Is the time ripe for Sri Lankan tea exporters to make a shift away from bulk tea to value added packed at the source tea, Specialty Teas, and Artisan Teas?
Specialty teas or artisan teas have been a well-kept secret in the Sri Lankan tea sector. Produced in small quantities and traded among select circles of tea connoisseurs, who have a taste for rare tea flavors, Ceylon Specialty Tea includes niche segments of local tea industry that produce white tea, fair trade organic tea, single estate loose leaf tea as well as flavored dessert teas.
A whopping 96% of Pure Ceylon Tea production volumes leave Sri Lanka to serve eager global buyers while only 4% of it is brewed locally –and the Lankan tea sector is now called to lead the value addition way on 10 July. “Pure Ceylon Tea exports grew by 5.4% in 2014. Only 50% of tea export revenues came from value added while other 50% is from raw tea exports” revealed Bandula Egodage (Chairman & CEO-EDB) on 10 July.
The combination of Sri Lanka's two export super brands, Pure Ceylon Tea and Pure Ceylon Cinnamon, concocts a tasty flavoured tea with a number of added health benefits
While Ceylon Tea is a rich source of anti-oxidants, Ceylon Cinnamon is a list topper for the highest density of anti-oxidants per 100g, recording an Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) of 267,536 TE per 100g.
Battling the bulge and have exhausted all the tricks in the book? It is time to sip up and slim down with Ceylon green tea.
Although numerous health benefits of green tea has been a well-known secret among global tea enthusiasts, green tea's ability to burn the fat cells in the body has come to be established through scientific research only recently.
Ceylon Green tea has proven to be more than just a refreshing drink, but does it hold all the health benefits as claimed?
Although most of Ceylon tea products, in the global market, originate from large scale tea plantations, a growing number of tea small holders are seeking to carve their own niche in producing the world's best fair-trade organic tea.
The best of Ceylon Tea, hand-picked and processed with extreme care is designed to deliver the most exclusive tea experiences across the world.
The finest of the tea flavours and their blends were a well- kept secret in the Chinese Royal court and their betrayal was so big a crime, that it was punished with death and torture. However, most of these tea blends are being manufactured in Sri Lanka today, with greater flavour and aroma, compared to their predecessors.
Ceylon Tea and Tourism are among Sri Lanka's top five foreign income earners and their combination is tipped to create a unique experience as refreshing as a cup of Ceylon Tea. Thus, Ceylon Tea & Tourism make perfect partners to tango.
With a rich heritage and a cultural mix distinctive to Sri Lankan tea production and a breath taking view at every turn, Ceylon tea gardens are a great tourist destination yet to be harnessed to their fullest.
True to the observations made by one of world's best thriller writers, the rise of Ceylon Tea Industry in Sri Lanka and the lush Ceylon Tea plantations stands witness to the indomitable courage shown by a group of pioneering tea planters, who chose to grow tea, when life threw lemon at them.
As the world seeks to blend and modify older version of food and beverages to suit millennials' palates, Sri Lankan tea exporters are experimenting with traditional flavours of Ceylon tea, combining various tea types with flavours of fruits, spices and flowers to suit emerging tea markets around the world.
A long term research into improving the environment sustainability of the Sri Lankan tea industry bore fruits, when Sri Lankan tea planters were awarded the 'Ozone Friendly' status as a world first, for discontinuing the use of Methyl Bromide as a pesticide in local tea plantations.
Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world next to water and as per today, global consumption of tea amounts to trillion cups a year. While most of these cups amounts to black tea, the rising star of the global tea scene is green tea, with nearly 15% of the global market share.
The past three years from 2012-2014 saw a renaissance in Ceylon Tea with the year 2013 breaking all records and the 2014 figures just released surpassing even that of 2013, recording the highest ever export earnings of $ 1.61 billion (Rs. 210.2 billion) which is a 5.43 % growth over 2013 and a FOB price of US$ 4.95 per kg, which is a 3.1 % growth over 2013 which were all records for the 147 year old history of the Sri Lankan tea industry.
Sri Lankan tea (known for generations as Ceylon Tea) carries behind it a heritage and success story like no other. The story of Ceylon tea begins over two hundred years ago, when the country was still a British colony. In 1824 a tea plant was brought to Ceylon by the British from China and was planted in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya for non-commercial purposes. Further experimental planting of tea had begun in 1839 with tea plants brought from Assam and Calcutta through the East India Company.
Commercial cultivation of tea commenced in Sri Lanka by the Scotsman, James Taylor. He arrived Sri Lanka in 1852 and settled down in Loolecondera estate in Kandy. Taylor visited India in 1866 to learn the basics of growing tea on plantations. Following his return, he started a 19 acre tea plantation in Loolecondera estate in 1867. Soon enough plantations surrounding Loolecondera such as Hope, Rookwood and Mooloya began transforming into tea plantations and were amongst the first tea estates established on the island. Taylor started a fully equipped tea factory in Loolecondera estate in 1872. In 1875 Taylor managed to send the first shipment of Ceylon tea to London tea auction.
The delicious aroma that emanates as a few spoonfuls of Ceylon tea hit the simmering water in the white jug patterned with tea-buds every morning is refreshing forever. A sip of the steaming cup feels great on the tongue tickling the taste-buds. A great aroma with a fabulous taste, Ceylon Tea is beyond compare. Whether it’s in the morning or in the evening, a hot cup of tea is always a delectable drink.
But, as the Book of Tea, Kakuzo Okakura’s 1906 philosophical treatise on tea says, tea had been a medicine long before it became a beverage. The potent natural antioxidants that abound in green & black tea can protect regular tea drinkers from a number of degenerative diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer and diabetes.
Continual consumption of correctly brewed Ceylon Tea is known to decrease the oxidation of fat. Catechins in green tea, theaflavins and thearubigins in black tea can inhibit lipid oxidation and plaque formation (which can cause heart disease), whilst cutting cholesterol. Regular consumption of tea is also known to reduce blood clotting. Blood clotting heightens the risk of coronary thrombosis.
Sri Lanka's total quantity of tea exported including re-exports with imported tea for July reached to 29.88 million /kg, indicating a gain of 3.34 million/kg compared to the corresponding period in 2012.
The cumulative tea export earnings rose to Rs 17.76 billion, showing a slight gain of Rs 2.77 billion as against the same period last year with the increase in FOB (Free on Board) price per kg from Rs 564.92 to Rs.594.50, according to a tea market report.
Cumulative exports including re-exports with imported Tea for the period January to July 2013 recorded 174.25 million /kg, a decline of 7.82 million /kg in comparison to same period last year.