Sri Lankans drink black tea very strong with milk and sugar. Sharing a pot in the afternoon is a common way to wind down from a busy day. The tea of choice in most households is the strong black tea, commonly called “Ceylon Tea”. Since tea is so important in Sri Lanka, there are a few specialized tea houses where you can try not only the usual teas but also some new blends and tea cocktails.
Depending on where the plants grow, the flavor will be different. This is why the tea in Sri Lanka is so special. Ceylon tea, as it has been known since the 19th century, has been the base tea of choice for most tea manufacturers around the world. Sri Lankans believe that their ground water has a magical quality, not only for growing great tea plants but also for brewing it.
Black tea is the most common kind of tea. Ceylon black tea is considered the cleanest tea in the world, free of harmful pesticides or additives. To make black tea, the leaves are hand plucked by the masterful female tea pluckers. They pick only two leaves and a bud in large quantities, which are then withered, rolled and fermented, then dried and sifted. After the sifting, the leaves are separated into different grades. The largest wiry leaves are called Orange Pekoe, followed by lots of different grades, until dust grade. Every grade has a different color and intensity.
t’s with this great variety of Ceylon black teas that the classic blends are made. In Sri Lanka you can have all the classics plus other specialties:
- English Breakfast
- English Afternoon
- Irish Breakfast
- Earl Grey
- Lapsang Souchong
- Spiced Masala
- Rose and French Vanilla
- Black tea with berries
- and more….
Ceylon green tea is quickly gaining traction outside of Sri Lanka. The process of making green tea is different to black tea, even though it comes from the same kind of plant. The leaves are unfermented, maintaining their antioxidant attributes. The leaves are picked, withered and heated, then rolled before drying and sifting. Ceylon green tea is pure and clean, just like the black tea. Here are some of the varieties of green tea that you can try in Sri Lanka:
- Real Leaf Green Tea
- Jasmine Green Tea
- Mint Green Tea
- Lemongrass Green Tea
White tea is the most unique tea in Sri Lanka. It’s the also the most expensive, due to how it is harvested. For white tea, only the buds are plucked, and very delicately at dawn. The buds are not fermented at all and are hand rolled individually. White tea is the only tea that is totally handmade. The color of white tea is subtle and light. There is less caffeine and more antioxidants than in green or black tea, making white tea one of the most healthy. White tea is also called “Silver Tips”, and can be found in loose leaf or pyramid bags at all the tea shops in Sri Lanka.
Dilmah Teas has a variety of white teas to try:
- Real White tea
- Ceylon Silver Tips
- White Litchee handrolled tea
- Jade Butterfly handmade white
Traditional Ginger tea
The heavy spice of ginger steeped in the subtle tones of coriander, is cleansing, invigorating and calming. Coriander is rich in vitamin C and ginger boosts the immune system – a marriage made in health heaven. All in all, anything that makes me feel less like death warmed up is definitely something worth shouting about. This tea is also perfect to enjoy on a weekly basis, to cleanse your body of toxins and to aid in healthy digestion.
See the recipe on: Sri Lankan Super Club
Unique Sri Lankan Milk Tea
Many people enjoy their tea strong and plain. However, there are equally as many who need just a little extra be it milk or sweetener. When it comes to milk tea it’s important to remember that fresh milk is always the best choice.
Heating the milk before mixing is also an option. Sweetener on the other hand merely a supporting player in this tale. Extras depend on the consumer. There are options such as jaggery, sugar or bee’s honey for sweetners. Pick your choice and enjoy ‘your cup’ of tea.
See the recipe on: Culture Classic Travel