In July, five of our Ministers of Tea embarked on a journey of enlightenment to beautiful Sri Lanka. This island nation in the Indian Ocean—formerly known as Ceylon—has a rich and storied history of tea production dating back to 1867.
The Camellia sinensis plant thrives in this lush, fertile environment, resulting in a cup that’s bright, bold, and full-bodied. Today, Ceylon tea has earned a reputation for being among the finest and most prized tea in the world.
During this trip, our Ministers visited tea plantations and estates, met with local nonprofit partners, sampled pure Ceylon teas, and discovered the rich culture and enchanting heritage of Sri Lanka.
Now, we invite you to follow along as we recap our adventures and lessons learned from Ceylon!
Day One: Colombo
The team kicked off their journey with a whirlwind tour of historic Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. After learning about the city’s history, they were welcomed for dinner at the home of Mr. Dushy Perera, the regional program manager for the Ethical Tea Partnership.
Day Two: Kandy
The following day, our Ministers were whisked off to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage to observe Asian elephants in their native habitat.
From there, they journeyed onwards towards Kandy—Sri Lanka’s primary tea-growing district, known for its verdant green landscapes and full-bodied mid-grown teas.
In Kandy, our Ministers enjoyed cultural sights like the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic—a Buddhist temple and a World Heritage site.
Day Three: Pedro Tea Estate Tour
On their third day in Sri Lanka, our Ministers ventured to the cool, misty hills of Nuwara Eliya in the heart of tea country. Many of The Republic of Tea’s finest Ceylon teas, such as British Breakfast & Mango Ceylon, hail from this scenic region.
The team was joined by the Ethical Tea Partnership for a tour of the Pedro Tea Estate, which sits nestled amongst the rolling green hills. They explored the historic tea gardens and onsite factory, while learning about the painstaking process of cultivating fine Ceylon tea.
Day Four: Women of Tea™: Sri Lanka Project Meeting
During this trip, our Ministers had the unique opportunity to sit down with local representatives from the Ethical Tea Partnership and the PALM Foundation. While sharing local cuisine, the attendees of this meeting discussed progress on the Women of Tea: Sri Lanka project.
In August 2017, The Republic of Tea—in partnership with these two organizations—launched the Women of Tea™ program. A large percentage of Sri Lanka’s tea production workforce is women, and this program aims to elevate and bring prosperity to these women and their families.
Day Five: Dambatenne & Idulgashinna Tea Garden Tours
Our Ministers continued their journey of enlightenment and education with a visit to Dambatenne Estate, which has been in operation since 1890. This garden is also home to Lipton’s Seat, which overlooks over the rolling hills of tea. The Dambatenne Garden is part of the Women of Tea™: Sri Lanka project. At this garden the project has funded a community kitchen providing nutritious foods and a greenhouse to cultivate vegetables year round.
During these estate visits, the team learned about the growing, harvesting, and processing methods that these tea growers employ. They also tasted several varieties of pure Ceylon tea, straight from the origin location.
Day Six: Somerset Tea Estate Tour & Farewell
On the final day of the trip, our travelers headed for the historic Somerset Estate, to learn about the origins of several more varieties of Ceylon tea. Following a bit of free time for exploring Colombo, the day winded down with a celebratory farewell dinner.
We hope that you enjoyed reading about this year’s trip to enchanting Sri Lanka! Our Ministers look forward to sharing the knowledge, insights, and firsthand experience gained from exploring the origins of Ceylon tea with our Embassies, Ambassadors, and Citizens.