June 22, Colombo: Sri Lanka's celebrated Ceylon Tea roared at this year's World Tea Expo, drawing attention to the official country of origin and showing by example its pedigree of social, economic and environmental responsibility.
Sri Lanka is the largest exporter of black orthodox tea, accounting for 6.2 percent of world production and exporting 16.9 percent of the world's tea. The island of tea employs 1.5 million people in the cultivation and processing of hand-plucked leaf.
Plantation Industries Ministry Sri Lanka Tea Board Director Promotion Premala Srikantha received a plaque commemorating 150 years of Ceylon Tea from QTrade Teas & Herbs, Cerritos, Calif Founder Manik Jayakumar. Jayakumar is a native of Sri Lanka and former manager of several prestigious Sri Lankan tea gardens.
Rohan Pethiyagoda, who chairs the Sri Lanka Tea Board, said the occasion presented not only an opportunity to share with the United States "but also the whole of the tea-drinking world".
The Tea Board announced a Global Ceylon Tea Party to be celebrated on July 6, 2017, at 5:00 p.m., at Sri Lankan diplomatic missions worldwide. The event begins in Fiji, then advances by the hour to New Zealand and continues in every time zone.
On the exhibition floor, Chamara Udugama at Tea Talk said the Sri Lanka pavilion provided good exposure to the 3,500 attending. The company offers 40 types of single-estate teas. The fruit teas used in making iced tea are popular, he said, citing papaya peach as an example.
"The K-cups are getting notice as well," said Udugama, whose company, founded in 2013, sells wholesale and operates a tea shop, restaurant, lounge and hotel in Colombo.
Jayakumar, the event's Platinum sponsor, described Sri Lanka's commitment to sustainability during a presentation at the Special Events Stage.
"Teas from Sri Lanka are the only teas in the world to earn 'ozone-friendly' status under the Montreal Protocol, one of the most successful and effective environmental treaties ever implemented. Many of the gardens there are organic and all greatly limit the use of pesticides," he explained.
The Tea House Times publisher Gail Gastelu presented slides showing the beautiful landscape, modern factories and people who make up the tea industry in Sri Lanka, with its great diversity of teas from seven distinct producing regions. Her publication is on a mission to help people in the US learn more about Ceylon Tea and how special it is, she said.
Srikantha said that Sri Lanka has developed the capability to process tea quickly and to add value in packaging and advanced shipping. The tea auction at Colombo consistently ranks first in pricing teas.
Calendar of events: Global Ceylon Tea Party - July 6, 2017 Colombo International Tea Convention - August 9- 11, Cinnamon Grand, Colombo CRT International Exhibition 2017 - August 11-13, BMICH, Colombo Ceylon Tea Festival - August 12, 2017,