I still remember visiting my grandfather's tea garden as a little girl. It was located in Welimada, Sri Lanka, in the Uwa district, where world-renowned Ceylon Tea grew.
I watched the women pluck tea leaves with baskets on their backs and scarves around their heads to protect them from the warming sun. My mother tied a pillowcase around my neck, and I went tea plucking with them. That's when I first learned the 'fine pluck'- two leaves and a bud.
My late grandfather, Arthur Peris Jayawardene, was the first Sri Lankan who got to a management position in a tea estate owned by the British. Later, he bought a tea garden and grew tea organically. Caring genuinely for his workers, he let them cut trees from his land to build better houses and provided cow's milk to pregnant women to enhance their nutrition. Following his footprints, I source organically and ethically.
Ayurvedic medicine was a part of our everyday living. A local herbalist would prescribe a handful of herbs, flowers and spices, and when you brew in a clay pot, it is called 'kashaya. That was the first aid for any mood and malady.
My heritage and passion for nutrition and healthy living Influenced me to design the spiced tea collection. I was fortunate to get my training and education on tea and tea blending from the industry specialist Sylvana Levesque from the International Tea Education Institute.
In early 2019 I went to Sri Lanka to source black tea. In the Spring of that year, I read many published, peer-reviewed scientific research papers and documented the information on an excel sheet. In the Summer, I got some samples of the ingredients and spent days and days perfecting the blends. Then in the Fall, I made the second trip to source spices and herbs and brought them in suitcases! Finally, in November, I had a product packaged, labelled and ready to sell.
Embracing the modern trend of drinking tea blends yet making them all-natural with ayurvedic herbs and spices without adding flavours or sweeteners was a challenge. I have crafted the teas with carefully sourced ingredients to my heart's satisfaction. I hope you enjoy them!
Cheers to your health and happiness!
Dami Rodrigo, BSc, RHN
Registered Holistic Nutritionist
Master Tea Sommelier