St Andrews - Rediscovering a classic

Think of St Andrews and most of us will think of the home of Golf or Scotland’s patron saint. 

However on the western slopes of Sri Lanka in Dimbula is the St Andrews tea estate. Many of you who are long time PMD tea drinkers will remember St Andrews tea. It was removed from our tea portfolio in 2016/17 when the estate moved from producing leafy orthodox teas to orthodox rotorvane grades. Its removal was controversial, but I am delighted it is back. 

St Andrews is one of the few estates of the western high grown that produces leafy orthodox teas. Its Orange Pekoe carries a natural rosy aroma and its flavour makes it a classic afternoon tea best paired with cream teas. 

St Andrews Factory

Recently late one evening whilst working with a customer on a new menu, we found some St Andrews and brewed it up as we worked late into the night. Although the tea was quite old, the cup still had a fantastic flavour, which left the chef asking, “remind me why we took this off the menu?”

Thankfully five years later, St Andrews has gone back to its leafy roots, and we have been working with the estate to recreate its signature flavour. 

St Andrews is in Dimbula. Tea is grown at 4000 ft above sea level and this area really is the heart of tea country where the pioneer planters first planted tea in the 1880’s.  Due to its elevation and cooler temperatures, the fields of St Andrews in the morning are covered in a white mist. This cold mist stresses the plants and that comes out when the leaf is hand-picked and produced. 

St Andrews misty mornings

Today St Andrews has a new management team and when they started making leafy teas I was eager to try them. The first batches of tea lacked the classic flavour that St Andrews was known for but now after almost five months of tasting batches we have finally nailed it.