In case you didn’t know, Sri Lanka exports a lot of tea. Like, a lot a lot – 340 million kilograms in 2012, to be exact. From Lipton leaves to micro-brews, Sri Lanka produces some of the world’s finest tea. Beyond being responsible for 2.5% of the country’s $60 billion AUD GDP, tourism surrounding tea and tea plantations is taking off. The experience is a good option for tourists and if you’re in the area, be sure to check out Cover-More’s top spots for an amazing cup of tea.
If tea education is your goal, you will appreciate the wine-style sip-and-spit tea tasting seminars. These tea educators are not messing around – the company website states “Tea is Nature’s Gift to Mankind”. The headquarters also offers tea trails located 1,829 metres above sea level. Their headquarters is located just outside Colombo and by the end of the tasting session you’ll be on your way to knowing the difference between low-grown teas and the high-grown harvest leaves. Full tea tastings run around $85 AUD per person and often include lunch.
If you are looking for a luxury tea tasting experience, look no further than the colonial era tea planter bungalows of Ceylon Tea Trails. Built between 1888 and 1950, these bungalows offer butler service, gourmet meals, period furnishings, and, of course, lots of tea. This tea resort is located approximately 1,300 metres above sea level among Bogawantalawa Valley, which is renowned for its fertile tea fields. Andrew Taylor, a descendent of Sri Lanka’s tea pioneer will personally lead guests through the surround tea estates.
The tea trails are located 140 kilometres from Colombo (~5 hours by car). Prices are steep for this luxurious tea tasting experience, starting near $1,885 AUD for a three-night excursion.
See five plantations on one estate at Handunugoda. This 200-acre property grows tea, cinnamon, pepper, coconut and rubber. Between 8 am and 6 pm the plantations are open to the public and free to enter – and all visitors receive a complimentary cup of tea and cakes at the plantation bungalow! Malinga Herman Gunaratne, the resident planter at Handunugoda, escorts his guests through the working tea estate where you can see rare white tea leaves as they grow.
Look at the modern tasting salon to purchase an array of famous specialty teas, or hop over to the rubber factory and museum for a day full of exploration and tea discovery. Handunugoda also has one of the only private tea museums in the world, which aims to tell the “human story of tea”.
Branded as Sri Lanka’s first designer tea brand – “The Finest Ceylon Tea Experience … Uncompromised” – Teaeli is fast becoming one of Colombo’s most popular tourist destinations. The founder of this recently-launched business is dedicated to introducing the unique, rare and downright unusual range of teas that are available. For example, you can try an Almond Truffle tea with real bits of white chocolate.
If you are looking to take a piece of Sri Lanka home with you, stop by the shop and pick up a tin of top-quality tea at affordable prices. Tins of tea start around $6 AUD.
Sipping tea in the Sri Lankan highlands is as relaxing a vacation as you can get – but a lackluster travel insurance policy can ruin the experience. Explore your international insurance options now and get cover for your Sri Lankan getaway with Cover-More Travel Insurance.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Malcom Browne.