Ceylon Tea

Ceylon Tea: Anatomy of a Brand


Located beneath the Southern tip of India on the Bay of Bengal, this tear shaped island was first introduced to tea by an English Planter, James Taylor. It proved to be fortuitous match as the lush fertile soil of the country, produced tea that captured the taste buds of the world. Sri Lanka at the time known as Ceylon, a far flung corner of the British Empire became prominent, curtsey of its tea.

In 1972 the government of the day decided to change the name of the country, after having retained the name of Ceylon – given by the British – a quarter of a century after independence. This posed a dilemma to the industry as it had to consider abandoning its painstakingly built up world famous brand – Ceylon Tea. Finally, after much deliberation the industry chose to retain its old brand while country embraced its new name – Sri Lanka.

A Legal Definition


To qualify for the special, legal distinction denoted by the words “Ceylon Tea”, and for the famous Lion logo that goes with it, the tea must not only be grown and manufactured entirely in Sri Lanka; it must also conform to strict quality standards laid down and administered by the Sri Lanka Tea Board. It cannot, moreover, be mixed or blended with tea from any other part of the world. Even a blend that is 95% Sri Lankan cannot be described as Ceylon Tea.

Tea bearing the lion logo must be packed in Sri Lanka. Overseas importers and distributors cannot use the logo on their packaging, though if the contents are 100% Sri Lankan, the name “Ceylon Tea” may be used.

The Lion of Ceylon


Invisibly associated with the Ceylon Tea brand is the famous Lion of Ceylon logo, based on the Lion of Ceylon, an ancient heraldic device which decorates the national flag of Sri Lanka. It was first adopted by the Tea Propaganda Board, and is a registered trademark in over a hundred countries around the world.