Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tientsin Ceylon Tea Trails Bungalow

After a gut-crushing car ride, we made it to this beautiful slice of Sri Lanka, high in the hill country tea growing region. Clouds came and went across the steep mountain tops, but birds were singing and flitting around the veranda as we settled in for high tea. Named after the Chinese village where the tea plants originated, Tientsin is a National Historic Landmark. It was built in 1888 and is one of the original plantation homes built in the country. At 4,600 feet, the air is cool and moist.

We spent a relaxing day exploring the terraced English gardens, birdwatching, walking and eating. The food was amazing!

Everywhere you looked were tea groves, most with a scattering of tall trees to provide some shade.There is actually only one kid of tea plant - worldwide. The taste, grade, tannins, quality, price, etc. is all a function of elevation (higher is better), oxidation speed, sorting, and hand vs. machine harvested. Once every four years, they radically prune back the bushes to leave only one main trunk. Some of the plants can be many decades old, and in China they can be 1000's of years old.

Tientsin is part of a collection of four properties which are using tourism to help support the tea work and the broader community. (Homes, electricity, schools, health care, etc.) They produce some tea considered "Fair Trade" (workers earn 50 cents a day more) but there is not much demand for it...consumers would rather pay less.

Tientsin Bungalow

Main living room

Grand hallway...I could get used to this!

Our bedroom

Our sitting area

Lap pool

Cottage detail

Pond

Interesting pond plants

100 year old arbor over the stairway

This garden was pie shaped to create an interesting depth of field

Precious cherub sundial 

Fascinating vine, glorious superba, that climbed with curled leaves. Endemic to Sri Lanka.

More tea!