Tea growing at Diyanillakelle dates back to the first wave of tea cultivation in Sri Lanka over 150 years ago. In the early days, the garden was run by Scottish planters. Since then, it has passed through the hands of several Sri Lankan owners, and today is run by Ananda and her son-in-law Ravindu.
The latest chapter in the estate’s history is one of restoration and renewal. Five years ago, Ananda set about revitalising the garden to address dwindling output and stagnant tea prices. The garden has gone through a deep transformation: the fields down to every tea bush have been given careful attention from pruning to bush sanitation to produce exceptional raw materials and is slowly being converted to organic cultivation. The factory has been rebuilt, refitted, and transformed to a high quality and low quantity production line.
Improving the quality of the leaf and production process to produce a better quality of tea, the sort that sells for high prices, offers Diyanillakelle one way out of the falling commodity tea prices that has affected producers of tea in Sri Lanka in recent decades.
Diyanillakelle is located at an altitude of 1370m. on the western slopes of the central highlands in Nuwarya Eliya. The area is synonymous with quality tea in Sri Lanka thanks to its high elevation, mountain soil, and cool temperature climate.
The garden is considered “high grown” which is an official designation in the tea world for the varieties grown high in the hills of Sri Lanka. The teas here are sweet, bright in colour, and their flavour is intense.
Tea grows all year around in Sri Lanka, but the best plucking seasons in Nuwara Eluaya are the dry months of April to May and then in November/ December. The lower rainfall and cooler temperatures around these times combine to create truly phenonomal teas with tropical fruit characters and a citric zestiness.