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What is Ceylon Tea?

You might have come across a variety of teas that are described as being “Ceylon” varieties, but what does this refer to?

Ceylon is the former name of modern-day Sri Lanka, used during the 150-year British rule until 1948. The extent of the tea-trade from Ceylon during this period meant that a wide range of wonderful tea varieties were produced and exported, including the popular Orange Pekoe variety, which may have been popularised by 19th-century British tea magnate, Sir Thomas Lipton.

Sri Lanka remains a major exporter of teas to this today, exporting over 90% of the tea it grows to countries worldwide, with a large amount going to the Middle East and Europe.

The Pekoe Grading System

The popular Ceylon Orange Pekoe tea is graded by a system that is applied by the Western tea trade and used to specify the size categories of several black teas.

Using this system, tea drinkers and importers can be sure that the loose-leaf tea purchased is of high quality. Whole Orange Pekoe (OP) tea leaves are lighter and more delicate than their broken counterparts (broken Orange Pekoe, or BOP), and it is this wholeness that contributes to the much-loved complex flavours and delicate aromas of the tea.

You can read more on the pekoe tea grading system with our helpful guide

Our Ceylon Tea Picks

Ceylon Orange Pekoe Tea - From £9.99
Offering up complex flavours, a subtle sweetness and a lovely crisp bitterness, Ceylon Orange Pekoe is well-balanced and can be enjoyed all through the day. Made from golden-tipped Pekoe leaves, this is best served as a black tea, but can also be enjoyed with a drop of milk.
The Orange Pekoe category of tea grade is one of the highest back tea grades available, gaining its renowned status from the characteristic wholeness of the leaves, which are obtained during the first flushes (pickings) of the season.

Ceylon BOP Tea – From £9.99
A full-bodied Broken Orange Pekoe tea, offering up delicious, slightly sweet flavours and a rich, deep colour, and made from carefully selected medium-sized leaves.
Ceylon BOP tea is produced at high elevations and grown in rich, fertile soil that is exposed to ideal levels of sunlight and rainfall. The tea leaves are hand-plucked and then processed using traditional methods of withering, rolling, and fermenting.

Ceylon Dimbula BOP Tea – From £9.99
Sourced from the historical Dimbula planting region, one of the six principal tea planting regions in Sri Lanka, Ceylon Dimbula BOP reveals bold and fresh flavours, with a smooth taste that is enhanced beautifully when prepared with milk.
Dimbula, one of the main tea-growing regions in Sri Lanka, is located in the central hills of Sri Lanka at an altitude of around 1,200 to 2,000 meters above sea level, where cool temperatures and a high altitude provide ideal growing conditions.

Ceylon Kandy BOP Tea – From £9.99
Produced in the Kandy region of Sri Lanka, at a medium elevation of 4,000 foot, Ceylon Kandy BOP obtains its unique flavours from the range of altitudes and the plantation's varied exposure to the Monsoon. Bright, strong and full-bodied, with a slightly coppery tone, Ceylon Kandy BOP is perfect when brewed for around five minutes.

Silver Tip Ceylon Tea – From £17.99
The neat, black leaves of Silver Tip Ceylon Tea feature a gold spine and produce a deep red liquor when steeped. A smooth, malty flavour typical of many Sri Lankan teas is accented with tangy notes of fruits and molasses. Best brewed at a temperature of 90 degrees and left to infuse for 3-4 minutes.
A defining feature of Silver Tip Ceylon Tea is its silvery appearance, caused by the presence of delicate, white tips on the tea leaves. Light and refreshing, with a delicate floral aroma and a crisp, clean taste, this tea can be enjoyed all through the day.