The Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) will be setting up tea shops across the island to let the public enjoy a quality cuppa at an affordable price, according to the Plantation Industries Minister.
“Although we export Pure Ceylon tea, Sri Lankans don’t have the benefit of drinking good quality tea. So, through the Tea Board, or through another company floated through the equity of the Tea Board, we will have some very good tea outlets,” Naveen Dissanayake said.
He said that 20-30 outlets will be set up, but the exact model on whether it would be a tea retail shop or a tea lifestyle cafe has yet to be decided. The SLTB already operates one tea cafe named ‘Ceylon Tea Moments’ at the Race Course, managed by SriLankan Catering. It is set up similar to privately owned luxury tea cafes catering to the modern urban lifestyle. Dissanayake said that the new outlets will not be of a similar nature. “I haven’t formulated the exact brand model, (but) I don’t want to have one like in the Sports Ministry. That is a colossal loss. I want tourists and locals to have an affordable, good cup of Sri Lankan tea,” he added.
He noted that the financials of the Ceylon Tea Moments would be looked at to change the brand or operating model of the establishment.
Tea lifestyle is gaining ground across the world and other such establishments in Sri Lanka are becoming successful capitalizing on the economic growth experienced by the upper and middle class of the country.
A majority of Sri Lankans drink the low-grown lowest quality Fannings or Dust grade tea, as the higher quality teas are exported to earn valuable foreign exchange.