Funnily enough the origin of Ceylon Tea starts
with coffee. The story starts in the mid 1820s, hardly five years after the
surrender of Kandy, the last surviving Sinhalese-administrated kingdom in Ceylon, to
the English crown. By then, whatever is left of the island had as of now been
an English territory for more than a century. Ceylon's ownership was viewed as crucial
to endeavors in India and the Far East, yet the expense of maintaining an army to secure it was very high. Attempts to raise income by levying taxes didn't become a success. The problem of maintaining and supporting itself was something that every governor from 1798 up until 1820 had to face.
When the fifth of Ceylon's English governors, Edward
Barnes, in 1820 came to the island, he came with a solution to the problem of government expenses. And that solution was coffee. The
plant had been popular among many nations and many people loved this beverage. But not every country where there was a great demand for coffee could cultivate it. Nevertheless Sri Lanka's conditions were ideal for the cultivation of this newly introduced plant.
Governor Barnes did a lot to promote the coffee trade in Ceylon. Most importantly he ordered the construction of roads to facilitate the transport of coffee from the hilly areas to places like Colombo and Trincomallee.
Barne's term of office finished in 1831. By then the coffee cultivation involved a great part
of the nation round Kandy and was spreading southwards.
Withstanding all the pests in the late 1840s, the venture kept
on growing. In the mid-1870s Ceylon became the world's biggest maker of
coffee. Benefits and incomes produced by this venture transformed the island into
a prosperous rich nation in the world. Railroads were constructed for the transportation of coffee. A powerful
government and the coffee plantation owners kept things working smoothly. This good times for coffee was brief. In 1869 coffee plants got infected by a disease called, coffee-rust. The
curse had a huge impact on the coffee trade in sri lanka. Between the battle between coffee and the coffee rust the latter emerged victorious. Ceylon was no more the biggest exporter of coffee.
In the mean time, a planter named James Taylor had been
experimenting different avenues regarding another plant, planting it along the
edges of the divisional streets on his coffee-garden.
That plant was tea. As of now in 1866 he had been able to grow the first tea plants on his cabin veranda. Later on these tea plants that originated in the veranda are going to cover a considerable part of Ceylon. More than 120,000
hectares of coffee plants were stripped and were replaced with tea. Within 10 years tea took over the position that coffee once had and the country was prosperous again.
James Taylor was the first Ceylon planter who made his tea growing experiment a success, yet he was not the first one to attempt. In spite of the fact that no recording has been found many are the people who have tried to cum up with a way of planting tea successfully. All in all, today most of the Sri Lankan's drink of choice is tea. It has become part and parcel of their lives.