August 2019


A Cup of Ceylon Tea in Colombo
August 2019




Black or plain tea is ideal with a dash of sugar or a piece of jaggery.

Ceylon Tea, globally renowned for its high quality and taste, is synonymous with Sri Lanka. Traditionally served as black tea or with milk and sugar, this brew has evolved over time, ranging from the straightforward teas, to gourmet teas, infusions and iced teas, shakes, bubble teas, heritage-inspired concoctions and mocktails in limitless varieties. The city of Colombo has many places to experience the refreshing brews that the country has to offer.

Words: Udeshi Amarasinghe.

Photography: Menaka Aravinda.

From the first tea grown by James Taylor in Loolecondera in the misty hill country in the early 19th Century to the present day, Ceylon Tea has been an integral part of Sri Lankan hospitality and daily life. It is a refreshing and therapeutic brew that gives a boost of energy, ideal for keeping you going as you explore the city of Colombo.


The island is a renowned producer of orthodox black teas. The plucked tea leaves from lush green tea estates are dried and oxidized until the leaves turn from green to an enticing reddish brown or black. Black tea is also known as ‘plain tea' and is best consumed with a dash of sugar or a piece of jaggery (palm sugar), and ginger, if added, gives a refreshing edge to the tea. Milk tea is another favourite.


The popular yaara thei (literally translated as ‘yard tea') is poured from a container held high at a distance of a yard to another cup held below with the other hand. The result is a frothy, red-brick coloured cuppa. The yaara thei preparation is a fascinating sight that can be experienced from small way-side tea shops to restaurants and city hotels.


While you explore Colombo there are many places that you could simply relax and enjoy the various preparations of Ceylon Tea. There are high-end and special teas such as Silver Tips, Golden Tips and Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings, which should be enjoyed without any sweeteners or additives. For instance, Golden Tips is one of the premium and rare teas in the world. A single estate tea, it is produced by dipping Silver Tips into a special brew known as OP and dried. Once brewed, it is a yellow gold cup with subtle flavours.

Ceylon Tea is a refreshing and therapeutic brew that gives a boost of energy, ideal for keeping you going as you explore the city of Colombo.


Other concoctions include tea and non-tea infusions that provide a soothing and relaxing experience after a spa treatment or to simply comfort your weary body after a day of exploring. These infusions can be experienced at restaurants, cafes, spas and hotels. The non-tea infusions are a combination of dried fruits, cinnamon, and spices as well as herbal varieties. These are caffeine-free drinks that soothe the senses with Ayurvedic properties. Infused tea varieties are a beautiful combination of Ceylon tea with elements such as fruits, flowers and spices.


Iced tea varieties are cooling and flavoursome. Tea shakes, smoothies and bubble teas create a Ceylon Tea experience and are ideal to be combined with various types of sweet and savoury snacks.


During your visit to Sri Lanka make sure you enjoy the country's foremost beverage, Ceylon Tea, in all its forms. You will definitely be refreshed and energized, and it will be one of the best tea experiences.

Information and photography support; Ahmad Tea, Dilmah, Hilton Colombo, Mlesna, Spa Ceylon, Tea Tang and Watawala Tea Ceylon.

 

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    Yaara thei, a dramatic preparation.

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    Milk tea is a popular preparation of Ceylon Tea, a combination of a strong brew tea and milk.

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    The spicy Chai Masala for those who relish a strong cuppa tea.

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    Peppermint and Lemon, yet another tea infusion is ideal after a meal.

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    Ceylon Tea infused with juicy island fruits, Hibiscus blossoms and a hint of orange peel to enjoy after an Ayurvedic spa treatment.

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    Golden Tips is one of the premium and rare teas in the world and is considered a high-end tea.

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    A cool refreshing iced tea with natural vanilla.

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    Beli mal Bomu! As you travel around the country, you are bound to come across wayside stalls selling Beli Mal. Sun-dried bael flowers are brewed in boiling water, and consumed as a hot beverage with a piece of jaggery. It is healthy too!

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