Sri Lanka promotes specialty teas in Japan

May 18, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is promoting the manufacture of specialty teas by its industry, with a competition in Japan giving recognition to producers and earning top prices, officials said. Anil Cooke, chairman of the Colombo Tea Brokers’ Association, said Sri Lanka has seven distinct growing regions and 36 valleys and growing districts.

The island has over 500 factories making 30 different grades of tea.

De Alwis said the competition received 400 entries of which 40 short-listed were sent to Japan for evaluation.

The 380 kilos sent yielded 3.55 million yen in proceeds at a subsequent auction of 4.6 million rupees, an average of 15,105 rupees a kilo, with the money used for charitable projects like the welfare of tea plucker families. They said they want to encourage estates to make specialty teas which are sought after by discerning buyers and fetch higher prices than regular blends sold by food multinationals.

The industry wants to make use of the variety of teas available from different agro-climatic regions of the island which enable producers to offer different tastes and flavours.

The recent competition done with the support of the Japan Tea Association was ke