A visit to the Virgin White tea factory – KoggalaBack
30 minutes from Galle Fort lies the Handunugoda Tea Estate, perhaps the closest tea plantation in the world to the sea. However, this is not the only thing that makes the Handunugoda Tea Estate special. The estate is known as the Virgin White Tea Factory – it produces a white tea completely untouched by human hands. The process of tea plucking follows an ancient Chinese Ritual where the choicest of teas were cut by virgins who never touched the tea with their bare skin and offered the resulting produce up as a tribute to the Emperor. Handunugoda mimics this tradition, although these days the ‘virgin’ concept only applies to the tea, not the tea pluckers! This white tea is rich in anti-oxidants and is said to be the healthiest tea in the world. Coincidentally it is also one of the most expensive teas in the world fetching at over 1500 USD per kilo. According to the latest testing Virgin White has an anti-oxidant content of 10.11 percent, which is said to be the highest naturally occurring content of anti-oxidants in any beverage. Marriage Freres which is perhaps one of the world’s most exclusive Tea Salons situated at Faubourg Saint Honore in Central Paris offers its exquisite client Handunugoda’s virgin White tea.
A resident tea planter will meet you and take you around the private paradise of a working tea plantation. The plantation, which lies at sea-level, is the famed Handunugoda Tea Factory founded by Herman Gunaratne. Herman (or a team member) will take you on a private tour of his Virgin White Tea Estate plantations, where you will learn how the famous white tea is plucked and made into one of the best teas in the world. The visit ends with a tasting session and a piece of chocolate cake! There is also a small shop where you can buy Virgin White Tea – and other less expensive options as well.