At a time when our time on this planet seems limited—Stephen Hawking warns that we “should prepare for a cosmic exodus”* within the next couple hundred years—it is really really nice to know that somebody is working on the problems here at home!
An Island of Responsible Sensibilities
As recently reported in World Tea News,† Sri Lanka—of Ceylon tea fame—was honored for
showing by example its pedigree of social, economic, and environmental responsibility.
This mountainous island, formerly known as Ceylon, exports more black orthodox tea than anyone else, with the tea industry employing 1.5 million people.
But it apparently doesn’t do this by cutting corners.
Rather, most of the country’s tea gardens are organic, and “all greatly limit the use of pesticides.”† Quite awhile ago they phased out the use of methyl bromide, a fumigant and pesticide that was one of the chemicals targeted by the 1987 Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer,‡‡ and they implemented environmentally friendly practices.
Consequently Sri Lankan tea has been designated an “ozone friendly tea” and was given the Montreal Protocol implementer’s award. According to the World Tea News, they are the only teas to receive this status!
And an Actual Island, Well Suited for Tea
Tea can be harvested in Sri Lanka year-round; the tea districts in the central highlands include Uva, Dimbula, and Nuwara Eliya, which is situated between Uva and Dimbula, in a small planting area that is 6° north of the equator but over 6,000 feet in altitude.
The island’s topography has allowed tea producers to manipulate the plants to produce a range of teas with distinct qualities:
- low-grown tea (< 2,000 ft in altitude), strong and usually drunk with milk
- mid-grown tea (2,000–4,000 ft), with a rich flavor
- high-grown tea (> 4,000 ft), the premium teas
High-quality, exceptional teas, such as Ceylon Nuwara Eliya (pictured in this post, available from TeaHaus), yield incredible flavor! They are outstanding both hot and iced.
The full-bodied Ceylon black teas also serve as the base for many popular blends, including breakfast and Earl Grey teas.
So I will take a stand for our earth and drink an ozone-friendly Ceylon tea today!
*Guarino, B. “Stephen Hawking calls for a return to the moon as Earth’s clock runs out,” The Washington Post, Speaking of Science. June 21, 2017.
†Bolton, D. “Sri Lanka shined at World Tea Expo,” World Tea News, June 19, 2017.
‡‡Gunawardene, N. “Ozone Friendly Pure Ceylon Tea,” Business Today, July 2011.