Sri Lanka sexes up image for tea

KANDANA, Sri Lanka,(AFP) – A hot cup of Ceylon tea is better known as being soothing and relaxing, but Sri Lanka is now marketing its most profitable export as a luxury boost for the libido. The tea industry is increasingly plugging Ceylon’s supposed aphrodisiac qualities in a bid to radically change perceptions of the brew, which manufacturers say can sell for less than water in some markets.

“We are highlighting the properties of tea that can give you an edge in the bedroom,” said Rohan Fernando, whose firm HVA Foods sells a small 60-gram jar of premium Ceylon for $350.

“Tea has traditionally been the poor man’s drink. We want to be at the top-end of the supply chain,” he said.

The industry may not yet have hard medical proof of Ceylon’s performance-enhancing powers, but they have long been the stuff of legend among Sri Lankan tea lovers.

The brews known for their potency are the top-quality white teas, known as Silver Tips and Golden Tips, which are gaining popularity among well-heeled Chinese businessmen along with rich Saudis and Japanese, Fernando said.

Unlike orthodox teas, the white varieties are made with just the tender tea buds, which are sun-dried and car