Kandy Region

The lastest installment in our series about tea growing regions looks at Kandy.

Nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka lies the picturesque region of Kandy, renowned for its rich cultural heritage, lush landscapes, and, of course, its exceptional tea. Steeped in history and tradition, Kandy holds a prominent place among the famed tea-growing regions of Sri Lanka.

Kandy stands as one of the key regions that shaped Sri Lanka's thriving tea industry. 

Kandy was the last Kingdom of Sri Lanka, the hill country had managed to fight off invasions from the Portugese and the Dutch but finally fell to the British in 1815. 

Initially, the British established Coffee plantations in the central highlands during the 19th century, with Kandy emerging as the significant hub alongside Nuwara Eliya and Dimbula. The region's altitude, coupled with its unique climate and fertile soil, proved ideal for cultivating coffee bushes.

During colonial rule, Kandy's coffee estates flourished, contributing significantly to Ceylon's reputation as the world’s largest coffee exporter by the 1860’s. At the same time the Coffee Rust fungus (Hemileia vastatrix) had been seen on the estates of Kandy and within a few years Ceylon’s coffee industry would collapse. 

It is in the Kandy region that James Taylor, a coffee planter experimented with tea seeds on the Loolecondra estate. This was to be the birth place for “Ceylon tea” and it is from here that it spread across the island.  

Kandy - a view over the town.

Kandy's teas are celebrated for their distinctive flavors and characteristics, shaped by the region's terroir and artisanal cultivation methods. The tea bushes, nurtured by the cool mountain air and abundant rainfall, yield leaves prized for their complexity and depth of flavor. Kandy teas are characterized as mid grown growing between 3000 - 4000ft. 

One of the defining traits of Kandy's teas is their malty profile. The region's black teas are revered for their full-bodied taste and bright, coppery liquor, offering a satisfyingly brisk cup with notes of malt and citrus. These teas possess a unique richness that sets them apart from their low country cousins making them an excellent choice for those who appreciate a lighter brew to kick-start their day.

In addition to black tea, Kandy also produces exceptional green teas cherished for their delicate flavors and subtle sweetness. These teas undergo careful processing to preserve their vibrant green hues and nuanced taste, showcasing hints of grassiness and floral undertones. Each sip of Kandy's green tea transports you to the verdant hillsides where the tea leaves are lovingly cultivated, evoking a sense of tranquility and harmony.

Kandy's teas are highly sought after in the global market, the leafy tea grades make for excellent blending with other more stronger and robust teas from Sri Lanka and beyond. The region's teas find their way to discerning tea enthusiasts and connoisseurs worldwide, gracing teacups in homes, cafes, and luxury hotels alike.

 Aarunya Hotel in Kandy region where customers enjoy afternoon tea with our hand picked teas and a view of the region.

We use teas from Kandy for our Radiant Rose blend. The mild mid grown flavour marries well with rose petals. Unlike the briskness of low grown teas and the lighter notes of higher grown regions. When it comes to blending, Kandy teas find harmony with roses. 

Radiant Rose Loose Leaf Tea

You can see something about all of the regions here.