presented by LANKA CEYLON TEAS LTD .

Tea, of the variety called “Black Tea”, “Green Tea”, and “Oolong Tea”, is derived from the same young tender leaves and buds of the plant "Thea sinensis", a close kin to the plant Camellia. The preference for tea as a refreshing natural beverage dates back to 2737 B.C. when it is said that the Chinese Emperor, Shen Nung , discovered and brewed the world’s first cup of tea.

Tea is a zero calorie beverage , containing a natural source of vitamins and mineral nutrients that aids growth , digestion and a sense of well-being . It is the most consumed beverage in the world next to water.

More importantly , recent researched dietetic discovery suggests that tea is very rich in dietary antioxidant flavonoids than other fruits and vegetables . Antioxidant flavonoids protect the chemistry in human cells from harmful “free radicals” that damage cells, weakens the immune system and accelerates aging.

Researched discovery also suggests that because of the many naturally healthful attributes in Black Tea , those who drank more than four cups of tea a day had a 69 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a reduced risk of several types of cancer, including oral, digestive , lung and colo-rectal.

The tea plant grows at altitudes from near sea-level, to 6000 feet and above. The flavour, taste , and colour of the brewed beverage varies significantly with the altitude at which the plant is grown . Teas grown at lower altitudes brew a darker coloured beverage , whereas teas grown at higher altitudes - about 3000 feet and above - brew a bright, lighter coloured beverage with an abundance of flavour , delicious taste and rich quality. The higher the altitude of growth, the more pronounced are these finer qualities in tea.

Although tea is cultivated in many regions of the world and originates from the same plant species , six major factors interact naturally with one another in combination to influence the final quality of the tea:

1. Strain of the tea plant.
2. Soil composition
3. Extent of sunshine and air temperature
4. Extent of humidity in the air
5. Altitude at which it is grown and produced
6. Type of manufacture, processing and grading

As the above six factors vary in the many tea producing countries in the world , teas of differing brightness, flavour, colour and taste get produced. Because Sri Lanka (Ceylon) has a naturally well balanced and conducive combination of these major factors, it has, for over 125 years been acclaimed as the producer of the world”s finest teas.

Only the two tender leaves and bud of each of the several young shoots of the tea plant are necessary for the production of the best grades of tea. Each new growth of young shoots are hand-picked at intervals of 8 to 10 days throughout the year. However, during the process of picking by workers of varying skills and agility, some mature leaves and stems are unavoidably harvested. Consequently, several grades of tea are produced, with each grade reflecting the leaf quality harvested.

It takes as much as five pounds of the harvested leaf to produce one pound of “Black Tea”

The harvested leaves are spread thinly on perforated trays and remain for nine or more hours with fresh mountain air flowing over the leaves to reduce the excess leaf moisture. The withered leaves are then subjected to a circular motioned, weight pressured rolling process to cause the leaf cells to rupture for oxidation of its juice to commence and also to twist and break-up the leaves into smaller particles.

Controlled oxidation is essential to bring out the intrinsic brightness, colour, flavour and taste of the juice in the tender leaves and buds to their best potential, at which stage, the green leaves change in colour to that of a coppery tone. The leaf particles are then subjected to a short period of controlled heat to stop further oxidation, at which stage, the coppery coloured leaf particles turn black and hence referred to as “Black Tea”.

The “Black Tea” is then graded according to its originally harvested leaf quality and uniformity of size. The best grades produced are referred to and sold as “Primary Grades” and the others as “Off-Grades”.

The major “Primary Grades” are:

1. “Broken Orange Pekoe”
2. “Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings”

“Off-Grades” are many, such as: Fannings, Dust, Broken Pekoe, Broken Mixed, etc.

International tea merchants, blenders and packers recognizing the superior quality of Ceylon tea, frequently resort to using some Ceylon tea for blending in quality into teas of other origins.

However, the vigorous agitation during the blending process bruises the leaf particles of black tea and exposes them to air moisture which sets in process the further oxidation of the tea. This destroys much of the intrinsic flavour, taste and quality characteristics of the originally selected Ceylon tea, resulting in the noticeable disappointment in quality of the blended product when prepared and served.


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