Sri Lanka is a unique tea growing country because the tropical climate allows for continual, year-round harvesting. Known as Ceylon until 1972, the island of Sri Lanka lies a mere 19 miles from the southern coast of India. Blessed with ideal trade winds and geographic diversity, the humid, tropical climate is offset by mountains in the south rising to altitudes of over 8,000 feet. Today, Sri Lanka is the world's fourth largest tea producer and its famous leaves (still called "Ceylon") are cherished for their taste and consistent quality. It was as far back as the year 1824 in which the British brought a tea plant from China to Ceylon. It was planted in the Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, and is considered to have been the first non-commercial tea plant in Sri Lanka.
Tea in Sri Lanka is classified by elevation: low, medium or high grown. Each is distinct, creating remarkable variety for a country which produces black tea almost exclusively.