Sylvakandy Estate Tea
Sylvakandy is located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka in what is known as the Matale District. The location was chosen for its high elevation (the estate's gardens range from 550 to 1220 meters above sea level), and it's heavy and consistent rainfall (over 110 inches per annum thanks to both the Southwest and Northwest monsoons). Incidentally, the factory at Sylvakandy sits at 805 meters above sea level at the estate's approximate halfway vertical point. The estate is split into four divisions with a little over 520 hectares under tea and 566 employees. Commencing in 1965, a replanting was undertaken with higher yielding clonal varieties and to date nearly 45% of the estate has been switched over. Replanting is evidently no small task!
Like most Sri Lankan tea estates, ownership of Sylvakandy has changed hands a number of times since it was first planted. The first superintendent of the estate was a British planter and avid hunter named Mr. Fraser who served until the first World War. Some of his hunting trophies still adorn Sylvakandy's main bungalow to this day. The last British superintendent was a Mr. Lacey who ran the estate from 1951 to 1959. An eccentric Brit, Mr. Lacey was also a concert pianist. At night his music could be heard drifting over the tea fields. In 1959 the estate was purchased by a private company and run as such until 1974 when all Sri Lankan estates were nationalized and appropriated by the Janatha National Estate Development Board. In 1977 it was handed over to the Sri Lankan State Plantations Co-operation and then re-privatized in 1993.
Sylvakandy Orange Pekoe is an excellent self-drinking tea. Like most single estate, non-blended teas it is best enjoyed hot with a dash of milk to help open and expand its flavor profile. World class teas like Sylvakandy hold as many nuances and subtleties as fine wines and should be savored with an open mind and clean palate. Brew a pot today and enjoy!