New Vithanakande Tea factory is home to one of the finest brews found in all of Ceylon. The factory is found in near the town of Ratnapura in Sabaragumwa province. The teas of New Vithanakande have always fascinated me ever since I first tasted them during a grading session at Asia Siyaka Tea Brokers back in 2010.
The location of a tea estate is key to how the final cup will taste. New Vithanakande like all low grown tea estates uses a small holder tea model. This is where the tea factory is owned by an individual and the leaf is sourced from various small holders.
New Vithanakande uses 3000 such small holders. Small holders are local to the factory, each family will own 1/2 acre of land that they will meticulously cultivate, as the price they are paid is dependent completely on the quality of leaf they produce. As with all Ceylon Teas, the two leaves and bud with succulent leaf command the highest prices as this is the basic raw material that is essential to creating a quality brew.
Unlike other low country estates New Vithanakande is blessed by its unique proximity to the Sinharaja rainforest. The sinharaja that translates to Lion Kingdom and is a world heritage sight by UNESCO and is a bio diversity hotspot. The proximity heavily influences the leaf that is produced by the neighbouring tea bushes. This leaf once plucked is what gives New Vithanakande its unique caramel character.
The factory that is under the expert care of Mr. Pilapitya a expert tea planter who hails from a family of Planters. The factory was founded by his father in the early 40’s. When I first had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Pilapitiya, we shared stories about a cousin of his another Pilapitiya who had planted on Gouravilla estate Maskeliya. He was known to be a tough Planter and had caused our transport managers much stress.
Mr. Pilapitiya’s attention to detail sees that the leaf that is bought by New Vitanakande is only of the highest quality. Sitting with him personally as he looks through the leaf that is being withered is a lesson in itself.
The control of the wither and the automated rolling room blend the modern with the old. Where the latest technology is utilized with close to 70 years of skill, helps create our award winning line of New Vithanakande.
The factory produces the full spectrum of leafy grades, from the OP’s to the broken. We at PMD choose to use a Flowery Fanning extra special grade. This combines the mix of jet black leaf with delicate tips that have been delicately preserved through the manufacture process.
The final cup is one that any tea drinker and connoisseur must try. A combination of strength, colour with a juicy sweet caramel flavour.
On episode 26 of the PMD Tea buyers we sat down for a vertical tea tasting you can watch the video to see the leaf and to see how we maintain quality standards between batches that we have made. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaPafUDLP8A&index=8&list=PLJCzNZvj991qvtdsUigmxklqAtMCb-IUT
Click here to buy New Vithanakande Tea