Introduction to University of Tea

Over the next few posts I would like to share what the PMD Tea University has been up to  in 2023. 

Experience tells us that unless knowledge is passed down the generations, skilled professions can die out. Nowhere is this more important than in tea. As we have discussed before, tea cultivation and production is not a science, it’s a life skill; It is not one that can be acquired from textbooks, it’s one that must be felt, lived, and experienced in the plantations and tasting rooms. That’s the role of the PMD Tea University. 

2023 is the first year we have been able to run the University of Tea post pandemic, and therefore it was always likely to be a very special event, and so it was. Over the course of a full week students covering 6 agro-climatic regions and 5 individual tea estates.

It takes place on the Sri Lankan tea estates with the experts who make tea and the courses are intended to cover a wide range of subjects in depth. From growing tea, through tea manufacturing and speciality tea making, to tasting and grading. 

The course started in Colombo with students visiting a tasting room where they tasted over 100 cups of tea and learnt about the various leaf styles. They identified what a good tea is and what a bad one tastes like !

After an epic 8-hour road journey which saw us climbing from sea level up to 6000ft in a day through the western high grown area of Sri Lanka, we arrived in Nuwara Eliya. Here the students spent the first few days visiting the Tea Research Institute, learning about nursery management and the art of hand-picking tea and other agriculture activities. 

The University then moved on to tea manufacturing. The team of students were up early at 04.30hrs in the factory to see how tea is made This was then followed by visits to two different estates to experience other unique and different ways of making tea and that was followed by even more tea tasting.

Over the next few weeks we will speak more in depth about some of the areas covered.