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Archives for posts tagged ‘sri lanka’

Learn Why Bigelow Uses Tea From Sri Lanka


bigelow tea sri lankaHigh in the mountains of Sri Lanka grow acres of gorgeous tea plants renowned for yielding a light, bright brew prized as “the champagne of teas.” Bigelow Tea founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow fell in love with tea from the region and initiated a partnership that has endured for 67 years! Third-generation President and CEO Cindi Bigelow was thrilled to visit this tiny island country in South Asia to meet the folks who expertly hand-pick tea leaves used in Bigelow’s black teas.

For a rare peek inside the tea gardens of Sri Lanka, check out Cindi’s Sri Lanka journal and videos. And here are a few more interesting facts highlighting why Bigelow Tea embraces Sri Lankan tea producers as part of its extended global family:

  • The British planted the first camellia sinensis (tea) plant in Sri Lanka in the 1800s following a blight that had wiped out the coffee crop, sparking new traditions built around tea farming.
  • Today, tea cultivation is a $1.5 billion industry in Sri Lanka employing more than 1 million people who produce the world’s most expensive tea.
  • Before 1972, while under British colonization, the island was known as “Ceylon.” Hence tea from Sri Lanka is still called Ceylon tea.
  • Every tea estate in Sri Lanka with which Bigelow Tea does business is part of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which promotes fair treatment of workers and sustainable farming practices.
  • With high elevations that can exceed 6,000 feet, Sri Lankan tea gardens boast extremely favorable soil and weather conditions for growing delicate tea plants.
  • Each Sri Lankan estate prides itself on producing signature teas—much the same way vintners age wines for different tastes.

Enjoy the delicious results in your mug of Bigelow black tea! @Daniela441 tweeted his love for English Teatime. What’s your favorite Bigelow black tea blend?

Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka Journal: Heading up the Mountain

Since we didn’t go to bed till 1am after dinner with the ambassador, morning came kind of early when the alarm went off a little after 5am.  We were ready to start up for the mountains at 6am. Prassana, with whom we had spent our first full day in Sri Lanka, was there with a welcoming smile. Behind the wheel was a lovely man named Ishanka. In the car we went, first heading out of Colombo and then slowly climbing up. Traffic was nuts. Of the 20 million people who live on the island, 2 million live in the city.

I knew we’d be passing by Pinnawala, the renowned elephant orphanage, on our way up. We just had to stop there!  So after about three hours out of Colombo we came to our first destination…the orphanage for elephants. It was so wonderful. This place was nursing back to health or just raising elephants of all sizes and ages that had been wounded or orphaned.  The first thing I got to do was feed a bottle to a four year old elephant. It was amazing. The elephant actually wrapped his trunk around me and the bottle. After that we walked around and saw two babies at 4 and 7 months of age. They were so sweet and never left each other’s side.

Then we headed toward the lake where they were all going to spend two hours being scrubbed and just having fun in the water. On the way there, they asked if I wanted to ride one. Me??  Sure!!!  So next thing I know I am on a 50 year old female named Guiena (or something like that).  Me!  On an elephant!! Are you kidding me? It was a most enjoyable ride. She was so gentle. But it was pretty crazy to be so high up on her back!  After that outrageous experience, smiling ear to ear, we started back up the mountain. We had two plantations to visit in the same day.

Slightly smaller than its African cousin, the endangered Asiatic Elephant grows to between 6.6 to 9.8 ft and can weigh 2.25 to 5.5 tons.  It can be identified by its smaller, more rounded ears.  They are fascinating animals.  I encourage you to find out more about them.

Cindi Bigelow


Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka: Tea Auction

Previously, we shared that Cindi Bigelow was heading to Sri Lanka to explore tea fields and tea auctions.  Cindi previously shared her first full day and below she shares the experience of a tea auction.  Enjoy!

Niraj de Mel and Cindi Bigelow outside the Tea Auction (no photos allowed once inside)

A real Colombo Sri Lanka tea auction…it was everything I had heard of and more! Three rooms filled with tea exporters all bidding on specific type teas. Rooms were dedicated to either low-grown teas of certain grades (leaf sizes like the famous orange pekoe, or OP as it is called in the trade), or medium-to-high elevation grown teas and the original type teas of Ceylon (or Sri Lanka as it has been called since 1971), the type Bigelow buys.

Rooms filled with so many buyers who have such trained palates and discerning eyes that they can look at the leaf and tell you where on the mountains it was grown!  With one sip they can tell you the plantation it was grown on and if it was processed properly. They can even taste if the harvesters have done a good job plucking the proper “two tender leaves and a bud,” not mature leaves that are not nearly as pleasant to consume.

Our stay during the morning was certainly noticed. There was not one trader who wasn’t checking out who these new comers were!  It was so fun.

Cindi Bigelow