Somerset which is located close to the small village Nanuoya on the western part of Nuwara Eliya administrative district, is a 456.64 hectare plantation with tea fields situated at an elevation ranging 1402 m – 1576 m. This plantation first owned by the British company – ‘Ceylon Plantation Company’ is now owned by Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC, a public quoted Sri Lankan company. In this blog article, Mr.ErangaEgodawela, Senior Manager of Somerset Estate is sharing his experience in Somerset as to what makes Somerset special in Ceylon tea industry.
- Where did you start your career in plantations and as a Senior manager how long you have been in Somerset?
I started my career in year 2000 and I loved working for tea industry as it was my passion. I initiated with black tea since 2000 and majority of my tome contributed towards black tea manufacturing as a very active planter. Before I first joined with Somerset in 2003, I was handling Green tea in Radella a village close to Nuwaraeliya for about 3 years. This is my 10th Year in Somerset, started as Assistant Manager (2003 -2006), Deputy Manager (2006 -2009) and currently working as the Senor manager since 2014. It was proud moment for me when I was awarded with Best Tea Taster national award IN National Tea Award ceremony which was held in 2017. That was the year which Ceylon Tea has celebrated its 150 years.
- What is the history of Somerset and what are the types of tea clones it has?
Somerset is first owned by the British company – ‘Ceylon Plantation Company’ is now owned by Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC, a public quoted Sri Lankan company. The tea factory commissioned in 1931 produces approx. 750-800 tons of black tea per annum. Somerset is a quality-oriented tea estate. So, all the clones are mainly quality oriented clones. It can be categorized as below
- TRI 4071 and 4058 (Latest quality-oriented tea clones developed by Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka
- 30% Old Seedlings – China Jat
To keep the quality of old seedling, Somerset is not uprooting any of their old seedling clones.
- What are the best-selling tea varieties produced by Somerset?
BOPs (Broke Orange Pekoe) and Pekoe’s are the best-selling tea varieties in Somerset. Because DT1 clones (Drayton) and KO145 (Kirkoswald) clones enables it to produce exquisite seasonal flavory tea and it will be more prominent when the particles sizes are big.
- What makes Somerset tea special?
I would say it is the elevation, soil and the clone mix. Estate located in 3, 240 ft from sea level. Annual rain fall on this property is around 2100mm which is mainly recorded in May/June/July. The period January to March is the dry season in this season during which fine quality Dimbula seasonal flavory teas are produced. During this quality season, Somerset estate achieve All time record price for its BOP teas.
- What’s the best thing about overseeing Somerset?
The self-satisfactions of overseeing one of the best marks in Ceylon Tea and the opportunity of meeting and working with various type of community. The factory is ISO 22000 certified and also the estate has the certificates of Rainforest Alliance and Ethical Tea Partnership. The population of Somerset Estate is around 3639 (Male 1819 and female 1820 and a workforce of 610 (Male 231 & Female 379). The entire population facilitated with living accommodations and medical facilities.