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Which Sri Lanka tea plantations deserve a spot on your Bucket List

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Pop the kettle on love, here’s everything you need to know about tea plantations in Sri Lanka

Where they are, what they are, and which Sri Lanka tea plantations deserve a spot on your Bucket List

 

Picture this: you, perched on a hillside, sipping on a steaming cup of Ceylon’s finest brew, surrounded by lush greenery as far as the eye can see. 

If you’re planning an adventure in Sri Lanka and contemplating whether a visit to a tea plantation is worth your time, allow us to spill the milk on why it’s an absolute must-do (pun intended, sorry about that). 

Stick the kettle on, grab your fanciest sunhat and get ready to steep yourself in the world of Sri Lankan tea, one delightful sip at a time.

Where are the tea plantations in Sri Lanka? 

Sri Lanka’s tea cultivation is divided into three main regions based on elevation: low-grown teas (from sea level to 600m), mid-grown teas (600m to 1,200m), and high-grown teas (above 1,200m). 

Each region boasts its own unique flavour and aroma, shaped by distinct environmental conditions. Low-grown teas, basking in prolonged sunshine and warm, moist weather, deliver a burgundy-brownish liquor with a robust, malty character and dark leaf appearance. 

In contrast, high-grown teas, perched at around 3,000 feet, offer a strikingly different experience. Up there, they’re much more affected by brisk winds and dry, cool conditions, so these teas tend to be exceptionally light, featuring greenish, grassy notes in their honey-golden brews.

The tea-growing regions are mostly nestled among the central mountains and southern foothills of the island. Similar to France’s renowned wine regions, Sri Lanka’s tea landscape is divided into seven well-defined districts, each celebrated for crafting teas with their distinct and cherished characteristics.

Where they are, what they are, and which Sri Lanka tea plantations deserve a spot on your Bucket List - woman working in field
Where they are, what they are, and which Sri Lanka tea plantations deserve a spot on your Bucket List - women working in field

Why is Sri Lanka such a great place to grow tea? 

Oh LOADS of reasons!

First, you’ve got the climate diversity.
Sri Lanka’s diverse climate zones, ranging from lowlands to highlands, provide a superstar range for tea growing. The variation in altitude and microclimates allows for the production of a ha-uge variety of tea type.

Next, there’s the elevation.

The high-altitude regions, like Nuwara Eliya and Ella, have cool temperatures and consistent rainfall, creating the perfect conditions for slow tea growth and flavour development. The hilly and mountainous terrain makes for great drainage for Sri Lankan tea plantations too, perfect for healthy root systems!

Then there’s all that lovely rain!

Sri Lanka experiences two monsoon seasons which contribute to a consistent and evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year. The steady water supply is crucial for healthy tea plants. So thank your lucky stars when you’re pulling on your pack-a-mack again – your favourite cuppa wouldn’t be the same without those drops falling on your head!

All that fertile soil…Mmmm.

Those bushes absolutely thrive in the fertile soil in many of tea-growing regions of Sri Lanka, as they’re super rich in nutrients, particularly in the central highlands.

And of course, that rich cultural heritage means they really know what they’re doing when it comes to tea plantations in Sri Lanka.

The tea culture in Sri Lanka is deeply ingrained in the country’s history and traditions. Skilled tea pluckers, often women, have honed their craft over generations, ensuring the careful and precise harvesting of tea leaves. Which means YOU get the perfect brew!

Sri Lanka’s not just an amazing place to grow tea, there are ALL sorts of incredible natural wonders to enjoy too. On your Best of Sri Lanka adventure, you’ll safari in two stunning national parks and have your eyes opened to the untouched delights of this gorgeous country. Read more about the itinerary here

What sorts of tealeaves are grown in Sri Lanka? 

Sri Lanka’s tea plantations primarily produce black tea, but you’ll also find plenty of green tea and a variety of speciality teas too. 

Black tea is the most common type of tea produced in Sri Lanka and is often simply referred to as “Ceylon tea”. It really packs a punch. Then you’ve got green tea grown in regions like Uva and Nuwara Eliya. It’s got a lighter flavour and is processed differently, with minimal oxidation, to retain its green colour and more delicate taste.

White tea is a speciality tea produced in limited quantities in Sri Lanka. It’s made from young tea buds and leaves that are minimally processed, resulting in a subtle, delicate flavour and, unsurprisingly, it’s much lighter in colour than its sisters. Have you ever tried it? You will in Sri Lanka!

Oolong tea production in Sri Lanka is relatively small compared to other types, but some estates do produce it. Oolong tea is partially oxidised, falling between green and black tea in flavour and colour. 

While you’re out there, see if you can find a purple tea too. In recent years, Sri Lanka has also started experimenting with purple tea, rich in anthocyanin antioxidants with distinct purple-hued leaves (and potential health benefits as well, but let’s face it, it’s the colour that’s most exciting!).

Where they are, what they are, and which Sri Lanka tea plantations deserve a spot on your Bucket List - tea field
Where they are, what they are, and which Sri Lanka tea plantations deserve a spot on your Bucket List - train going through tea farm

Which is the best tea plantation to visit in Sri Lanka? 

Some of the most famous tea plantation areas in Sri Lanka include:

Nuwara Eliya: Known as the “Little England” of Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya is a picturesque hill station in the central highlands. It’s famous for its cool climate and produces some of the world’s finest teas, often referred to as “Uva tea”.

Kandy: The city of Kandy and its surrounding areas, like Hantana and Gampola, are home to tea estates that produce a variety of teas, including the renowned Ceylon tea.

Ella: In the scenic Ella region, you’ll find stunning Sri Lanka tea plantations surrounded by lush hills and waterfalls. The views here are simply breathtaking.

Badulla: Situated in the Uva Province, Badulla is another major tea-producing region, known for its distinctive Uva teas.

Kotagala: Not far from Nuwara Eliya, Kotagala is famous for its lush tea estates, including the Pedro Tea Estate, which offers guided tours and tea tastings.

Haputale: Haputale is another gem in the hill country with captivating tea plantations, such as the Dambatenne Tea Factory, where you can witness the tea-making process from start to finish.

Ratnapura: Located in the Sabaragamuwa Province, Ratnapura is known for its low-grown teas, often characterized by their strong flavours.

These are just a few of the regions where you can explore the tea plantations in Sri Lanka – and we visit THREE of them in our Best of Sri Lanka adventure (click to check out the itinerary!). 

Visit a tea plantation in Sri Lanka with The Bucket List Company (among LOTS of other great Sri Lanka

adventures!)

Visiting a tea plantation in Sri Lanka is an AMAZING opportunity and such an insight into the culture and history of this b-e-a-utiful country – but it’s not the only thing you’ll be doing on the Best of Sri Lanka adventure with The Bucket List Company. 

The itinerary is jam-packed with ancient cities, insane temples, colourful markets, beautiful beaches, a river cruise and TWO safaris to boot, and it’s definitely not one to miss. 

Join like minded travel junkies and discover the incredible flavours of Sri Lanka, tea plantations included, on a Bucket List Co trip. With manageable monthly payment instalments available, all the organisation, accommodation and in-country guidance provided, you won’t find a better way to Sri Lanka. 

So if Sri Lanka’s on your Bucket List, best book a Bucket List Co adventure now and see all the very best this beautiful country has to offer! 

Click Here To Find Out More About The Best of Sri Lanka

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