Noveltea in Sri Lanka: 3) Touring the tea factories

May 3, 2011

8 hour train journey through the heart of the tea plantations.Tea is wilted in massive hoppers before being sent downstairs to ferment

Tea is wilted in massive hoppers before being sent downstairs to ferment

Today we visited a number of tea factories outside Kandy. We saw how the tea is gathered (20 Rupees per kg, with a bonus if they get more than 20 kilos…) and carried in baskets to a collecting station where they are weighed. Then they are carried by tractor to the factory, where the leaves are wilted in massive hoppers for a few hours to reduce the water volume. Then they are funneled downstairs to be sifted and fermented, before they are dried, graded, sorted and packaged ready for auction in Colombo. Next comes the most important stage: tasting! We tried some of the 350 varieties of tea grown in Sri Lanka and discussed the various blends, including one made specially for the Royal Wedding. There is a tea garden outside overlooking the neat rows of tea bushes, but of course it was raining….

A typical 'English' tea garden... in the pouring rain

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