In the highlands of the ‘teardrop island’, Helen Anderson follows a perfect brew on its journey from field to fine china cup.
There’s a gentle knock on my door and Janaka the butler delivers bed tea: a wooden tray lined with a white paper doily and carrying a fine white china cup and saucer, a six-cup pot of BOP No. 14 (broken orange pekoe), perfectly brewed and strained, jugs of hot and cold milk, and a bowl of large-grain white sugar.
By the time I’ve sipped two cups in my pyjamas, the tea pluckers have started work on the terraces surrounding Tientsin, the 1888 tea-planter’s bungalow in which I’ve woken in a four-poster bed. In a job that requires dexterity and stamina, the pluckers – all women wrapped in saris -fill sacks with leafy tips, each of which must be precisely two leaves and a bud.
Every day begins this way at Ceylon Tea Trails in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Owned by the Dilmah tea company, the venture comprises four historic bungalows on working tea estates linked by walking trails and each staffed by a team of butlers and chefs. This is one of the finest of a clutch of high-end boutique travelling experiences in the “teardrop island”, combining the nation’s two most important revenue sources: tea and tourism. Read more: Taste test at high tea – The Age Melbourne Oct 12