Dimbula Region

In recent blogs I have describesd some of Sri Lanks'a tea regions. This time we take a look at Dimbula which lies around 65km south and just over a two-hour car drive from Kandy.

Dimbula lies in Western Sri Lanka and strictly speaking it is the area that lies between the towns of Hatton and Kotagala. But due to the Colombo tea tasters and marketing folk Dimbula has today come to represent the whole of the western high grown. It was one of the first regions to be planted with coffee but when the coffee industry collapsed it was transformed into one of the most important regions of Sri Lanka for tea.

It is mountainous, and the best tea is grown between 3500 – 5000ft (1000-1500meters). The terrain is varied and there are many sub climates, the combination of soil and climate has allowed the development of many tea estates, each with its own flavour and taste personalities. Because the tea is grown at higher elevations, they tend to be more aromatic than those found at lower levels.
This is because the tea grows slower on the bush, and the slow growth allows the flavour to really develop in the leaf.
At its centre is Dimbula Estate, the once home to Lord Louis Mountbatten who directed Southeast Asia Command from the estate bungalow during World War Two. A visit to the bungalow today reveals a hole in the drawing-room floor where his secure communications set was secretly kept. 
This region is famous for producing full-bodied aromatic tea for English Breakfast. Today many international tea brands will seek premium quality “Dimbulas” to uplift their tea blends. 
The area has some of the most dramatic landscapes in the country. From the top of Sri Pada (Adams Peak) to the wild untamed areas of Horton plains. This is still wild country where amongst the teas you will still find wild boar and leopard roaming.
The western quality season of Jan- Feb affects the estates of this region heavily. Throwing out lighter cups of tea that are packed full of flavour. The months of May - July see the estates drenched by the monsoon and see a frantic amount of work carried out as the amount of leaf the bushes produce increases. 
To write about Dimbula one really needs to break the district down into its sub districts. Each district has the regional taste of a Dimbula but each district carries its own uniqueness. Here we will highlight a few of the districts that make some of the region's best teas. 
The southern parts of the region includes the districts of Maskeliya, Bogowantalawa and Dick Oya which have traditionally produced some of the regions best teas.


Dick Oya takes its name from the Sinhalese word for Digha Oya. Digha means long, Oya means river. The river is found running through many of the estates through the district, the mountains and the tough soils produce teas that have give a depth to the cup.  

Moving down the road to Maskeliya, the teas from this district produce a redder cup, perfect for English breakfast type teas. 
Bogowantalawa known as the Golden Valley gives teas that when brewed have an unmistakable golden rim to the cup. When combined and expertly blended they produce wonderful teas that are ideal for making English Breakfast blends that are to be enjoyed with milk. 
Heading up past the town of Hatton. One reaches the district of Talawakelle. The teas here are grown at a higher elevation and the estates that are found on the Great Western mountain range, produced teas of a lighter character due to the higher elevation. Evenings can find the estates covered in mist that settles in quickly and can make driving in the area hazardous. 
The teas from the higher elevated districts are again used in blends to add more aroma and brightness to the cup. Of late many estates have been producing some wonderful specialty teas. 

For those wanting to enjoy teas from the Dick Oya and southern districts of Dimbula should try our Planters Breakfast that encompass the darker stronger flavours of this region. 

If you are looking for a lighter more Afternoon tea type of tea to enjoy plain then St Andrews from the heart of Dimbula is perfect. It is perfectly paired with cream teas, and is one of the few estates from this region producing leafy orthodox teas. 
If you are looking for something truly special then our award winning Golden Curls from Mattakelle estate found in the Talawakelle, is something for all serious tea drinkers to try. Harvested from a Japanese tea bush that is grown in Dimbula soils, Golden Curls will make you rethink Dimbula teas. 
You can see something about all of the regions here.