Brown & Co., PLC was recently entrusted with the conversion of the existing Waldemar orthodox Tea Factory situated in the Udapussellawa district to manufacture Oolong tea.
The factory nestled between the extreme cold temperatures in the highlands of Nuwara Eliya and the upcountry/mid country climates of Uda Pussellawa districts has an agro-friendly climate which offers the ideal conditions for the manufacture of Oolong Tea.
Waldemar had hereto been manufacturing Black tea and as a value addition initiative, Finlays Tea Estates decided to convert it into a dual purpose factorythat manufactures both Green Tea and Oolong Tea.This gives the plantation, the advantage of manufacturingeither type of tea according to market demands.
The manufacture of Oolong tea though new to this country, has a high demand in the world market. This type of tea, predominantly manufactured in Taiwan and China fetches a very high price compared to orthodox teas.With the current dip in the market on the prices of tea, Finlays, hopes to complement the sagging tea market with these value added products in a bid to enhance profitability.
The origin of Oolong tea dates back to almost 400 years, when it found wide usage in China. It has a fruity flavor and a pleasant aroma. Despite its low caffeine content, it can still be extremely relaxing to drink. The health benefits of Oolong tea are basically doubled because of its combined qualities of Black tea and Green tea. The reduction of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, inflammatory disorders, and high cholesterol levels, while providing vital antioxidants, promoting superior bone structure, robust skin and good dental health are some of the benefits of drinking Oolong tea.
Since both Green and Oolong tea do not require conventional withering, the space required for withering and manufacture is minimal. As a result Waldemar factory which was originally a four loft factory, now operates as a modified two loft factory.
Brown & Company PLC (Browns), are indeed honoured of the confidence Finlays has placed in Browns and to have been awarded the contract. The company has invested in high quality machinery from Taiwan and China for the factory. The entire concept, drawing of the plans and the import and installation of machinery was carried out by the Plantation Support Service division of Browns.
This is the 3rdmajor contract that has been awarded to Browns. The others were; Installation of the second line of CTC at Duckwari Estate and the CTC line at Hapugastenne Estate to complement the existing
Structural alterations have also been carried out in the factory building, enabling smoother internal operations.The manufacturing line of Green tea has been automated in order to minimise handling. As a result, the required man power has significantly dropped due to the improved manufacturing process of Oolong tea.
“The setting up of this first ever Oolong tea factory in Sri Lanka, is a turnkey project as it involved the transfer of knowledge in the manufacture of Oolong tea. Browns, was able to send representatives from Finlays to Taiwan to master the manufacturing of Tea and in turn bring in experts to Waldemar from Taiwan in-order to train the factory personnel in the manufacturing of these specialty Teas. Today Waldemar manufactures a very high quality Oolong tea, which is on par with the best from Taiwan”. Said Jeremy Rajiah, General Manager - Plantation Support Services.