Proudly served as part of the Afternoon Tea menu at The Milestone, Lovers Leap tea has a fascinating and regal story behind it. The tea is grown at the Pedro Tea Estate in Nuwara Eliya, one of Ceylon’s most inspiring and captivating tea plantations. The area is Sri Lanka’s highest tea growing region, and the estate is situated 6000ft above sea level. Nuwara Eliya is known for its rugged terrain and crisp mountain air that’s scented with eucalyptus and wild mint. The environment here of moderate rainfall and frosty nights creates a unique microclimate for producing a tea that is known by connoisseurs as one of the finest in the world.
Once the getaway for those working for the Raj in Ceylon, colonial officials, businessman and families would retreat to Nuwara Eliya during the hot humid months of April to June. The mark of the colonial era can still be felt in the area today; many of the houses have been built in an English style, visitors will spot red post boxes dotted across the town and the British who arrived in Sri Lanka also played a part in establishing the tea fields on the surrounding slopes.
Pedro is the most famous of Nuwara Eliya’s tea estates; covering 515.80 hectares, the plantation can be found in the centre of the region and produces some of the country’s best-known teas under the name of Lovers Leap. Named after the waterfall that is found on the estate, the name Lovers Leap is inspired by the legend of a Prince who fell in love and eloped to Nuwara Eliya. When the king’s men where sent in pursuit of the prince, the lovers had leapt from the waterfall that now forms part of the Plantation.
Whilst history does not verify the story of the lovers, more recent events at Lovers Leap do connect the estate to royalty. During a state visit to Ceylon in 1954, The Duke of Edinburgh visited Lovers Leap to commission the newly constructed estate factory. Whilst on the visit, the Duke helped plant a new field of tea bushes and, under the watchful eye of the team at Pedro, the Duke’s tea bushes have thrived and have helped create the unmistakable flavour of Lovers Leap Teas.
The royal association continued in 2012, when the tea from Lovers Leap was exclusively selected to be served at the state banquet marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. A partner of Red Carnation Hotels, P.M.David Silva & Sons, waits until February and March each year to purchase its teas from Lovers Leap. The dry weather during these months, along with the winds that blow in from the southwest of Sri Lanka, help produce a tea that is considerably lighter in body but fuller in flavour. The result is a colour in the cup that is a bright golden yellow and tastes of citrus, winter green and the unmistakable eucalyptus and mint note on the back pallet. The tea is best enjoyed plain, or with a slice of lemon.
Lovers Leap tea can be enjoyed during Afternoon Tea at The Milestone hotel.
Image Credits: Lead image © iStock/tunart. Tea plantation © iStock/the-essy. All other images courtesy of PMD Tea.