Ceylon tea is a black tea that has a pleasant fragrance and strong flavor. The tea is also called Sri Lankan tea, named after its country of origin.
Ceylon tea can be enjoyed warm or on ice, pleasing a variety of tea enthusiasts. Even though the tea is popular for its robust flavor, it can taste a little different based on where the leaves were grown and which type of tea you choose.
You’ll learn more about Ceylon black tea in this post, including its different types, possible health benefits, and how to drink the tea.
Ceylon Tea: The Basics
Ceylon tea comes from Sri Lanka, an island that used to be called Ceylon.
Sri Lanka isn’t very large, but it has a range of optimum weather conditions, elevation, soil varieties, plants, and climate. Any teas from the island have various characteristics and flavors.
Traditional Ceylon tea is fresh, robust, and strong. The beverage has light spicy, chocolate, and zesty notes with medium to full tannins.
Ceylon tea leaves are sourced from a tea plant called Camellia sinensis. You can identify the leaves from their long and thin appearance.
The majority of Ceylon tea is known as orthodox tea. This means that the tea is hand treated, creating a fresh, vivid beverage.
Different Ceylon Tea Types
Ceylon teas are generally black teas, though some Sri Lankan manufacturers are extending their range to incorporate other tea varieties, like green tea.
Ceylon teas are classed into three altitude groups, low-grown, medium-grown, and high-grown. Your chosen tea will have been grown in one of Sri Lanka’s seven tea-producing areas, which are:
Arguably Sri Lanka’s most well-known tea-producing area. Its land creates black tea that tastes sweet with an earthy aroma.
The highest elevation tea manufacturing region in Sri Lanka. Its conditions create a tea with a gentle, fresh flavor and a light, floral aroma.
Ruhuna & Sabaragamuwa
Lower elevation areas create stronger teas. These are bolder teas of a vibrant red or orange shade. They also have elements of caramel, honey, and chocolate, running through them.
Creates mid-grown teas that taste different, based on their contact with monsoon breezes. Their tea has a copper color, strong notes, and a malt flavor.
A mountainous region which is located in central Sri Lanka. Creates different teas which vary in strength, but most of these have a light taste to them.
An area that experiences lots of rainfall. The tea is dark and robust, with a gentle pink tinge to it.
Ceylon Tea Customs
Ceylon tea is often enjoyed as a refreshing drink, either over ice, or hot and freshly brewed. Some may add milk, sweeteners, or lemon to even out its robust notes, helping it taste less bitter.
As Ceylon tea is a caffeinated beverage with a fresh feel, it’s ideal to enjoy in the morning or afternoon.
Official Sri Lankan Logo
The Sri Lankan Tea board quality controls Ceylon tea, labeling any genuine, high-quality Ceylon tea with a specific logo. This image portrays the lion seen on the Sri Lankan flag.
Ceylon tea can only achieve this logo if it meets the following conditions:
- Ceylon tea needs to be cultivated and produced solely in Sri Lanka.
- The tea needs to be cultivated, refined, and treated following stringent regulations.
- The tea can only be packed within Sri Lanka. Ceylon tea packaged anywhere other than Sri Lanka will not qualify, even if the product is of high quality.
- The tea’s quality needs to be measured by an analytical laboratory and Sri Lankan Tea Board tea tasters.
Despite these conditions, pure Sri Lankan tea which doesn’t satisfy all of these needs can still be named Ceylon tea.
This means that some Ceylon tea varieties may not be labeled with the Lion Logo, though these may be lower in quality as a result.
How To Enjoy Ceylon Tea
There are lots of different Ceylon teas, which means that there are multiple ways of enjoying the beverage.
Ceylon teas work well both hot and iced, and it’s a good example of ‘self-drinking’ teas. This term covers teas that don’t need any additions, as they taste great by themselves.
Ceylon tea can also be made with milk, which helps to balance any bitter notes within the drink.
Follow these steps to brew Ceylon tea:
- Preheat your teacup and a teapot by filling them with hot water, around halfway. Pour the water out after a minute.
- Add the tea leaves to the teapot, around a teaspoon for every eight ounces of water.
- Fill the teapot with boiling water, cover it, then leave the leaves to steep. Three to five minutes should be enough, depending on how strong you like your tea.
- Pour the beverage into your teacup, then you’re done! Remember that brewing the tea for longer will infuse the drink with more flavor and caffeine.
How Much Caffeine Does Ceylon Tea Have?
Caffeine is present within Ceylon tea, but this amount will differ based on the type of leaves and the way it was prepared.
Whole tea leaves tend to contain less caffeine than entire tea leaves. The brewing time will also influence the amount of caffeine.
Generally speaking, eight ounces of Ceylon black tea contains around 50-90 mg of caffeine, based on how strong the tea is.
Ceylon green tea contains a little less, roughly 35 mg in each cup, while Ceylon white tea contains just six milligrams of caffeine.
Ceylon Tea Health Benefits
Some Ceylon tea varieties are thought to have incredible health benefits, like improving heart health, fighting cancer, and increasing immunity.
Here are some of Ceylon tea’s possible health benefits.
May Aid Weight Loss
Research indicates that Ceylon green tea could aid weight loss. Green tea contains a significant group of compounds called catechins, particularly EGCG.
These compounds may aid weight loss, as participants in the study displayed noticeable improvements in abdominal fat.
Another study showed that black tea polyphenols could influence gut bacteria, which may encourage weight loss.
The tea may modify intestinal bacteria ratios, lowering the number of bacteria linked with obesity, and increasing the number of bacteria linked with leaner physiques.
Improves Heart Health
High blood pressure, known as hypertension, can be fatal, as it increases the chances of heart disease.
Research indicates that black or green tea intake may decrease blood pressure. This was more likely in people that had blood pressure in hypertensive, or prehypertension ranges.
Ceylon green tea intake may enhance arterial health. EGCG within the tea may help avoid atherosclerosis, a condition that involves fatty deposits accumulating and narrowing the arteries.
Catechins within Ceylon green tea, particularly EGCG, may be useful in treating the primary phase of prostate cancer, known as prostate hyperplasia.
As Ceylon green tea contains a lot of impressive antioxidants, the beverage may work well at fighting cancer. Polyphenols within the tea may prevent cancerous tumors from growing and spreading.
EGCG is one of the most significant antioxidants within green tea that may help fight cancer. EGCG may encourage the death of cancer cells, helping to battle several types of cancer.
Even though studies have shown that certain types of tea may reduce the risk of cancer, tea consumption shouldn’t be used as a substitute for effective cancer treatment.
More human studies are required to look at the connection between cancer cells and tea.
Both green and black Ceylon tea varieties may be useful in diabetes treatment. The teas may decrease high blood sugar levels, and could even reduce the risk of diabetes-related cataracts.
Ceylon green tea also contains catechins which could enhance serum insulin levels. This may help people living with diabetes control their blood sugar levels.
Japanese researchers also found that people who drank more than six cups of green tea per day had a 33% less chance of developing diabetes.
Individuals who drank green tea regularly for ten years also had smaller waist measurements. This is significant, as larger waist circumferences are linked to a greater risk of diabetes.
Improves Immune Levels
Ceylon green tea contains antioxidants which are important regarding immune levels. The antioxidants fight free radicals and consequent oxidative stress to improve immune function.
Green tea also contains flavonoids and polyphenols which can support the immune system.
Ceylon green tea may help immune cells fight disease by identifying and remembering harmful pathogens. As a result, consuming Ceylon tea may be a good way of improving immunity.
Avoiding Kidney Stones
Ceylon tea may reduce your risk of kidney stones. Kidney stones are generally composed of calcium oxalate. The stones form when calcium builds up in the urinary tract.
Research indicates that green tea oxalate may attach to the calcium oxalate, turning them into a different structure. This reduces the chances of the substance building up to create stones.
Ceylon tea also contains EGCG, which has antioxidant properties. These antioxidants can defend cells inside the kidneys, preventing them from oxalate-related toxicity. This can help lower your risk of kidney stones.
Green tea intake is also linked with fewer kidney stone incidents, though these effects are more noticeable in men.
Improved Brain Health
Even though Ceylon green tea contains less caffeine (see also: Which Tea Has The Most Caffeine?)than coffee, the caffeine can still act as a mood enhancer and make you feel more awake, without feeling jittery or jumpy.
The tea also contains L-theanine. This is an amino acid that can travel between the brain and blood. Research shows that sufficient amounts of L-theanine can have a noticeable effect on mental attentiveness.
L-theanine can also encourage GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) actions. GABA is a neurotransmitter that is known for its calming, stress-reducing effects. This is ideal for anyone dealing with anxiety or other mental health conditions.
Ceylon green tea may also improve mental abilities in older people that are at risk of cognitive decline, though more studies are needed to confirm this.
Encourages Good Skin
Ceylon tea contains antioxidants that are linked to better skin. Antioxidants can fight free radicals to reduce the effects they have on the skin.
EGCG is one of the most effective antioxidants which can have impressive skin-related healing effects.
Polyphenols within green tea are also photoprotective. Research displays that these substances can help avoid skin conditions related to UVB sunlight rays, like melanoma, photoaging, and other types of skin cancer.
Possible Side Effects
Ceylon tea can be a tasty and healthy drink to add to your diet, as long as you enjoy it in moderation. However, there are some potential side effects related to caffeine that you should be aware of.
Ceylon tea can have between 14 and 61 milligrams of caffeine per cup, based on the kind of tea you choose. Caffeine is connected to issues like high blood pressure, anxiety, digestive problems, and insomnia.
If you are pregnant, you should curb your caffeine intake to under 200 mg each day. Caffeine can get past the placenta to increase the risk of low birth weight or miscarriage.
Caffeine may also affect some drugs, like antibiotics and stimulants, as well as medications for asthma and heart conditions.
Ceylon tea does contain much less caffeine than coffee, so it’s a nice substitute for anyone looking to reduce their caffeine intake.
Despite this, it’s easy to drink more cups than you need. You can lower your risk of negative side effects by only drinking a few servings per day.
If you have any worries about caffeine consumption, talk to your doctor or medical provider about your concerns.
Storage And Purchasing Advice
Try to purchase loose Ceylon tea leaves whenever possible, as this ensures the product is of high quality.
You can go for tea bags if you prefer, but aim to find products with the specific Sri Lankan lion logo. The Sri Lankan Tea Board owns this image, which is trademarked worldwide.
Always store Ceylon tea in a clean, airtight case. Keep the tea in a cool, dry location that’s free from heat, light, moisture, and strong odors.
Ceylon tea comes from Sri Lanka. The tea is mainly black, though some manufacturers increase their range to include green tea too.
Ceylon tea contains a lot of antioxidants that may have several health benefits, like improving immunity, aiding weight loss, and reducing the risk of cancer.
However, as it does contain caffeine, it’s best to limit your serving to a few cups a day.
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