Celebrating 150 years of Sri Lankan tea!
2017 marks the 150 year anniversary of the birth of iconic tea plantations on the island of Sri Lanka when James Taylor setup the first plantation in 1867. One and a half centuries later, the industry is still booming.
Interestingly, the tea plant had been brought to Sri Lanka earlier than this, first being grown in the Royal Botanical Gardens in as early as 1824. Over the coming years additional tea plant variations were brought to the Gardens, and then in 1867 James Taylor started the first commercial tea plantation in Loolecondera, Kandy.
Soon after more plantations began to appear close to Taylor’s original plantation as landowners began to switch to the more lucrative tea production. These became the first tea estates on the island.
Today, 150 years after James Taylor birthed the industry on the island; tea is one of Sri Lanka’s most important exports and supports more than one million jobs.
Visiting the Sri Lankan tea plantations
The tea plantations in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country are a magnet for tourists who enjoy learning about the colonial history of the plantations, set in some of the most beautiful scenery the island has to offer. Most of the tea estates provide guided tours where you can learn about the past and present and even pick and make your own tea! For some, simply sitting down and enjoying freshly brewed, authentic tea in one of the local tea shops is the perfect way to pass some time.
There are a lot of tea factories in the hill country from Kandy southwards, all the way through to the Ella area. Many are over 100yrs old, still operationally active and retain much of their 19th century machinery which visitors can see on a guided tour.
Tea plantation visits on our holidays
Tea is an important aspect of Sri Lanka’s past and present, so we include trips to the lush plantations in the heart of the Hill Country during many of our Sri Lankan holidays: