-taking beauty of this renowned trekking destination, which at a height of 3800ft offers some of the most beautiful landscapes on the island.
2. Ceylon Tea Trails
This luxury estate bungalow resort; the first of its kind, is home to five exquisite tea planters’ bungalows sitting on the border of the Central Highland’s World Heritage Site.
Encapsulating the periodic architecture while staying true to each of their own authentic charm, the bungalows named Castlereagh, Summerville, Dunkeld, Norwood and Tientsin pay homage to the grandeur of the colonial era to which they belong.
The Bogawantalawa region that is home to the five Tea Trails bungalows is the perfect destination to observe the inner workings of a tea estate. While you're at it, do engage in some adventure trekking and even cycling across this picturesque setting surrounded by multiple waterfalls and lakes.
A couple nights stay at Ceylon Tea Trails is sufficient for you to experience it all.
3. Haputale Tea Estates
This small town nestled away in the tea country, offers a more serene and mellow tourist experience. Haputale is home to the iconic ‘Lipton seat’ that offers one of the most stunning viewpoints to take in the majestic sunrise atop the hills.
A 6km walk from the view point will bring you to Dambatenne Tea Factory where you are able to get a grand tour of the tea making process in its entirety.
4. Loolecondera, James Taylor Estate
The Loolecondera estate in Deltota, Kandy was the first ever tea estate in Ceylon which was initiated by the Scotsman James Taylor. He arrived on the island in 1852 and worked alongside Thomas Lipton to develop the tea industry of the country.
If you’re a tea enthusiast in Sri Lanka, it would be quite fitting to pay a visit to the Loolecondera estate, the birthplace of Ceylon tea.
As one of the few countries where tea is still plucked by hand, you can hope to witness the artistry of their highly skilled workforce as they move along gently by the tea bushes plucking 'two leaves and a bud' from each plant as they cover well over 10km of ground in a day.
5. Private Tea Tasting with Bernard Holsinger
While you are able to take tours of the factories followed by tea tasting in most locations, there’s nothing like experiencing a ‘private tea tasting’ session with the resident tea planter at Tea Trails – Bernard Holsinger.
Be prepared to be blown away by his wealth of knowledge in ‘all things tea’ as he guides you along the journey of discovering unique flavour profiles enabling you to identify and appreciate each distinctive variety of tea.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Liz Westwood from UK on April 09, 2021:
This is an interesting and well-illustrated tea trail. Tea is very popular in the UK.