Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Shipping Port: Colombo
Grade: OP (Orange Pekoe)
Altitude: 3000 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: Malty flavor that is full of life and very smooth. A fine tea after dinner or in the afternoon. World renowned for its strong full-bodied cup.
Infusion: Noire tending coppery
Ingredients: Luxury black tea.
This estate was planted in tea at the turn of the century by an English pioneer who named the estate after the famous Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, England. Kenilworth estate is situated close to the town of Ginigathena in the Central Province of Sri Lanka – a part of the Nuwara Eliya district. Fields of the estate overlook the rapids of the ‘Kelani Ganga’, famous for its white water rafting. The river originates in the Adam’s Peak range and in its course plunges over the Aberdeen Falls.
Kenilworth tea is known around the world for its full bodied strong liquors (liquors is a tea tasting term for taste of the tea in the cup) and is considered to be the hallmark of Ceylon medium grown teas. This estate receives an average rainfall of 190 inches per year. The location of the estate is unique in that both the South West and North East monsoons bring rain to this particular region. Kenilworth annually produces about 2 million pounds of tea and employs a work force of 930 people. Kenilworth also is the main factory for 250 small holders (a small holder is an independent farmer who grows tea on small plots of land – generally about 2 or 3 acres). The fact that Kenilworth buys the green leaf from these small holders is important as this act provides a valuable source of income for these independent farmers. One of the main highways between Colombo and Nuwara Eliya passes through the tea fields of Kenilworth. It is quite a sight, the tea pluckers resplendent in their colorful dress wending their way through the impeccably manicured tea fields plucking the ‘two leaves and a bud’.
Kenilworth is a very modern factory and certified under ISO 2002. The factory makes a whole range of various leaf grades from the classic Orange Pekoe (which is the grade of this tea) to BOPF – used in tea bags. The Kenilworth Orange Pekoe grades are the most sought after by any medium grown tea garden.
The estate is owned by Watawala Plantations Limited. The company prides itself in worker relations. The workforce enjoys a good standard of living and a proactive health and safety regime which includes medical benefits, maternity leave, recreational facilities and child welfare including schooling. The company’s policy extends to the area surrounding Kenilworth as it has also set up a vocational training school for the disabled.