Present-day Sri Lanka was once known as Ceylon and this picturesque island has a rich history steeped in the traditions of tea. In 1867, James Taylor, a Scot living as the superintendent of the Loolecondera estate in Ceylon, planted the first tea estate in the region.
To this day, tea production remains a key source for foreign exchange for Sri Lanka and is a billion dollar industry. Sri Lanka’s humidity, cool temperatures and rainfall provide a perfect climate for Ceylon tea, which is beloved for its unmatched quality.
Ceylon tea comes from the Camellia sinensis bush, just like any other green or black tea, but it’s special because it’s grown only in Sri Lanka. Depending on how long the tea leaves are fermented, you can find white, green or black varieties of Ceylon tea.
3 Benefits of Ceylon Tea for Older Adults
1. Ceylon tea is heart smart.
Polyphenols are responsible for most of the health benefits of Ceylon tea. All types of black tea contain polyphenols, antioxidants that help protect our cells from DNA damage.
Tea polyphenols have a number of health-giving properties, including the prevention of many diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis and cardiovascular disease. A recent meta-analysis (a collection of many studies) investigating the benefits of tea consumption on heart health concluded that drinking three cups of tea a day was associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
2. Drink Ceylon tea to relax and unwind.
It may seem odd that a caffeine-containing beverage like Ceylon tea has a relaxing effect, but it’s true. Studies show that tea has the ability to both heighten alertness because of its caffeine content, while also providing a notable increase in relaxation. The feeling of relaxation that comes without inducing drowsiness is thanks to L-theanine, a natural amino acid found in tea.
3. Ceylon tea may improve bone mineral density.
Though high caffeine intake is believed to be a risk factor for reduced bone mineral density in women, a past study which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that although black tea contains caffeine, it also contains other nutrients, such as flavonoids (phytonutrients) that may influence bone mass in different ways.
Look for the Lion Logo of Authenticity
In 1986, the Analytical Laboratory of the Sri Lanka Tea Board was established to uphold the quality of Ceylon tea exported to countries around the world. The lab tests and inspects Ceylon tea and certifies country of origin by stamping Ceylon tea packs with a lion logo to denote authenticity.
How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Ceylon Tea
From your first sip of authentic Ceylon tea, you’ll know you’ve found something special. Perfect tea-growing conditions in Sri Lanka give Ceylon tea its characteristic citrusy aroma and refreshingly sweet notes, reminiscent of mandarin and grapefruit. Ceylon tea is most commonly found as a black tea, but green and white (or “silver tip”) varieties are also available. You can purchase it loose-leaf or in tea bags.
Brew Ceylon tea as you would any other black or green tea. If you’re using tea bags, use one bag for each cup. If you’re brewing loose leaf tea, use one teaspoon for every cup (8 oz.) of water. Steep it for a minimum of three minutes to get the most antioxidants into each cup.
Editor’s note: Since it contains caffeine, you can definitely go overboard on Ceylon tea. Too much caffeine may cause rapid heartbeat, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, headache and nervousness. If you take medication(s) that interact with caffeine, speak to your pharmacist before adding black tea to your diet.