Tea has been an iconic part of Sri Lanka’s landscape and culture since the mid-19th century, when Scotsman James Taylor started the first tea plantation in the island and began an industry which would change the face of the hill country forever. Sri Lanka’s tea-covered hills are spectacular to behold, but if you don’t have time to visit that region and are interested in exploring the historic Ceylon tea industry, a visit to this south coast tea factory is must.
Ceylon tea can be loosely separated into two types – up country and low country. Low country tea, grown along the small foothills close to Galle, is stronger in colour and taste. Discover more about the types of Sri Lankan tea, its history and how it is grown in this region during an insightful guided walk of the plantation. As you wander, look out for plants such as lemongrass and the versatile jack fruit and brightly-coloured peacocks moving through the undergrowth – if you go in the morning you will also be able to see sari-clad tea pluckers moving methodically through the rows of plants, expertly selecting the right leaves. Afterwards, visit the modern factory to see how the tea is manufactured and transformed.
This activity is best done in the morning, when you can observe the tea-pluckers and the manufacture of the leaves at the factory.