Tea production is one of the main sources of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka (formerly called Ceylon). Sri Lanka is the world's fourth largest producer of tea. In 1995, it was the world's leading exporter of tea, (rather than producer) with 23% of the total world export, but it has since been surpassed by Kenya.

The humidity, cool temperatures, and rainfall in the country's central highlands provide a climate that favors the production of high quality tea.

Branding and grading
Sign of Quality for Pure Ceylon Tea

Ceylon tea is divided into three groups: High or Upcountry (Udarata), Mid country (Medarata), and Low country (Pahatha rata) tea, based on the geography of the land on which it is grown.

Tea produced in Sri Lanka carries the "Lion Logo" on its packages, which indicates that the tea was produced in Sri Lanka. The use of the Lion Logo is closely monitored by the Sri Lanka Tea Board,which is the governing body of the tea industry in Sri Lanka. If a tea producer demands to use the Lion Logo on his packaging, they need to gain permission from the Sri Lanka Tea Board. The tea board then performs a strict inspection procedure, the passing of which allows the producer to use the logo, along with the "Pure Ceylon Tea – Packed in Sri Lanka" slogan on their tea packaging. Each and every consignment is thoroughly inspected by Sri Lanka Tea board officers before being shipped. Therefore the Lion Logo and the wording is indeed the assurance of the origin of the tea and of its quality.

Most of the Sri Lankan tea exporters now focus on adding more value to the exports rather than exporting raw tea. The name "Ceylon Tea" or "Sri Lankan tea" is still regarded as a sign of quality throughout the world.


Grading names which are used in Sri Lanka to classify its teas are not by any means the indication of its quality but indicate its size and appearance. Mainly there are two categories. They are "Leaf grades" and "Smaller broken grades". Leaf grades refers to the size and appearance of the teas that were produced duri ng Sri Lanka's colonial era (which are still being used) and the other refers to the modern tea style and appearance.


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