History of Ceylon Tea
It was as far back as the year 1824 in which the British brought a tea plant from China to Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was known at the time). It was planted in the Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya and is considered to have been the first non-commercial tea plant in Sri Lanka. After nearly two decades in 1867, James Taylor, Scottish by origin, planted 19 acres of tea in the city of Kandy in Ceylon, at the Loolecondra Estate as the first commercial tea plantation. The eventual sale of Loolecondra teas resulted in 1872, in Kandy and the first tea consignment to London in 1873. These pioneering efforts were done by trial and error and improved over the years via the introduction and improvement of tea processing machines and methods, by different individuals and companies.
The first broking firm John Brothers & Co. was established in 1876 and the first public Colombo auction took place in 1883 under the guidance of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (which was established in 1839). The Colombo Tea Traders’ Association was formed in 1894 and in 1925 the Tea Research Institute was established. These organizations helped boost the production and export of Ceylon Teas in its early stages.