Ceylon tea is a brand of tea produced in Sri Lanka, and it also refers to the tea from the country’s land. It is considered not only a geographical descriptor but also a pillar of Sri Lankan culture, heritage, and identity. The Sri Lanka Tea Board is the legal proprietor of the Lion Logo of Ceylon tea. As of 2019, Sri Lanka was the fourth largest tea producer and the third largest tea exporter in the world, with the Lion Logo registered in 98 countries as of 2016. However, Ceylon tea is increasingly facing rising production costs, mainly due to increasing wages, fuel prices, and utility costs.
Packaging Criteria for Ceylon Tea
In order for the Lion Logo to appear on a tea pack, the pack must meet four criteria. The logo should only appear on a consumer pack, contain 100 percent pure Ceylon tea, be packed in Sri Lanka, and conform to the quality standards set out by the Sri Lanka Tea Board. Ceylon tea is a recognized tea because of its controlled production and should be sold in its value-refined form to yield higher margins. Restricting the usage of the logo only to licensed companies would ensure the quality of the tea and capture the interest of more customers who appreciate a certified quality product.
Ceylon Tea in the Market
The market for pure teas such as “pure Ceylon tea” is considered a niche market, occupying only 10 percent of the global market. Data analysis reveals that Sri Lanka’s market share has been decreasing continuously, whereas the share of Kenyan tea has been increasing at a higher rate, penetrating into Sri Lanka’s market share. More than 50 percent of Sri Lanka’s tea exports are still in the traditional bulk tea, while value-added tea products (green tea, flavored tea, organic tea, instant tea, iced tea, and ready-to-drink tea) account for 40 to 45 percent of total tea exports. All types of value-added tea products yield a higher price than the bulk tea exports. However, the global consumer preferences for tea are changing, and more convenient tea products meet a growing demand in the global market. Even though the Sri Lankan tea industry has a competitive advantage, it finds difficulties in capitalizing on the advantage owing to the inability of engaging in international marketing activities.
Ceylon Tea Benefits
Ceylon tea variety offers numerous health benefits that people have known about for thousands of years.
- Weight loss
Ceylon tea, especially green tea, can boost metabolism, burn fat faster and more efficiently, reduce fat formation and increase fat breakdown. One study showed that moderately obese green tea drinkers experienced a 4.6% reduction in body weight and a 4.48% reduction in their waistline. Drinking four cups of green tea per day over eight weeks also significantly reduced body weight and BMI of obese people and metabolic syndrome sufferers. Black tea also has weight loss benefits, but it is important to limit the amount of sugar added.
- Skin health
Ceylon tea, particularly green tea, is rich in minerals, polyphenols and tannins. These ingredients provide the skin with antioxidant and antibacterial properties that reduce collagen loss, improve elasticity, keep skin taut and strong, and reduce wrinkles and dryness. Black tea also contains vitamins B2, C and E, which produce healthy new skin cells and combat radical-induced oxidative damage that causes skin ageing.
- Heart function and stroke prevention
Ceylon tea contains higher levels of potassium than teas grown in other regions, providing 25mg of potassium per cup. Potassium acts as a vasodilator, relaxing veins and arteries to reduce blood pressure and ease the load on the heart. Regular tea drinkers also have good cardiovascular health and are at 13% less risk of stroke than non-tea drinkers. Catechins present in tea also strengthen arteries and reduce their hardening and clogging.
- Cognitive function and mental health
Ceylon tea aids cognitive function and improves mental health. Regular tea drinkers have better-organised brain regions and healthier cognitive functions than non-tea drinkers. White tea improves brain function by fighting inflammation and preventing the buildup of nerve-damaging proteins in the brain. It also reduces anxiety by producing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that lowers the activity of neurons in the brain, producing a calming effect.
- Diabetes prevention
Ceylon tea, particularly black tea, is effective at regulating insulin and blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of contracting diabetes and avoiding dangerous oscillations in blood sugar levels.
Is Ceylon Tea the Same as Earl Grey Tea?
Despite popular belief, Ceylon tea is not the same as Earl Grey tea. Ceylon tea is a black tea produced in Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon), while Earl Grey tea is a blend of black teas that is flavored with bergamot oil. While both teas are black teas, they have distinct differences in taste and appearance.