Well it’s been almost a week now and it’s hard to search for a
Highlight as everyday is just incredible! So we checked in at Cinnamon Lakeside with our Dilmah tea and Bols hats well and truly on!
Day two we had a truly sensational welcome at the Dilmah school of tea participants with the employees all welcoming us with a traditional dance including handing everyone a tea garland around our necks as we entered the building with cold tea punch in hand!
The passion was there to see straight away from senior management down to the smiling ladies on the factory floor.
We were then ran through the 25 year old history going on two taste the teas including quality control.
Then onto the MJF Moratuwa Centre where we met a lot of locals with disabilities who handed us coconuts on arrival then welcomed us into their school including artwork, planting trees, and other craftwork, all in the heat of the day but still their energy was there to see and as I headed back to the bus I was given a bookmark as something to remember them by! Hitting home was a understatement and was good to see first hand exactly how much of a difference Dilmah have been making in local community’s!

Day two and off to the Hilton in Columbo to prepare a cocktail using the knowledge we had learnt at the school of tea!
We then presented these to a group of VIP’s at dinner hosting our tables. My cocktail is available through Bols Facebook page!

Day three and a super detailed progamme leading into the scientific side of tea and food matches! Followed by each bartender making a themed cocktail. My given theme was Mystism so went on my way to researching the history of Sri Lanka and religion and made a drink based on instinct, insight, and intuition using Dilmsh Almond, Rose, & Lychee tea with Bols Creme de cacao, and Bols Kirsch!
We then proceeded back to our hotel to get ready for cocktails and canapés at 8 degrees mobile boat so we got to see the harbor and relax with our groups whom we had made tea cocktails for!

Day 4, straight into low elevation tea and how it inspired the original irish breakfast tea. Then we headed off to Huniwela Estate in the Sabarsgamuwa, famous for its precious stones. On route we managed to stop at w tea factory and saw first hand one the tea leaves are picked including the whole process. What blew me away in particular was the electro static machine that removes the stalks from the tea leaves!
Back on the road again, quite a surreal experience as we left the heavens opened as we played Frank Sinatra in the bus drinking tea and discussing just how incredible the journey so far had been!

Hours later we finally arrive at Grand Uda Walawe Safari Resort, again blown away as we are led to our beach bungalows with a huge table set high up on a sand dune with a BBQ and drinks set next to a roaring log fire!

Day 5, up super early to make sure we head out to the safari in time to see all the wildlife before the heat is too intense for the animals and they hide in the shade until night! One thing I really noticed was the array of fruits and herbs ideal for not only the animals but tea & cocktails !

We then head back for lunch in extreme heat, so hot I burnt my feet walking on it, and to prove my point the director of filming had to tape his shoes together with black tape during filming as the sand was so hot it melted his shoes!

Day 6, our very long journey by road begins, so long in fact a few of us decided to combine our snacks from the local supermarket make a cheeseboard in the bus to eat along with our tea accompanied with a book or two for the journey! After super long picturesque journey from 1868-6128ft up to the Grand Hotel we are stunned by all the Dilmah plantations on route and arrive in time to view the snooker room which is over 100 years old and has all the original furnishings and hosted many generations of royalty from around the world particularly from England and the Dutch when it was colonised!

Day 7, from low elevation to high, we now head to Meda Watte which is the mid elevation tea Dilmah produce and home to the real English Afternoon tea. The tea fields are very similar to that of the wineries back home in New Zealand but obviously a sea of green tea not grapes! ( me thinking perhaps both together would be the perfect picture and maybe a Bols distillery as the tea room :-))
More to follow:- Nicholas Casely Parker