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Wangedi Pekoe – Long live the village cuppa or Juliet goes Wangedi

Wangedi Pekoe – Long live the village cuppa or Juliet goes Wangedi

By Juliet Coombe

You have heard of white tea, green and BOP and OP, but if you really want the true Sri Lankan village experience then head to Jetwing Warwick Gardens where Wangedi Pekoe is the best way to start your day at the bungalow.

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Wangedi always brings a sparkle to peoples eyes and sounds like the quest for Big Foot or something even more mysterious, but through the mountain mists you will find women pounding the mortar with a kittle pestle using naturally withered tea leaves from sitting in the sun not machine created, but old village style going back to the British occupation in which the true tea picker turned the leaves into gold dust tea.

Meena making the local tea_opt

After drying the leaves use a pot of hot water and frying pan known as double roasting,  and then it is further dried in the sun and can be drunk an hour or so later straight from adding hot water to the tea dust, which gives women stamina while the men at the end of the day sadly spend their earnings going moonshining. The local women I talked to do not add sugar as this makes you more thirsty and the milk is very expensive at 150 rupees a bottle and something they reserve for the children and babies.

To make Juliet’s tea as my batch became known you need a large basket of leaves, from 5 kilos you get one kilo, which will sustain the family for three weeks. To avoid pluckers stealing tea estates gives the labour dust historically as part of their monthly free allowance, which stops issues of crime in the plantation. Experiencing this old village style tea making is magic as the tea looks golden in colour and the aroma makes one long for the bygone years of the tea country and bungalow style living. My tea was so good that the Jetwing Warwick Gardens staff packaged it up and called it tea with a J factor. My only worry now is that it was so good from all my mortar pounding that Dilmah may have to watch out in case I decide on a career change.

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