Black tea is the most common kind of tea. Ceylon black tea is considered the cleanest tea in the world, free of harmful pesticides or additives. To make black tea, the leaves are hand plucked by the masterful female tea pluckers. They pick only two leaves and a bud in large quantities, which are then withered, rolled and fermented, then dried and sifted. After the sifting, the leaves are separated into different grades. The largest wiry leaves are called Orange Pekoe, followed by lots of different grades, until dust grade. Every grade has a different color and intensity.
White tea is the most unique tea in Sri Lanka. It is also the most expensive, due to how it is harvested. For white tea, only the buds are plucked, and very delicately at dawn. The buds are not fermented at all and are hand rolled individually.
White tea is the only tea that is totally handmade. The color of white tea is subtle and light. There is less caffeine and more antioxidants than in green or black tea, making white tea one of the most healthy. White tea is also called “Silver Tips”, and can be found in loose leaf or pyramid bags at all the tea shops in Sri Lanka.
Ceylon green tea is quickly gaining traction outside of Sri Lanka. The process of making green tea is different to black tea, even though it comes from the same kind of plant. The leaves are unfermented, maintaining their antioxidant attributes. The leaves are picked, withered and heated, then rolled before drying and sifting. Ceylon green tea is pure and clean, just like the black tea.
Depending on where the plants grow, the flavor will be different. This is why the tea in Sri Lanka is so special. Ceylon tea, as it has been known since the 19th century, has been the base tea of choice for most tea manufacturers around the world. Sri Lankans believe that their ground water has a magical quality, not only for growing great tea plants but also for brewing it.
There are four basic kinds of tea that can be manufactured from the Camillea Sinensis plant. All sorts of tea come from the same kind of plant, but it is the soil and weather that give each plant a different flavor. There are five areas in Sri Lanka where tea grows, each at a different elevation. Each area produces a slightly different-tasting tea. All Sri Lankan tea manufacturers, like Dilmah and Halpe, offer their tea in loose leaf or pyramid tea bag presentations.