“Tea for Debt” Sri Lanka

  Recently, Sri Lanka has faced problems such as lack of foreign exchange, shortage of materials, soaring prices, and shortage of power supply. The huge debt makes it possible to go bankrupt at any time. It is reported that Sri Lanka has been forced to take out tea to offset its foreign debt, hoping to solve the urgent need. As a country dominated by agriculture, Sri Lanka’s most important export product is Ceylon black tea, which is also known as “the world’s four major black teas” together with China’s Keemun black tea, India’s Assam black tea and India’s Darjeeling black tea. For “a gift to the world”.
  Under economic pressure in recent years, Sri Lanka has begun to try to use Ceylon tea to pay off its foreign debt. In December last year, Sri Lanka announced an agreement with Iran to use tea to repay Iran’s $250 million oil debt, hoping to repay the debt by sending $5 million worth of Ceylon black tea every month. At present, Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen to a low point, and the government has to repay huge debts. Therefore, “payment of tea in installments” may ease the pressure on Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange shortage. This is the first time in Sri Lanka’s history that tea has been used to settle debts with foreign countries, and it is also a new mission given by Sri Lanka to Ceylon tea.
  In Sinhalese, “Sri Lanka” means “Land of Prosperity” and “Land of Brightness and Prosperity”. It was once hailed by Marco Polo as the most beautiful island in the world. , There are also rich products, the most famous of which is tea. If you have been on a SriLankan Airlines flight, you will find that the traditional dress sari worn by the flight attendants is dark green because it is the color of Ceylon tea. Tea is indispensable for Sri Lankans every day. Tea is required for three meals a day. In addition, morning tea and afternoon tea are drunk in the morning and afternoon. The tea the locals drink is very strong. They like to add sugar and milk to the tea, and the taste of the strong tea is neutralized a lot. At present, the food inflation rate in Sri Lanka has reached 25.7%. Under the shortage of materials, the government has to implement rationing of daily necessities such as milk powder, sugar and rice. Some Sri Lankans don’t dare to drink milk tea anymore, because milk powder is too expensive, so they only dare to drink sweet tea with a little sugar added, and some changes have taken place in their lifestyles.
  In the 1820s, Chinese tea was introduced to Sri Lanka by the British, who cultivated tea on a large scale there. Because Sri Lanka has always been called Ceylon during the colonial period, the tea produced here is also called Ceylon tea. Tea is one of Sri Lanka’s main exports and the country’s main source of foreign exchange earnings.
  The tea plantation is a unique landscape in Sri Lanka. Walking among the tea gardens, the eyes are full of green tea plants, strips and veins, very neat, like the entire mountain is covered by a delicately trimmed cyan blanket. Dressed in brightly coloured tea-pickers, they pick tea in the tea garden. They carry small baskets on their backs and only pick the tallest and tenderest leaves on the top of the tea tree. It is said that this not only protects the growth of the tea tree, but also ensures the consistency of the tea’s taste. The top shoots are the finest tea leaves and must be picked by hand. Among the green tea trees, you can often see some signs with the name of the tea factory or the brand of the tea on it. Every tea plantation has huge road signs.
  Many tea factories not only specialize in processing tea, but also develop tourism services for visiting tea gardens and tea factories. Some tea factories have specially set up tea tasting rooms for tourists to provide free tea tasting. Tourists can choose the products of the tea factory according to their own preferences. In addition, there are professional tea factory tour guides to explain the processing method of tea for tourists – drying first, then entering the machine, and processing it into finished tea through the steps of chopping, rolling, low-temperature oxidation, drying, and grading.
  Tea shops can be seen everywhere in Sri Lanka. There are many varieties of Ceylon tea in the shop. In addition to black tea, green tea, and white tea, there are also different flavors of tea, such as cherry tea, pineapple tea, orange tea, and even chili tea. You can choose any flavor you like here. Tea is also featured prominently in Sri Lankan supermarkets, tourist souvenir shops, and specialty shops in hotels. It can be said that Ceylon tea has become a cultural card of Sri Lanka.