The Ceylon Tea

Ceylon tea is famous the world over.It is the most important of our cash crops, the other two being Rubber and Coconut.
Tea cultivation was started by Europeans towards the latter part of the nineteenth century when the coffee plantations were
 ruined by the coffee pest.Ever since these planters changed over to tea, it has grown in importance.Today it is our greatest
industry and makes up sixty per cent of our exports, bringing to the country, in 1953,an income of Rs,825,090,178.A dangerous
 pest appeared on a number of Tea estates in 1946 and caused great anxiety among the planters, but they were able to bring it
under control.
                                                                Most of our tea is grown at a height of over two thousand feet and the best Ceylon tea
comes from the slopes of our central hills round about Nuwara Eliya, where the cold nights and the strong winds make for the slow
 growth of the tea bush and the excellent flavour of the leaf.Tea is also cultivated in the low-country,but such tea has not the same
 flavour as “high grown” Tea a cup of tea with good flavour is a delightful drink, but in most of our homes we have not this pleasure
for many reasons, and this is indeed a  pity.
                                                                     Have you ever been to an up-country tea estate?if not, you should visit one, and learn
 something of the industry that brings the greatest income to your country.In long,unending rows, spaced at regular intervals,you will
see the tea bushes like a huge army of fat green dwarts. They are kept at a convenient height of about three feet by regular pruning
which also enables tender shoots to appear. Every morning at six o’ clock labourers attend the “muster’’and go out in the cold mist
 to pluck the tea leaves. They pluck only two tender leaves and a bud from each shoot and put them into large baskets which they
carry slung behind their backs. A conductor or a “kangany” supervises their work. When the plucking is over, they take the green
 leaves to the factory, a huge storeyed building, where the tea maker and his staff turn this green tea into the black tea which we use.
A hundred punds of green tea leaves give us 20 to 25 pounds of manufactured tea.
    Let us how tea is made. The green leaves are frist spread evenly on long racks or “lofts” and left to dry. This slight drying is called
“withering”. Next they are “rolled” by a special machine. The leaves now change colour and give out their familiar smell. They are
then left in a room to ferment. This makes them change colour further and gives them  their flavour. They have to pass through one
 more process before they are ready for export, and that is “firing”. The leaves pass through hot air machines which take away all
their moisture. They now turn fully black. They are then sifted into different grades according to the size of the leaf. The finest grade
 is called F.B.O.P{Flowery broken orange pekoe}.The finished tea is finally packed in chests and sent to Colombo for shipment.
 Ceylon’s chief customer is the United Kingdom.

Our URL : http://www.oasisdamahana.org

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