Ceylon Tea: The Precious Treasure of Sri Lanka

HomeTea KnowledgeCeylon Tea: The Precious Treasure of Sri Lanka

Last Updated on 03/25/2020 by Desmond

When we talk about black tea, the first we think of is Ceylon tea. As the most famous black tea in the world, even more popular than the black tea origin China. What makes people crazy in love with it? Keep reading.

Sri Lanka is famous for its unique Ceylon tea
Sri Lanka is famous for its unique Ceylon tea

What Is Ceylon Tea

Ceylon tea is the total name of the teas that originated in Sri Lanka, but we usually refer to black tea.

Sri Lanka is an island nation off the coast of India, which is one of the world’s largest tea producing countries. And Ceylon tea is a unique tea that only grown on it.

Ceylon tea takes its name from Ceylon, the name of Sri Lanka, before it became independent from British rule in 1972.

The seeds of the tea plant Camellia Sinensis first came to the island in 1824. At first, they had nothing commercial value, because cinnamon was a main government-backed crop. After the economic crisis sapped demand for spices, farmers turned to grow coffee, but the attempt didn’t work either. As a result, the country chose to try growing tea as the main commercial crop.

In 1867, James Taylor, known as the “Father of Ceylon Tea, “took the lead in introducing tea tree seeds and planting technology from India. He planted tea trees in the Kandy tea district and successfully shipped his first batch of goods to London in 1872. Ceylon black tea has become popular since then.

Although green tea and white tea also produced in Sri Lanka, their output is too low compared to that of black tea.

Ceylon Tea Cultivation Region

Sri Lanka farmer is picking Ceylon tea
Sri Lanka farmer is picking Ceylon tea

In the past 2019, The total tea export from Sri Lanka more than 300,000 tons. And the tea plantations cover a total area of more than 200,000 hectares. Growing and exporting tea is Sri Lanka’s primary source of income, so that tea plantation set up all over the country.

Let’s see 4 famous tea cultivation regions:


Uva located on the eastern side of the central mountain of Sri Lanka, the tea plantations set up at about 1000 ~ 1600 meters altitude. 

Although it is adjacent to Nuwara Eliya and Dimbula, it also influenced by the northeast and southwest monsoon. Due to the obstruct of the high mountains around it, the climate here is relatively dry.

Uva producing tea all over the year, and the best harvest time is June to September. During this season, the dry wind blow from the eastern makes the tea a unique wild taste. Especially the finely broken tea brings a strong astringent taste.

Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya located in the highest region of the central mountain of Sri Lanka, adjacent to the Pidurutalagala, the highest peak in the country. With an average altitude close to 2000 meters, which is one of the famous tea cultivation regions in Ceylon. The best harvest time is January, February, June, and July.

Under the strong sunshine and the cold alpine climate, with thick cloud, eucalyptus tree, and wild mint, make the teas which origin here a grace taste, folks called it “Champagne in the Ceylon tea.” Especially the buds tea, full of the sweet herbs and fruit aroma.


Dimbura located on the western side of the central mountain of Sri Lanka, between 1000 ~1600 meters altitude, which has the largest and most stable yield in the Ceylon high altitude tea region.

January to March is the best season for harvest. The cool temperature and dried west wind make the tea a smooth taste, loved by the tea lovers.


Located in the middle of Sri Lanka’s central mountains, Kandy was once the capital of the Kingdom of Kandy and the oldest cultivation region of black tea in Ceylon, where the history of black tea in Ceylon began.

The tea plantation is located in a village of about 650~1300 meters altitude. Due to its low geographical location, the black tea origin here is relatively dark in color and mellow in taste.

Types Of Ceylon Black Tea

The quality of Ceylon black tea usually varies according to the region, while the tea plantations are generally divided by altitude.

  • High-grown Tea. High-grown Ceylon teas are grown in tea gardens above 1,200 meters in altitude. Tea grown at high altitudes has a dark brown appearance, and the tea brewed is light and elegant. These teas are considered to be of very high quality but also be quite expensive, which are considered more aromatic and sweet than other Ceylon teas.

The Nuwara Eliya region in central Sri Lanka is known for producing excellent quality of tea throughout the year.

  • Middle-grown Tea. Middle-grown teas are grown in tea gardens above 600-1200 meters in altitude, and the well-known producing district is Kandy. Middle-grown tea has both the characteristics of high-grown tea and low-grown tea, rich in fragrance, and lasts a long time, has its own unique taste.
  • Low-grown Tea. Low-grown teas are grown in tea gardens below 600 meters in altitude, such as the Galla tea garden. The low-grown tea usually has a beautiful copper color, intense flavor, and large yield, and is often used to blend with other teas or plants to make flavored or blended tea.
Ceylon tea has a beautiful copper color
Ceylon black tea has a beautiful copper color

Ceylon Black Tea Grade

On the production package of Ceylon loose tea, we may seem some letters like “OP” “BOP” on it. It means the international black tea grade code, on behalf of the identity and status of black tea.

  • OP. Means Orange Pekoe, which the tea leaves are long and complete.
  • FOP. Means Flowery Orange Pekoe. The orange pekoe tea with flower aroma.
  • TGFOP. Means Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. The orange pekoe made from the buds, with golden colors and a floral aroma.
  • FTGFOP. Means Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. It is composed of the most delicate buds and golden crushed orange pekoe.
  • BOP. Means Broken Orange Pekoe. The crushed orange pekoe, strong flavor, generally suitable for making milk tea.
  • TGBOP. Means Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe. The crushed orange pekoe combines many golden tippy buds.
  • FTGBOP. Means Fine Tippy Golden Broken Orange Pekoe. The crushed orange pekoe combines the best golden buds.

More on the relater post Know About The Black Tea Grade.

black tea grade means
Common black tea grade means

Caffeine Of Ceylon Black Tea

Ceylon black tea nutrition facts are the same as Chinese black tea, and it also contents caffeine.

Many people may mind about how much amount of caffeine in a cup of Ceylon black tea. Extrapolate from the experience, about 50-90mg caffeine contents in an 8oz cup.

But the caffeine content according to various sides. Such as the ways you brewed, the time you steeped, and the black tea types. Ceylon black tea usually cut into CTC type, and the finely leaves powder makes more caffeine dissolved.

For more information, read What Influence The Caffeine In Tea.

What Is Ceylon Tea Good For

Ceylon tea for afternoon tea
Ceylon tea for afternoon tea

One of the best values of drinking tea every day is the plentiful benefits it can bring to your health, especially in the case of Ceylon tea. Due to the climate and geographical conditions, Ceylon tea has unique due to its diverse flavor and nutritional facts, let’s see what health benefits of Ceylon tea bring to the human body:

Weight Loss

Thanks to the effect of caffeine, having Ceylon tea will improve your metabolism, which helps burn your body fat faster. Ceylon tea is low in calories, and it is an excellent drink for those who care about their calorie intake.

Boost Immune System

Ceylon tea contains potent natural antioxidant-tea polyphenols, which can play against radicals effectively. That helps your immune system to focus on doing its job of fighting off pathogens, reduce the risk of getting sick.

Heart Health

Ceylon tea is rich in potassium, a nutrient associated with a healthy cardiovascular system. As a vasodilator, potassium helps your blood vessels diastole, so that stabilizes your blood pressure. Cooperate with the antioxidant function of tea polyphenols, and it can also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, take better care of your heart health.

Skin Beauty

Studies proved that polyphenols found in Ceylon tea could help prevent the loss of collagen due to oxidative. Collagen is an essential protein critical for skin anti-aging. A Ceylon tea habit will give you better skin.

Boost Energy

Caffeine can stimulate your nerve and make you high, and accelerate the fat-burning, bring more energy you need. People like to start their morning with a cup of Ceylon tea to sober up themselves, get a better state for working; Or have it at the afternoon tea time, boost energy for the continued work.

Manager Diabetes

Research showed that Type 2 diabetes usually associated with obesity. And the EGCG, one main ingredient of tea polyphenols doing an excellent job on anti-obesity. And Ceylon tea also can help to manage blood sugar and insulin, take a good effect on the diabetes adjuvant treatment. It also helps reduce the risk of getting diabetes.

Ceylon Tea Side Effects

As a pure tea, Ceylon tea provides not only health benefits. What is a disappointment, it also may cause some effects, most of them due to the caffeine contains. If you intake over 400mg caffeine a day, it seems not safe and may cause some discomfort such as:

  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Arrhythmia

Once you feel upset after taking too much Ceylon tea, stop drinking. Go to the doctor if getting worse.

Especially for pregnant women, should not take more Ceylon tea a day during pregnancy, or lead to some bad result such as:

  • Increase the risk of abortion
  • Low birth weight of babies
  • Increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Baby born with caffeine withdrawal symptoms

How To Make Ceylon Tea

Ceylon tea got different types according to different tea growing regions, some made into orthodox tea(whole leaves), and some made into CTC tea or tea bags.  

As the same, the taste also different. For example, black tea from Uva may taste like the herb, fittable match to milk; And the tea from Nuwara Eliya maybe best brew alone.

Different people have different answers on how to make Ceylon tea. Just like me, I prefer to make lemon black tea for the afternoon tea time; I like the sour-sweet taste a lot.

Here is a simple way to make Ceylon tea better, hope it can help.


Tea Exporters Association Sri Lanka (TEA)
Ceylon Tea in Sri Lanka

Just a tea lover. Like to try different types of tea. Do not matter if the brewing is perfect, only enjoy the various charming taste.


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