I want Kandy…

723 Views - Published on - October 22, 2012 by Raza Ali

Well my dear readers, don’t think that I don’t know how to spell “Candy”, but this ” Kandy ” is different. This Kandy translates into tea. Well I’m not trying to be mysterious. Kandy is the region in Sri Lanka where most of the tea states are located.
The reason for this concentration of tea states in the area can readily be understood once you get to this place. It is something of a hill spot in tropical Sri Lanka. Weather is all together different from most of the tropical Sri Lanka: low clouds, lower temperatures, abundent rainfall and everything else that is needed to grow the finest tea in the world.
Once you get close to Kandy area, you start witnessing tea plantations, just like you see rice paddies everywhere else in Sri Lanka. The only difference probably is that tea plantations are more nicely kept and present a more pleasant view than the rice paddies.
On our way to the Blue Field tea plantation and factory, we witnessed all the famous tea brands along the road. We picked the Blue Field tea plantation because of two reasons: first of all our local guide Siri recommended it as one of the ost friendly plantations for visitors and secondly because I like Blue Field tea more than any other tea.

Blue Field tea factory
Blue Filed tea factory
Now before we take you to Blue Field plantation, let me tell you something about the way from Negombo to Kandy. The road is not very wide. If you are driving yourself you must be very concentrated and should not take your eye off the road. The distance from Negombo, which you can consider the same as from Colombo, is not a long one, but the the way takes lot more than expected and all because of the narrow road conditions.
One more very nice place on the way to the tea plantations is the elephant orphanage. This place in fact is no orphanage, but more of an elephant park. I don’t need to explain what you will see there. I believe the name says it all. So if you are an elephant lover, start out from Colombo or Negombo at around 7 in the morning and you will have enough time to stop at the place on your way to witnessing the growth of the finest in the world tea.
I already told you why we opted for Blue Field plantation, but if you don’t have the same reasons of skipping Kandy on the way, you can visit the tea museum as well. Museums are nice places and when I say tea museum, I guess you can understand what you will see there.
Getting to the Blue Field plantation, we first took a tour of the factory. We were shown around by a very nice, polite and knowledgable guide, whose name I unfortunately forgot, but for the reference I am posting her photo here.

Blue Field tea factory
Our nice guide, whose name skipped my memory
We saw the whole process from, when the tea leaves arrive in the factory, get dried on the conveyers, get crushed, rolled and sorted, to the stage where they are already in packing stage. To tell you the truth, although I am a tea lover, I never knew that there was something called the white tea. This was the first time that I saw the white tea.
Then we came to know about the sorts and sorting. It was another discovery to know that the large leaf tea was the lightest, whereas the dust 1, which is used for tea bags was the strongest. I always thought that the dust was the lightest. But even not being strong the large leaf tea is the most fragrent. Tea is sorted into categories called OP, BOP, Pekoe, dust and so on. What is “Pekoe”? Well this is some sort of unit used by the tea industry.
Then we had a chance to see tea plucking and the process before the leaves reach the factory.

Tea classification
Tea classification. All those BOPs and OPs
After seeing all of that processing, we had a nice chat with the manager of the Blue Field tea plantation and factory. He explained a lot of things about tea and the Sri Lankan society. But all of that will only be in our documentary. So to know the secrets you’ll have to watch our video materials.

Vera drinking Blue Field
Enjoying our cup of Blue Field in the serenity of Kandy
We had a nice cup of finely made Blue Field tea, enjoyed the scenery and the ambience and then left the cooler part of heaven to go to the Adam’s peak. We needed to get to the Adam’s peak in the night, so that we could climb up before sunrise. Why? Well once again you’ll see it on the screen.
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