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Tea Information

TEA HISTORY - A brief account.....


The legendary origins of tea has been traced back to China around 2727 BC during the reign of Emperor Shen Nung who was interested in medicine and hygiene. The story goes that the emperor was resting under the shade of a wild tea tree, boiling some drinking water. A breeze blew a few leaves from the tree into the pot. The Emperor realized that the leaves gave the water a flavor that he found delicious. Experimenting further he found that it contained medicinal properties. Realizing the value of this plant he urged his people to cultivate the plant for the benefit of the entire nation. 

It took over 3000 years for tea to become a popular drink throughout China. In the early days of consumption the leaves were picked and boiled in water, to produce a rather bitter brew. The leaves were used as a medicine and also as a pleasurable drink. The popularity of tea was recognized by the imposition of a tax during the Teng Dynasty (600-900 AD). The steamed and dried loose tea-leaves became popular during the Ming Dynasty (1368 -1644). Unfortunately the Chinese merchants realized that this method of green tea did not last long to be sold outside of China. They experimented with the leaves left in the air and then roasting it. This helped them to manufacture black tea, which they could store for longer periods till it reached the markets. The Chinese refer to black tea as red tea.

Coffee was, discovered by the Europeans and already existed. The Dutch were the first mass marketers of tea in Europe, shipping it in around 1610. The Dutch had trade links with Fujian province where they used the word 'te' or 'tay', which they passed on to the European countries. Hence the word 'tay' used in most European countries for the beverage "tea", but the British changed to 'tee' for no apparent reason in the eighteenth century. Tea was introduced to Britain in 1650. In 1657, Thomas Garway, an English proprietor, was enthusiastic about the medicinal properties of tea as its earliest Chinese devotees. He had the idea of offering tea to the public. It quickly became the popular choice, far outpacing wines and liquor. Britain soon imposed a tax on tea.


A Brief History of Tea in Ceylon, presently called Sri Lanka.

Under the pioneer James Taylor 20 acres of tea was planted in Sri Lanka former Ceylon.

In 1872 Sri Lanka (Ceylon) sold its first tea to the European market. It reached such popularity that "Ceylon Tea" became so associated with the country itself and became world famous. Tea is the primary export of Sri Lanka and is the countries largest employer. The Nationalization of the tea industry from 1972 to 1975 was a strong blow to the 'Ceylon Tea' industry. The government managed tea plantations could not maintain the exclusive standards and the discipline maintained by the private sector. The Government returned the estates to the private sector in around 1977.

  • Tea plants, were first grown in the United States by French Botanist Andre Michaux in 1790.
  • In 1890 Dr. Charles U. Shephard planted a tea garden & built a tea factory at Somerville South Carolina, U.S.A.
  • The attempt to grow tea in Australia was first made in 1860.
  • An acre of tea was planted in Jamaica in 1868.
  • Fiji grew tea in 1880.

The "Tea Factory Hotel" an old Tea Factory converted into a beautiful hotel. Situated in 2000 meter elevation, exclusive food and atmosphere! 3 Star Hotel with 60 rooms including 3 suites and 6 luxury rooms.

The Tea Factory Hotel,
Aitken Spence Hotel Management (Pvt) Ltd.
315, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2, Sri Lanka.