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Spring 2022 – James Taylor, The Father of Ceylon Tea, Part 1

In October 1851, 16-year-old James Taylor left his native Scotland and stood on the bow of a ship, the Sydney, headed for a new land — the pear-shaped, tropical island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), located in the Indian Ocean 15 miles off the southeast coast of India. He had just signed a letter of engagement with a Mr. George Pride of Kandy, Ceylon, which committed him to a 3-year contract “to act in the capacity of assistant superintendent” at the Narenghena Estate, a budding coffee plantation. Accompanied by his cousin, Henry Stiven, on the 3-month voyage, the two young kinsmen arrived in Colombo in February 1852. (read the full article on page 46 of our Spring Quarterly)

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Darjeeling's Royal Flush - Wine Spectator

Upton's tea procurer Nicole Patterson, 31,selects standout lots from hundreds of samples every year. Patterson developed a passion for tea while working at the now-closed Tealuxe in Harvard Square; five years ago, she transferred her expertise to Upton. She was planning to visit the Darjeeling district of India in March 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic intervened, forcing her to cancel the trip. At press time, the country’s tea production was shut down due to the pandemic, meaning that first flush Darjeeling may be hard to come by for the foreseeable future. Click Here to read the rest of the article.

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“Reversals of Fortune in the Tea Industry” series