What is Ceylon Tea?

Chinese legend states that the history of tea began in 2732 B.C.E when tea was accidentally discovered by Emperor Shen Nong. A leaf, hanging from a wild tea tree, drifted into the pot of water the emperor was boiling in the garden. It is said that the Emperor enjoyed drinking the infused water so much, he was forced to research the plant further. However, it was Ceylon tea that made tea truly famous in the 19th and 20th centuries as it was used by almost every major tea brand in the world!

For centuries, Ceylon tea has been known as the finest tea around the world. But what exactly is Ceylon tea, and where does it come from? Ceylon tea comes from the island nation of Sri Lanka, which was formerly known as Ceylon while it was under British rule. Tea was first introduced to Sri Lanka by James Taylor in 1867, and the rest, as they say, is history! Ceylon tea consists primarily of black tea, although green tea and other types of tea are also grown.

Although Sri Lanka is a comparatively small country, it has a wide range in elevation, which results in the flavours of tea being produced varying greatly depending on the part of the country they originate from. The main differences in flavour are a result of the climate, soil, sun, precipitation, and plant varietals. Although there are regional nuances, Ceylon tea is classically known for bold, full and brisk flavour. A majority of Ceylon tea is processed by hand, which makes it a brisk and bright tea. The region also gives Ceylon tea hints of spices, citrus and chocolate in its flavour. There are 5 main areas the Ceylon tea is grown in the country.

There are three main types of teas that originate from Sri Lanka.


  • The first, and most popular is the black Ceylon tea, and also the most complicated. The complication arises from the fact, that the stem and leaves of the tea plant are used when making black tea. Authentic black Ceylon tea is made using aged stems and fermented leaves.


  • The second type, Ceylon green tea avoids the fermentation process. This ensures the tea leaf remains green and gives the brewed cup of tea a  yellowish-green colour. The tea leaves are either pan-fried or steamed right after the rolling process to stop further fermentation.


  • Thirdly, and finally, we have Ceylon White tea also known as ‘Silver Tips’. Only the ‘bud’ is handpicked and sun-dried. A special clone of the Camelia Sinensis plant is used to pluck these silver tips which are longer and bolder than usual buds. Silver tips are known to carry the most amount of health benefits as it is the least processed tea.


At Basilur we pride ourselves on bringing you the highest quality Ceylon tea. This is why we ensure that we always chose the best tea leaves, that will give you the best flavour for all our products. If you would like more information on Ceylon tea, feel free to have a chat with us via the official Basilur social media pages. We love talking tea!

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