My name is Lalith Guy Paranavitana. I am the President of Empire Tea Services LLC. I have been associated with the tea industry for over 42 years. I was the Manager of Nuwara Eliya Tea Estate in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and a Director of the Sri Lanka State Plantations (Tea) Corporation, before immigrating to the USA in 1989. At the very beginning, I managed and operated the Victorian style Empire Tea Room in the Columbus Inn B&B. I started importing tea and blending shortly thereafter.
The last tea estate and factory I managed was over 1250 acres and produced over a million pounds of tea a year. I had over 1300 people working under me. Later, as a Director, I directed 12 managers who were managing estates and factories in our corporation. I have worked in all 5 tea growing regions of Sri Lanka and have travelled to India and Bangladesh to visit tea estates and factories in those countries
Our warehouse and showroom is located at 4525 Progress Drive, in Columbus, Indiana. Our main focus is wholesale, selling to tea shops, coffee shops and gourmet food stores throughout the USA. We have excelled in our Private Label branding program and also conduct tea education programs for budding tea entrepreneurs.
My unique, experience and expertise, enables me to appreciate and discern the various types of teas from around the globe and offer you a very special selection of fine teas. I also take pride in creating new blends. These teas, which are blended in small batches of less than 10 lbs and called Micro blended teas, have proven themselves over time and I now ask you to be the judge. I try to simplify your tea selection and have no intention of confusing you with 500 different types of teas. Further, with a limited selection of less than 200 teas, I am able to offer fresh teas consistently! I have taken the guesswork out of selecting teas and offer you the best value for your money. If you have questions, please contact me.
To round off the tea experience, I offer tea accessories, books on tea, a wide range of Tea Pots and other accoutrements. I will not sell an items that I have not tried myself and found to be satisfactory. I also emphasize the need for customers to experiment with tea and learn the nuances without getting intimidated by strange sounding names. (Picture to right: Award Winner - World Tea Expo 2004.)
Tea is a romantic beverage and closely associated with historical and mythological information. The tremendous spectrum of flavors found in tea caters to everyone's needs. From varietals and herbals to flavored teas, hot or iced, for young and old. Come and enjoy one of life's simple pleasures. And remember to visit our showroom if ever you happen to be in Columbus, Indiana!
(Picture to left: 1982 - Lalith Paranavitana, then Manager of Nuwara Eliya State Plantation and Factory, in Sri Lanka tasting tea, a daily ritual.)
1987 – Lalith Paranavitana (Picture to right: Garlanded and pictured with his wife) at his farewell as Manager of the Nuwara Eliya State Plantation and Factory. He was promoted to the post of Director of the Sri Lanka State Plantations Corporation (Nuwara Eliya / Talawakelle / Bandarawela regions) and served till 1989 when he immigrated to the US with his family.
Lalith Paranavitana President and Founder of Empire Tea Services LLC
Please feel free to call us at (812) 375 - 1937 or use our online form to contact us - we are here to help you.