An account of the largest Ceylon tea exporter
A brief about the Ceylon tea company
It is noteworthy that both Ceylon tea and the family of Akbar Brothers were destined to begin in Sri Lanka in the same significant decade of 1860's. Such long, rich and invaluable family experience in tea merchandising, prompted three brothers of the younger generation, Abbas, Abid and Inayet to collectively take the initiative of propelling the cherished family tradition to new heights. Accordingly, they took leave of the parent company M. S. Hebthulabhoy & Co. in 1969 to form the company Akbar Brothers. Rapid growth in business warranted this enthusiastic new company to be incorporated, and thus emerged Akbar Brothers Limited in 1972. Consequently, 'Akbar' was acknowledged as the flagship brand of finest quality Ceylon teas from Sri Lanka .
The tale of the largest Ceylon tea exporters
Tea Merchants with over 100 years’ family tradition
History of both Ceylon tea and Akbar Brothers family were destined to commence in the same era in Sri Lanka in the 1860's. James Taylor, a Scotsman, planted the first tea sapling in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon ) in 1867 whilst in 1864, the great-grand father of present Akbar brothers' Shaikh Hebtulabhoy, left his native India , and settled down in Sri Lanka . His son Tyeabally Shaikh Hebtulabhoy pioneered the family in to the thriving Sri Lanka tea industry, by forming M. S. Hebtulabhoy & Company Limited. Tea historian D. M. Forrest's 'A Hundred Years of Ceylon Tea' book in page 152 states thus: Very large purchases today, for the Middle East market in particular, are such firms as Hebtulabhoy & Co established in Colombo for generations, began shipping tea abroad in 1907.
In time, Tyeabally Shaikh Hebtulabhoy's grandsons- Abbas, Abid and Inayet Akbarally - who too were well versed in tea, relinquished their positions in Hebtulabhoys & Co., and formed Akbar Brothers in 1969. Within 3 short years Akbar Brothers succeeded in making significant breakthroughs in to major tea markets in the Middle East , and elsewhere.
Largest exporter of Ceylon tea
Akbar Brothers Limited was incorporated in 1972. Significantly, in the same year, the father of these founders retired from the Chairmanship of Hebtulabhoys & Co. and joined his sons, making available his 40 years experience in the highest echelons of tea industry. Moreover, the flourish thus set, kept up its' momentum for the company to become the largest tea exporter. For 14 consecutive years since 1992, Akbar Brothers Limited has been acknowledged as the biggest Sri Lanka tea exporter. Further, "Akbar" became the flagship brand of finest Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka .
The strengths of the Ceylon tea supplier in the industry
Akbar Teas' excellence wins world recognition
As tea merchants owning a unique family tradition stretching back over 100 years, it was natural indeed for Akbar Brothers Limited to become the first ever Sri Lankan tea company to be awarded the internationally recognized ISO 9002 and HACCP quality certificates. Prior to that, the prestigious 'Lion' logo endorsement of Sri Lanka Tea Board for Pure Ceylon Tea was awarded as well. More wholesome and decisive acclaim came from the Sri Lanka Marketing Institute when they consistently honored 'Akbar' tea as the "International Brand of the Year". These come as further confirmation of the superiority of the overall quality of this flagship brand of finest Ceylon tea.
Stringent quality control at Akbar Brothers premises has been primarily entrusted to a workforce of dedicated, experienced and qualified personnel. Their task is aided by the high-tech state-of-the-art machinery imported from Germany , Italy and Japan and the other latest communication systems in place.
Nevertheless, since quality of tea is a time-honored tradition in Akbar brothers' family, a family member is always at hand to personally check into the quality of tea. Consistent checking for quality occurs at purchasing, storing, processing and just prior to loading for shipment.
Akbar Tea - Ceylon tea's flagship brand from Sri Lanka
Tea which originated from China and subsequently India is identified by the botanical name of “Camellia Thea”. Moreover, it is from India’s botanical garden in Culcutta that the first plant of tea was brought to Ceylon, to the botanical garden at Peradeniya, near Kandy. This was in 1839 on an experimental basis, when the coffee boom was in full swing. Tea started receiving worthwhile attention only after the coffee plantations were devastated subsequently by a leaf disease. James Taylor – a Scotsman - in 1867, is credited with making the first commercial basis tea planting in Ceylon. The success of his pioneering effort at Loolecondera estate was enthusiastically followed by scores of other planters, thus heralding a new era of great promise, productivity and profitability.
History of Ceylon tea
“ Not often is it that men have the heart, when their one great industry is withered, to rear up in a few years another as rich to take its place, and the tea fields of Ceylon are as true a monument to courage as is the lion at Waterloo” – Conan Doyle. By 1880, the hitherto thriving coffee industry in Ceylon had been ravaged to virtual non-existence by the blight. Nearly quarter of million acres of coffee plants were uprooted and the tea (Camellia Thea) plant was accorded its pride of place instead. Thus began the great Ceylon tea industry.This tea saga of Ceylon begins with tea seeds and young tea plants of the Assam jat imported from the Botanical Gardens in Calcutta, being experimentally planted in the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens near Kandy in 1839. In addition, a handful of more enterprising coffee planters too had cleared the odd half acre and planted it with tea. Being chiefly concerned with lucrative coffee, planters in general had no time for tea and those experimental plots too were forgotten in time for some thirty years. However, tea did grow. Moreover, it was noted that tea grew well in the hills of Ceylon.
However, the first commercially planted tea happened in 1867 at Loolecondera estate by a Scotsman named James Taylor when coffee industry was being severely plagued by the blight. The first recorded shipment of tea came five years later in 1872 with the export of 23 pounds, valued at 58 rupees. The first vessel recorded as carrying Ceylon tea to England was the steam-ship ‘Duke Argyll’ in 1877.
By the early 1880’s coffee planters economically devastated by the coffee leaf disease, stampede into tea, which was, then fast gathering momentum. Experienced tea makers and cultivators from China and India were freely given to planters in Ceylon. To meet the unmanageable demand for tea plants, seeds were imported from Assam , and to a lesser extent China , which were natured in tea nurseries in several suitable locations.
Ceylon tea grows from almost sea level to 7000 ft. The climate of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) varies very much according to locality, and, has a marked effect on the flavor and quality of tea.
Tea Regions in Sri Lanka
The cool-breeze touched lush green-carpeted hill country of Sri Lanka is pregnant with the ideal climatic conditions for the growth of the worlds' finest tea, famous for its exquisite, qualities of invigorating flavor, color and taste-buds tickling aroma. However, tea is grown in slopes at three different elevations- 4000 ft above sea level (high grown), between 2000 ft. and 4000 ft. (mid- grown) and finally, below 2000 ft.(low grown).
Each elevation has its own distinctive characteristics in appearance, flavour, aroma and strength. Therefore, different grades of tea, by nature, come from different locations.
Tea ‘healthier’ drink than water
“Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water, and, may even give you extra health benefits” say researchers.
The work in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, whilst dispelling the common belief that tea dehydrates, confirms the fact that tea re-hydrates just as well as water does. But more importantly, UK nutritionists found that it can also protect against heart disease and some cancers.
Experts believe that flavonoids are the key ingredients in tea, which promote good health. These polyphenol antioxidants are found in many foods & plants, including tea leaves, and have been shown to help prevent body cell damage.
Dr. Carrie Ruxton – Public Health Nutritionist and colleagues at Kings College London - looked at published studies on the health effects of tea consumption. They found clear evidence that drinking three to four cups of tea a day can cut the chances of having a heart attack. Claire Wiiliamson of British Nutrition Foundation too confirms the potential health benefits of tea drinking.
Other health benefits seen included protecting against tooth-plaque and potential tooth-decay, plus, bone strengthening.
Dr. Ruxton explained, “Drinking tea is actually better for you than drinking water. For, water is essentially replacing fluid loss. Tea replaces fluids, and, contains antioxidants. So, it got two things going for it.”
There was no evidence that tea drinking is harmful to health. However, research suggests that tea can impair the body’s ability to absorb iron from food, meaning people at risk of anemia should avoid drinking tea around meal times.
How to make a perfect tea
In a pot. Put one tea bag for each person. Add fresh boiling water. Leave it to infuse at least 3 minutes before serving.
In a cup. Put one tea bag in a cup. Add fresh boiling water. Leave it to infuse for 2-3 minutes. Add sugar, milk or lemon if desired.
For iced tea. Prepare hot tea at double strength and pour into ice-filled glasses (melting ice will dilute to serving strength). Serve with sugar, lemon, lime or mint to taste
Ceylon Tea Products
Being the biggest exporter of finest pure Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka, consumers of the world who savours Akbar tea knows quite well the flavours, aromas, colours of these teas. In order to cater to a wider section of the world citizenry, Akbar Brothers Limited has developed their own exclusive tea blends with an exciting range of innovations.
Ceylon Black Tea
The Akbar range of black teas consists of hand picked Ceylon teas chosen for the quality of their blends, rich aromas, and warm colours.These teas are available in a variety of attractive packaging options.
Akbar Green teas are a fine treat that create a relaxing atmosphere, with a soothing aroma, also available in a number of flavours.
Ceylon Herbal Tea
Herbal infusions are a fine blend of natural herbs that bestow health and medicinal benefits to the consumer.The infusions include dried flowers and medicinal roots and comprise mint, camomile and rosehips.
Ceylon Flavoured Tea
The Akbar selections of flavoured teas have been specially blended to enhance the palate with a selection of assorted fruit, mint, caramel and vanilla flavours and aromas.
Ceylon Iced Tea
The ideal refresher for a hot day, the Akbar selection of iced teas are enhanced by a range of flavours that include Lemon, Peach as well as a non flavoured "straight" option.
Elegantly packed and presented in a selection of imaginative presentation options, Akbar gift teas are of the highest standards of quality and are packed to make a tasteful impression on the recipient.
Ideal for hotels, restaurants and resorts where people come to relax and refresh themselves.When kept in an easily accessible manner, they would love to enjoy these invigorating teas at their leisure. The refills will ensure a steady supply.