Who We Are

The Tea Industry in Sri Lanka encompasses a rich heritage, home to some of the finest tea estates in the world. Ceylon Tea, as it is still popularly known among global consumers, rose to fame with produce from the high grown elevation, which boasts of flavoury, exquisite liquors not found elsewhere in the world. Sri Lanka manufactures a variety of teas in taste and different Grades and it is exported to over 100 countries. A cup of pure Ceylon tea is synonymous with high quality and authenticity and its distinct reputation makes it the nation’s pride and joy.

However, the workforce in all of the sub-sectors of this industry is declining. This together with the emergence of other industries such as tourism, information technology, garments and the absence of a specialised institute to train personnel in this industry, has rendered it less popular particularly among youth. Finding suitable young people has become a difficult task for managers of tea related organizations, such as plantation companies, broking houses and export companies.

The Mel’s Tea Academy, an initiative of The Mel’s Ceylon (Private) Limited (a family company incorporated in December 2012), was primarily established to address this need and to provide a foundational education through theory and practice to such youth resulting in them been eligible to be employed in the country’s tea industry. As the pioneer educational institute in tea tasting and grading, the objective of the Academy is to build up a base comprising of trained personnel for the different sectors of the Tea Industry. However, the Academy will not confine itself to youth alone but will welcome people of all ages, both locally and internationally.With the objective of keeping it concise and easy to grasp, the Mel’s Tea Academy has carefully developed a set of courses accessible to anyone and open its doors to those interested in mastering the fine art of tea tasting, identifying the varieties of tea grades and getting acquainted with the different cup characteristics of tea. The courses offered at the Academy have been commended by the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) and the Colombo Tea Traders Association (CTTA).

The Academy was pioneered by Niraj de Mel, a professional tea taster with over 38 years of experience in the industry who began his career in the Tea Trade with a Broking House and went on to become a buyer/senior buyer/Managing Director in esteemed Export Companies. He was also the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board and has participated in many Tea Forums both locally and internationally. Now retired, he has taken up the task of training individuals interested in tasting and grading tea for their personal knowledge as well as those seeking to join the industry.