Tea, just like wine, is dependent on its terroir. The natural alchemy of the earth, wind, rain and sun comes together to give tea its own unique personality based on its place of origin. The Sri Lankan tea country is as vivid as it is stunning with 4 tea growing regions Ran Watte, Uda Watte, Meda Watte and Yata Watte. A journey through the Watte Estates by Dilmah is an extraordinary trip through the variations and elevations of Ceylon tea. Maarten Riebeek Tea master of restaurant Voltaire * offers this journey as a tea tasting experience for special occasions and upon request.
The Ran Watte region is Nuwara Eliya where acres and acres of tea with its lush green foliage extend miles across the hills. The city of Nuwara Eliya means the 'city of lights' or the city of eternal spring. It has been said, "Nuwara Eliya is to Ceylon Tea, what champagne is to French wine." Situated 1890 metres above sea level, the air here is cool and fresh - a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of sultry Colombo.
Maarten “This tea is perfect with light and fresh food, scallops with a elegant vinaigrette of lime or even lobster will get the most of this tea with subtle flavour of vanilla, citrus, something biscuity. On the sweet side it will align perfectly with a vanilla soufflé or some carrot cake”
The region of Dimbula was one of the first areas to be planted after tea took over from coffee in the 1870's. The crisp, cool air creates a distinctive high grown full bodied, rounded and refreshing blend. It is home to one of the most significant landmarks in the country - Sri Pada, or as it was formerly named, Adam's Peak. It is Sri Lanka's second highest peak at 7360 feet (2243 metres), but second to none in its cultural importance.
Maarten “Uda Watte is my cup of tea personally, it has a robust flavour or but in the distant also quite smooth. We pair this tea with our style of pigeon, but it can also accompany fillet of plaice with mushrooms. We love this tea so much that it has been specially packed for us. Our own signature tea at Parc Broekhuizen”
Meda Watte tea grows at 2000-3000 feet (610-925 metres) and, in the style of Shiraz, is renowned as a mid grown strong, pungent, full-bodied tea. 488 metres above sea level is the lovely city of Kandy, Sri Lanka's hill capital, stronghold of the Sinhala Kings, and one of Sri Lanka's most beautiful towns. Next to Colombo, it is Sri Lanka's most visited place. Kandy retains an aura of grandeur which time has not effaced.
Maarten: “There is so much in this tea that gives the palette a boost. We really like to pair it with Wagyu A5 because the sturdiness cuts through the fattiness of the meat. The strong bodied flavor of the tea is also excellent to make a mocktail with chili pepper and lime juice with it!”
Yata Watte tea grows beside the Indian Ocean and up to an elevation of 1000 feet (305 metres). Black in appearance, it is readily recognised as low grown heavy, robust, deep colour tea. In the region of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka’s fourth biggest town, Galle, home to the Kiruwana Ganga Plantation, is where you will find the Yata Watte being lovingly cultivated. 116 km South of Colombo, with an old-world charm, Galle is the most important southern town in Sri Lanka.
Maarten “In Yata we will lose ourself in the aromas of these deep and pure black tea. It’s the most sturdy one with some malted barley and chocolate. This is a dream with dark chocolate accompanied in dessert but as well with some charred/grilled vegetables. This is the tea for me to drink with a traditional zuurvlees from the south of the Netherlands."
Did you fall in love with Watte teas? Or if you have more questions, please feel free to contact us.