I am sure many tea lovers out there are not aware that one of the most famous tea producing regions in the world, Sri Lanka, has a group of small farmers now producing some of the most unique and amazing, handmade, artisan teas available globally today.
What started as a small group of small-scale entrepreneurs working with family and friends who were passionate about bringing change to the perception of Sri Lankan tea has now grown into a burgeoning tea industry.
Farmers in Sri Lanka come together
A small gathering in late 2019 led to the coming together of eight small producers to create the Ceylon Artisanal Tea Association in 2020. The association is registered with the Sri Lankan Tea Board. The group is gaining interest from other small farmers with more than ten registering their interest.
The aim of the Ceylon Artisan Tea Association is to support the sale and promote the production of these artisanal teas. It is also to showcase the varieties available and thereby position Ceylon Tea in a new context, help increase the incomes of the small farmers and their workers.
The artisanal teas are unique to each region of Sri Lanka so brings together members from different regions. Elevations and terroirs.
Most of the tea estates producing these artisanal teas are surrounded by the beautiful natural resources of Sri Lanka.
Also unique is the teas are coming from tea trees that grow in the wild. Some over thirty feet in height to 100-year-old tea bushes.
The type of production methods used are traditional including hand rolling on woven, wicker trays and pounding tea on stone and wooden mortars.
Even though the terroirs are different the objective of these small-scale farmers is the same, they are focused on the following:
- Collaboration and open sharing
- Social impact is at the centre of everything they do.
- Members share tasting notes to help improve each other’s teas.
- Members jointly host monthly webinars sharing ideas and new product development.
- They work in harmony with nature and protect the environment.
- They improve and regenerate the land that has previously been degenerated.
All estates work with communities sharing revenue and investing in health and education of their families.
The members produce some beautiful and unique hand-made teas including hand-crafted black teas, pan fired and steamed green teas, white teas and silver tips and forest harvested wild teas.
I hope you can share and experience the love, care and passion that has gone into creating these unique teas from a market that is famous around the world for its normally traditional style black teas.
As tea lovers we must celebrate this commitment to change and support the great work being done by this small group of passionate farmers.