Dimbula teas are characterized as ‘high-grown’; the regional definition specifies an elevation of between over 1,250m (4,000ft.). The teas of Dimbula, like all high-grown teas, are slow-growing and small-leaved. Dimbula planters, however, focus on flavour rather than leaf style in the manufacture of their products. The complex topography of the region produces a variety of beneficent microclimates, which show up as differences in flavour. All, however, share the Dimbula character: a tea that produces a fine golden-orange hue in the cup, with a distinctive freshness to the flavour that leaves a clean feeling in the mouth after the tea is drunk. The higher the elevation at which it was picked, the greater will be the brightness and freshness of the liquor in the cup.
Intense and rich
Kandy is a promising district in the Central Province of Sri Lanka with its capital nestled in a rather low-lying valley. The estates are spread around the surrounding hills, namely Nilambe, Hantane, Pussellawa, Gampola and Hewaheta. The mountains are not as high-up as those in the southern part of the central province, therefore the tea in the Kandy region is branded as ‘mid-grown’ tea. The altitude for cultivation ranges between 650m and 1,300m which is approximately 2,000-4,000ft.
The town, from which the district takes its name, sits hovering on a plateau at 1,868 m (6,128 ft) above sea level, beneath the outline of Sri Lanka’s tallest mountain ‘Pidurutalagala’. Nuwara Eliya is blessed with two seasons of great quality, the eastern and the western. The sense of balance between the two climatic systems varies from estate to estate. One can experience a complete change of weather within a short drive from one location to another. The tea produced in Nuwara Eliya has a rare and refined quality, which easily sets it apart from the lower-grown varieties of tea. The High altitude and constant low temperatures produce a very slow-growing bush with unusually small leaves that takes on an orange hue against the blackness. After withering the infused leaf takes on a greenish-yellow tone, and the infusion when brewed is the palest among all the regional varieties of Ceylon Tea. It gives out a subtle golden yet delicately fragrant bouquet.
The Tea produced in the Ruhuna District is defined as ‘low-grown’ or low country tea. The tea estates of the region lay at altitudes of 600m (2,000ft) amid sea levels. Although the key tea cultivating areas are relatively near the coast, the predominant weather patterns prevent the crop from receiving the full force of the southwest monsoon winds and rain. Before ‘tea’ was introduced, this zone of moderate climate, watered by several small rivers, was devoted to the cultivation of spices. The soil of the region combined with the low elevation of the estates, causes the tea-bush to grow rapidly, producing a long, beautiful leaf that turns intensely black on withering and is particularly suited for ‘rolling.
Lodged between the Kandy and Uva districts on the eastern slopes of the hill country, Uda Pussellawa tea is occasionally compared in character with that of Nuwara Eliya. It appears somewhat darker when brewed, with a pinkish hue and gives out a flavor of great strength. The eastern season which begins in June and ends in September produces the best teas of the year, very closely followed by the western season during the first quarter. The dry and cold weather conditions during the latter period of the year adds a hint of a distinguished flavor to a tea which is otherwise identified as a tea of medium body and subtle character. During the periods of heavy rainfall, the tea which is produced is of a much darker shade when brewed and is exceptionally strong in flavor.
The tea grown in the Uva region has a very distinct flavor and is mainly used in blends. The tea is grown at an elevation of 3,000 to 5,000 ft above sea level. The tea which is produced in this region comes from the estates of Bandarawela, Badulla and Haputale. Experts say that the unique character of the tea is mainly due to the climate in the region. The region is exposed to winds from two monsoons, the northeast and southwest.The weather in the region is relatively dry, predominantly during the ‘quality season’. The Estates in the Uva region produce a substantial amount of green tea through theAssamesestock. These teas are produced mainly in the region of Idalgashinna.