Uva Region

In this blog we take a look at the region of Uva which lies in the east of Sri Lanka,

The “Merry Men of Uva” as the tea planters of the region are known, work hard during the short season to cultivate their world famous flavoured seasonal teas.

The estates lie between three to five thousand feet (900 – 1500 meters) making it a region that has both high grown and medium grown teas. The estates produce tea year around, but it’s during the months of July and August, and occasionally into early September, that their sought-after seasonal teas are produced. 

During this time the east of Sri Lanka experiences a drought while the west is experiencing monsoon conditions. The drought coupled with the fierce wind that blows in from the Northwest of the island, originating in the Bay of Bengal known as the “cachan” winds, hits the tea bushes and it is this combination that forces the tea bushes to fight for their survival. They naturally produced volatile oils and compounds combined with the delicate hand-picking produces their famous Uva seasonal character that commands the highest prices. 

Sunrise from Golkande Bungalow in Haputale.

Well-made seasonal Uva’s have a distinct mentholated wintergreen note and it is this specific flavour note that is in high demand with international tea brands for blending with poorer teas. Stock is released slowly by producers to manage the seasonality issues.

The region has some of the most dramatic scenery, on a clear day from Haputale one can see the beaches of the east and south coast. This is also the region where Sir Thomas Lipton bought his estates and produced many of his famous teas. Many of the postcard settings for his teas were photographed in this region on his estate Dambatenne. His original bungalow on Dambatenne estate is still standing and visitors can visit Lipton’s seat and look down into the Uva Basin. 

Sitting on the steps of Tommy Lioton's bungalow on Dambatenne Estate.

Due to its location in the East of the country, a visit during the colonial era to the region amounted to an expedition. Today travellers can explore the region by taking the train to explore the scenery of Uva. 9 arches bridge near Demodera is a miniature version of the Glenfinnan viaduct that is found in Scotland. A testament to the Scots that helped plant out the region with Tea in the 1890’s after the collapse of Coffee, and build the train line into the region.

The premier tea district within the region is the Malwatte Valley. Which translates to flower garden valley. The district produces some of the regions best seasonal teas. 

A picturesque Train Station at the base of Idalgashinn

If you are looking to try some seasonal Uva tea, then try our 2023 pick from St James estate. 

St James is close to the town of Hali Ella and produces a semi orthodox teas during the season. Last year's tea was some of the best we have had. With the unpredictability of the weather, trying seasonal St James tea is a must for those who seek seasonal tea.

You can see something about all of the regions here