Sri Lanka tea exporters bank on variety, health benefits

Aug 15, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tea exporters expect to earn about 1.8 billion dollars this year with the wide variety of teas offered and growing awareness of tea’s health benefits expected to keep the market strong. “Sri Lanka has the widest variety of grades and the widest variety of tastes,” said Perera.

“Kenya has only one type – CTC (crush tear and curl) – which is suitable only for tea bags. China has many varieties of tea but not in the quantities we offer,”

Perera said Sri Lanka has 34 different grades of tea.

“No other country has such a wide spread of grades. We can service any type of taste from one end of the world to the other. With our grades and elevations, we can supply any type of taste to any country.”

He said tea exporters themselves had created some of the grades.

“Our goal is to achieve 100 percent finished product exports – that’s the way to survive.”

The industry had invested a lot of money in the last 30 years in plant and machinery, developing products and in promotion.

Tea was now penetrating markets long dominated by coffee and brands like Starbucks.

“We also have companies here who have already ventured into tea shops, creating new lifestyle marke