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) in to Sri Lanka. And in about 1658 the Dutch who held the authority over 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 coffee market in Europe. The first coffee plantation was set-up by Sir Edward Barnes (later became the governor) in 1823 at Sinhayapitiya, in Gampola area. When towards the end of 1847 coffee plantation acreage was around 276,000 acres .In 1870, the Ceylon with the Ceylon Coffee brand was the world’s largest producer of coffee, exporting over a million hundred weights (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 analogue forest to Tropical Rain Forest is man made but naturalized over generations. This Agro Forestry system is essentially organic since no agro chemicals are used and no any maintenance at all. The coffee grown under this system has intrinsic quality. Because, it occurs in different geography as well as experiences unusual micro climatic (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 is so greater than any others in the world.

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