Sri Lanka Ceylon Tea
Ceylon teas are produced in the Island nation of Sri Lanka. There are three categories of Ceylon teas based on elevation. They are Low grown, Mid grown and High grown teas. With altitudes from sea level to 6000 feet, there are five agro-climatic regions and two flavor seasons (Dec - March and June - August). Sri Lanka produces mainly black teas and is the largest tea exporting country in the world. China and India produces a lot more tea, but their enormous populations consume the bulk of their production. The most common grades of tea, from largest to smallest, are; Orange Pekoe (OP), Pekoe (P), Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe (FBOP), Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP), Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings (BOPF), Fannings (F), and Dust (D). Observe the large wiry leaf style of the OP grade and the smaller FBOP grade with a few golden ‘tips’ among the black leaf. These ‘tips’ are a bi-product of the manufacturing process essentially from the tender buds preserved by careful withering and light rolling and denoted by the letter F in front of the abbreviation. The letter F at the back of an abbreviation refers to Fannings. Black tea is produced from the first and second leaves with a bud in the middle also referred to as ‘flush’. Nuwara Eliya is the highest elevation region in Sri Lanka and has the potential to produce Darjeeling like teas during the dry season January - March. These teas are less oxidized and have slight green hue with a light cup color. Example – Lovers Leap estate. Brewing time is 4 minutes @ 195 degrees. Ratnapura region in Sri Lanka is on the south western part of the island and has an altitude from 500 – 2000 feet above sea level. There is no flavor season for this region due to rain fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. These teas are known for their strength and color and the manufacturing process is requires the appropriate changes to withering, rolling and drying to achieve this. These teas have ‘tips’ (buds) among the black tea leaves and may be seen as golden tips or silver tips depending on the process. Example – Vithanakande Estate FBOP Extra Special. The Uva region is located in the eastern side of the highlands and the dry season is June – August. The climate during this time is conducive to production of ‘Uva’ flavor accentuated by the dry winds. Brewing time is 5 minutes at 212 degrees. Use 2 grams (1 teaspoon) for 6 ounces of water. For strong tea use 3 grams.