University of Tea Part 4: Estates

When you taste single estate tea you can clearly taste a difference in taste and flavour from another tea estate from another region. There are many factors that influence the flavour. The elevation, flora, fauna, soil conditions, amount sun light, rain, the angle of the slope that tea grows on the list is endless. 

To truly understand the subtle differences that help give a tea its unique flavour one must visit a plantation. 

At this year's University of Tea we stationed ourselves in Nuwara Eliya for the first part of our trip. Each morning we headed down in elevation to the towns of Talawakelle, Nanu Oya & Radella. Just dropping down a 1000 ft and heading out less than 10Km we saw how weather changed and changed drastically. 

Somerset Factory - early morning!

In Nuwara Eliya we woke to cold, gloomy mornings with the expectation of rain. Many of the students and ourselves dressed appropriately with layers and kept a waterproof close at hand. 

Heading down to Talawakelle from Nuwara Eliya the first morning and passing Radella town the weather cleared and cleared drastically. Blue sky’s and hotter temperatures were present. Off came the layers and the waterproofs were definitely not needed. 

Although this may seem like a small change, the effect on the tea cup is huge. Teas made on estates in Radella that day would taste very different to tea made in Talawakelle. 

On day three of course we had students visit three different tea estates to see how each estate makes its tea. 

The first estate we visited was Somerset at 04.30hrs to see their taking making process in progress. High elevation tea estates produce tea at night when it is cooler, this is done to preserve flavour in the leaf, heat build up during manufacture kills quality flavours in tea thus why tea is made at night and why the students had an early start. 

Somerset is located in Nanu Oya just off the Nuwara Eliya plateau. Its teas are classified under the Dimbula district and Somerset is known for making flavoury aromatic teas. It produces tea under the orthodox rotorvane method. 

After somerset we pushed onto Lovers Leap in Nuwara Eliya. This is one of three estates in the region that produce yellow cups of tea. Its neighbours of Court Lodge and Kenmare also produce light yellow cups. To read more about Lovers Leap click here. 

Teas from the Inverness Estate

From Lovers Leap we visited Inverness Estate that is also in Nuwara Eliya but about 20 minutes outside of the main town area and on the fringes of the region. The cup colour of Inverness teas is of an Orange.

If you want to experience what goes into making a cup of our tea then join us at the University of Tea. Just contact me at