The Mel’s Tea Academy, a pioneering venture, established by Mr. Niraj De Mel in 2012 has indeed helped filling in a great void that existed in the Tea Trade for training young tea personnel. Since the Tea Propaganda Board of 1925 which conducted a training program for prospective tea tasters in the early colonial era was disbanned due to want of personnel, tea taster training was undertaken as an on the job program by the individual exporter and broker organizations to create their professionals for employment.

The gigantic task undertaken by The Mel’s Tea Academy therefore, no doubt will help the exporters and the brokers involved in the tea business to employ pre-trained staff to fill in their requirements of employment. The trade therefore is naturally grateful to Mr. Niraj De Mel and The Mel’s Tea Academy for undertaking this task on behalf of the trade and we must all be jointly appreciative of his contribution to uplift the standard of employment in the trade.

We congratulate Mr. De Mel for organizing this valuable program and wish him success in making the Academy famous in the Tea World, in the years to come. The Academy’s short intensive tea tasting program specially designed for tourists will indeed enhance the knowledge of the visitors to this island who are interested in studying tea for the purpose of educating themselves and this will naturally create awareness and a passion for tea in all those who enroll in this training program. We wish The Mel’s Tea Academy success.

- Anslem Perera
Euroscan Exports Ltd
Brand name: Mlesna

The 12 week course at The Mel’s Tea Academy provides students with an introduction to the tea industry with a stepping stone into the basics of tasting and grading of teas. The introduction of the various processes involved in the tea trade are shown through theory and hands on techniques which enables the individual to gain an understanding of the various stages that the tea leaf goes through before reaching the consumer. Those interested in joining the industry will want to first start off with introductory courses such as those offered by The Mel’s Tea Academy as it gives a better understanding of tea and also provides a service to the industry. As a form of service to tourism, The Mel’s Tea Academy can prove to be useful in promoting tea as a form of experience based service for those interested in learning about the various kinds of tea. This can help in reaching a wider audience for our heritage in Ceylon tea and therefore creating a new promotional segment in the industry.

- Jayantha Keragala
Managing Director
Ceylon Tea Marketing Ltd


The Mel's tea academy was a 3 month course but felt like 3 years. I've not only studied and learnt the fine art of Tea tasting and grading but I have established some important contacts who can help me with my work day in-day out. During the 3 months(my colleagues and I) visited several people and companies who were linked with the Sri Lankan trade veterans and they shared their thoughts on how to build our futures and how to face different tasks/ situations and taught us how to make "Ceylon Tea" a better name. Personally the words that inspired us the most was, " to climb the ladder is the perfect start for you youngsters so that you will get the feeling and the experience so that one day you will be able to manage and lead with excellence," as Mr. De Mel followed. If I was to give the Mel's Tea Academy any compliments it would only be to keep up the good work and to produce people with excellence to the trade. Wishing you all the best in the coming years.

- Anthony Louis

I didn't know much about Tea and nothing on Tea Tasting when I joined this course. It added a memorable experience to my life. A brief knowledge on various sides of Tea and interesting practical sessions on Tea tasting provoked my eager interest in this field. This course is suited for everyone with different knowledge levels on Tea.

- Udari Kalpana

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the lecturers and the management of The Mel's Tea Academy, who brought success in my life. When I joined here I was a person who only knew to have tea as a common human; but now I know all the ins and outs about tea.

During this entire journey I studied the different varieties of tea, different qualities, taste etc. I would like to thank the Academy for making a good career path for me, and giving me a lot of good friends for life. You helped me to find a good job for my career. I feel really proud because we are the first batch of this Academy and I learned a lot. I am confident one day if I achieve something that credit goes to you, Sir. I have got a good opportunity in a leading tea company because of the qualification and experience from this Academy. I thank each and everyone who supported me for my success. Thank you.

- Nivethen

Being a professional tea taster for 12 years, I still found the learning experience at The Mel’s Tea Academy very rewarding. In fact, it opened my eyes to learn tea trading and marketing in a different perspective. Also it was a privilege for me to learn from Mr.Niraj De Mel who is an expertise in Sri Lankan tea trade. While I was at The Mel’s Tea Academy I further improved my tea grading, tasting, blending skills. I highly recommend this Institute to all the youngsters who look forward to pursue a career in the tea industry.

- Edimarki Radly Imaduwavithana (Tea Taster/Tea Buyer)

Being a graduate of Uva Wellassa University in Tea Technology & Value Addition, Tea was my ultimate passion. When I came out of the university I realized that there was a gap between the theoretical knowledge I gained in the lecture hall and the way the business works. The Mel’s Tea Academy was able to fill in that gap. In fact at The Mel’s Academy I received hands-on experience on tea tasting, grading, and auction procedures as well as on the international tea market. While I was at The Mel’s Tea Academy, I gained a sound knowledge on the evolution of Ceylon tea, consumer buying behavior in the context of international market and the Black tea manufacturing process. The resource personnel were extremely helpful and flexible. Therefore I’m really glad of the choice I made to study at The Mel’s Tea Academy.

- Randika Reshan ( Junior Tea Executive)

When I stepped into the tea industry 3 years ago, I hardly had any understanding about this Industry. Learning at The Mel’s Tea Academy was one of the good choices I made in my life. It was a great learning experience in a more practical environment. The Mel’s Tea Academy enabled me to learn the art of tea tasting, grading, blending and auction process. Aside from this, I learnt a lot about the history of Ceylon tea. I’m really happy to say that today I’m a Tea Taster in one of Sri Lanka’s leading Tea Companies.

- Lahiru Gamage (Tea Executive)

It brings me great pleasure to comment on my experience at The Mel's Tea Academy. Ever since the day I was born, I've been surrounded by tea. Tea here, tea there, tea this, tea that! Majority of the conversations around me were about tea and tea exports. Upon completing my Bachelor’s Degree, my father, being a significant individual in the tea industry wanted me to attend this 3 month course about tea and for me to be a part of the first batch. My first thought of course was; "Is there anything to learn about tea, in a course?" No sooner than I attended the first class, did I realize that there was a lot more I didn’t know about tea.

Beginning from the history of tea, Camelia Sinensis to tea leaves to seasons to tea production from the green leaf to black tea/green tea/ silver/golden tips, tea tasting, grading, brokering process, auctions, storage, exports, marketing of tea, science of tea, ethical and unethical practices and a whole lot more about tea that I simply cannot finish writing in this testimonial.

Even being born into a family business that revolved around tea or from my experience in the tea trade, I would never have been able to learn such interesting things about tea as I learnt through the course provided by The Mel’s Tea Academy.

I'm thankful to my father who made me attend this academy and a massive thank you to Mr. Niraj De Mel and his wife for their mentoring and for providing such an opportunity for individuals to learn about tea in detail.

While the academic experience was both extremely useful and enjoyable, what made my experience there more valuable were the fun-filled lectures and knowledge gained from the well-respected and significant individuals in the Tea Trade. Additionally, field visits to tea factories, TRI, brokers, broker warehouse, exporting companies gave me ample insights to the practical perspective of how things really function.

Overall, my experience at The Mel’s Tea Academy has been a truly pleasurable delight. I have learnt so many things about tea I never knew before. I have gained the best practical and theoretical knowledge from masters in the trade and better yet I have made some new close friends in the trade who I am happy to say I still meet regularly, even after completing the course.

Once again, I would like to say for anyone interested in attending The Mel’s Tea Academy, this is a massive opportunity to learn about tea and get to know the people in the "Gentlemen's Trade" and you won’t regret it one bit! Finally, I wish The Mel's Tea Academy the very best for the future and for everyone choosing to study there. Happy Learning’s!

- Jalinda Karunaratne