Story Behind Ceylon Coffee
Wasco de Gama, the great seaman invented the sea route towards south India in about 1200 AD. Thereby Sri Lanka (then Ceylan, Seylan, Thaprobane, etc.) also was linked to the Silk Road at that moment. The Arabs who came along this course introduced Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica . L) into Sri Lanka. And in about 1658 the Dutch who held the authority over the maritime region of Sri Lanka began to cultivate the Arabica Coffee commercially. Afterward, in 1815 the British invaded the whole island and apprehended their authority over the country. Later on, they had developed a taste for coffee cultivation with the growing potential of the coffee market in Europe. The first coffee plantation was set up by Sir Edward Barnes (later became the governor) in 1823 at Sinhayapitiya, in the Gampola area. When towards the end of 1847 coffee plantation acreage was around 276,000 acres. In 1870, Ceylon with the Ceylon Coffee brand was the world’s largest producer of coffee, exporting over a million hundredweights (about 50,000 mt) annually. Unfortunately, in 1886 the Ceylon coffee industry was for all practical purposes dead with a fungal leaf disease called Leaf Rust. Shortly, the world-reputed Ceylon Coffee brand was replaced with Ceylon Tea. With the devastation, residual Arabica Coffee was confined to the Kandyan Forest Gardens (KFG). KFG, an analog forest to Tropical Rain Forest is man-made but naturalized over generations. This Agro-Forestry system is essentially organic since no agrochemicals are used and no maintenance at all. The coffee grown under this system has intrinsic quality. Because, it occurs in different geography as well as experiences unusual microclimates (Wind, Mist, Sunlight, Rain, Temperature, Humidity and Soils conditions, etc,) changes perpetually. Therefore, Coffee growing around 1000m elevation with tropical climate carries unique flavours and aromas that are so greater than any others in the world.