In the first week of November, as I was in Nuwara Eliya, I happened to tour Damro Labookellie Tea Centre and Tea Garden. It’s spread across 5,000 hectares of verdant tea estates. This plantation expands from deep valleys of Sabaragamuwa to inner hills, surpassing 1,500 meters elevation. Damro, in particular, is renowned for raising a variety of fresh handpicked premium tea, produced in western Nuwara Eliya. This tea is extensively sought after by connoisseurs who desire the most-palatable Ceylon tea. These well-nurtured tea estates possess 15 factories producing an assemblage of Ceylon’s finest teas, to provide to the demands of national and international markets. Damro Tea Estate offers magnificent views over the slopes of Nuwara Eliya. Upon arrival, I was shown around the tea plantation until it began pouring, and I had to rush to the tea room.
Before sampling the tea, I toured the factory floors from where I observed the process of grading, drying, brewing and packaging. This engaging 30-minutes tour taught me a great deal about the tea I consume on a day to day basis. It was amazing to watch how the ladies handpick the tea, while men process it in the tea factory. Here I learned that both black and green tea is made from, the leaves of the same plant. The fundamental difference between the two is that black tea is oxidized wherein, the green is not. To produce black tea – leaves are first, rolled, then exposed to the air to activate the oxidation. It was so interesting to visit the DAMRO tea factory and understand the entire production process.
Post touring the factory I sampled different teas. The lounge faces superbly landscaped tea gardens so that you get to devour a cup of pure Ceylon Tea with sensational views. DAMRO Tea Lounge was Macwood’s Tea Lounge earlier. For years, this has been one of the best of Sri Lanka. Following the sampling, I browsed the in-house shop and bought about ten different varieties of tea. Including, flavoured tea – cinnamon, strawberry, apple and so on. Only the silver (or white) and golden tea are priced at SLR 8500 and SLR 10000 respectively. Other teas are reasonably priced at SLR 800 or around. Well worth the money.
Now back home cherishing pure Ceylon Tea that tastes absolutely amazing. Sri Lanka is a MINE of premium quality grade tea. Thus, any trip to Sri Lanka is incomplete until you tour one of its tea plantations and factories. In Nuwara Eliya, you will find plenty of beautiful tea estates. Whichever tea estate you choose to tour, you will return informed. Tea sampling is the best part of this tour. For me, the takeaway was the knowledge about Silver tea. After the Damro factory tour, I began to pluck a handful of Silver Tea from every plantation I visited. Each night, I would return to the hotel and brew handpicked leaves with hot water, and what a beautiful cup of tea it would make. Try it, when you visit Sri Lanka next.
P.S. I visited Damro Labookellie Tea Estate and Factory, as a guest of Sri Lanka Tourism Board, however, the views are my own.