Craighead Tea Estate
Your purchase makes a big difference since you buy from a Sri Lankan company that owns the entire production chain (from bush to bag) adding love and care for the people and planet to every step. Let’s visit Tea Estate Craighead.
Sustainable impact resulting from control in the entire chain
Why does it matter if you buy a product from a company that is supposedly vertically integrated? In a nutshell, vertical integration means taking care of as many activities of the chain as possible within the same company. This allows you to secure, influence and innovate your vision of sustainability in as large a part of the chain as possible. We know what is going on within production, what challenges there are and we have 100% influence on the solutions to these. As a result, we can truly leave the world a little nicer than we found it. For example, since 2018 we have been Carbon neutral to every global port we ship our tea to. Not because we have to, but because we can. For example, at our Craighead plantation you will find energy from hydroelectricity & the sun for years.
Climate change: generations conspire
Dilmah is not a tea brand, but a philosophy of caring and sharing. For example, by sharing the research done by Dilmah’s Climate Research Centre with current & future generations in Sri Lanka. This manifests itself, for example, in teaching about climate to school children of our plantation employees. Providing these kinds of workshops to children is a crucial part of all Dilmah’s efforts to spread awareness about climate change and educate and engage the new generation on the climate challenges they will inherit.
Addressing climate change is a complex challenge that requires urgent action. The workshop will not only explain the basics of climate change science, but also educate the new generation on the impact of such changes on Sri Lanka.
Current impact of climate change in Sri Lanka.
Mr. Vasanthakumar, employed by the Sri Lankan Meteorological Service, shares with 70 school children from the Craighead plantation that the impacts are already visible.
Existing research and statistical data clearly expose the current impact on Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is experiencing an increase in the frequency of heavy rainfall and an increase in the frequency of dry spells. This is directly related to periods of flooding and dry spells over the past few years. It also highlights how water scarcity, disease and pest outbreaks and coastal erosion will worsen as climate change progresses.
Climate thinking, the new normal
The Dilmah Conservation One Earth Center for Climate Change Research & Adaptation play a central role in building climate resilience in agriculture and food production through research, with an emphasis on the tea sector.
For Dilmah, education and awareness is crucial to finding solutions to climate damages. Through climate education, participants can share their knowledge with peers and family. Thus, climate awareness can be integrated into school curricula and their daily lives.
Carbon Neutrality power
The goodness in a cup of delicious tea depends heavily on one plant, Camellia Sinensis. Climate change and carbon emissions have direct and lasting effects on the tea industry and as a company striving for the best for people and the planet, we take steps to protect the natural environment in all our efforts. Leaving the earth better than we found it drives us in our ambitions.
Accordingly, since 2018, Your Cup of Tea has been carbon neutral to every port of arrival worldwide. It has taken many projects to achieve this, such as planting trees, using solar energy, allowing tea plantations to become naturalized, planting mangrove forests, restoring wetlands and also our hydropower journey, which you have started on our Craighead and Queensberry estates since 2016. Generating with these two hydropower plants began in 2018. Subsequently, more hydropower plants have been added on our plantations, which now provide a combined capacity of 260 KW and total hydropower generation of 814.8 MWh. We have set a goal of being so-called CO2 negative by 2030, meaning we offset more CO2 than we emit. We share our progress toward this goal annually via our sustainability reports.
Addressing extraordinary times
In 2020, we faced a global health crisis of unprecedented scale. We believe that every person and company has a duty to do what we can to ease the pain of the pandemic. About 4km away from our Craighead plantation is Nawalapitiya General hospital. District General Hospital Nawalapitiya (DGHN) provides health care to 500,000 people in the surrounding tea plantations and neighboring districts of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. The current hospital capacity was insufficient to meet the demand due to the increase in patients related to pandemic. On Aug. 16, 2021, an additional Rs. 25 million facility was opened thanks to Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company Plc, Kahawatte Plantations Plc and the help of the MJF Charitable Foundation, which exists thanks to millions of Dilmah tea drinkers worldwide.
A backpack full of good cheer
Collaborations with partners with similar values can lead to great things. This collaboration with Dilmah’s distributor in Japan brought beaming faces to 87 children of plantation workers. They received school bags at our Craighead estate before the start of their first school year.
Dilmah’s partner, Tokai Coop, based in Central Japan, is a union of consumers who value product quality, safety and reliability. “Currently, we are involved in many programs that align with the Sustainable Development Goals. We respect Dilmah’s philosophy, and that is what led us to make a visible contribution to an initiative by MJF Charitable Foundation. Part of the profits from our Dilmah sales in Japan went to the fund - from which we bought 87 school bags. Today we are so happy that we had the opportunity to take these school bags and give them to the children of the Craighead estate,” said Mr. Mogi, director of Tokai Coop.
Senpagamalar, a kindergarten teacher at the Childhood Development Center in Craighead Estate, expressed her thanks to the team on behalf of the children, parents and staff. “We are grateful to the Japanese group for their generosity and love. Look how happy the children and parents are. The school bags give these children the confidence they need to take control of their future and start school in good spirits.
Education is a right
For many children of parents working on tea plantations further education is not possible because they simply do not have the resources to provide it. Our founder Merrill was born in a small fishing village, 30 km from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to a family of eight children.
Merrill Fernando: “I had a modest upbringing. We were certainly not rich, but my parents, especially my mother, instilled strong values in me. These values may have driven my ambition to succeed.”
In his youth, his ambition was to become a lawyer, but the coveted job of tea taster came his way. All the while, tea tasting and its trade were in British hands. Merrill Fernando is one of the first six locals allowed to become a tea taster. To provide more opportunities for children of tea pickers, there are scholarships offered by the MJF Charitable Foundation. This way children who would otherwise never see a university get the education they are entitled to. With the help of these scholarships, they can dream freely and become doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers and everything in between.
About our Craighead Estate
Craighead Estate is located in Nawalapitiya, in the Kandy district. The highest elevation is about 1150 meters above sea level and the tea factory is at 1143 meters.
Craighead Estate was established in the Nawalapitiya region in the early twentieth century, in the middle of the picturesque Gampola Valley and overlooking the Pidurutalagala mountain range on the north side. At an altitude of about 1150 meters, Craighead Estate produces rare and exceptional Silver Tips. The fresh leaf has the characteristic silvery sheen of Silver Tips and produces a delicate jade colored tea. After brewing the magnificent white tea, the leaf has a unique fresh fragrance, with notes of citrus and sweet fruit. The tea brings spring to the palate with notes of honey, grapes, green apple and olive. The bright, refreshing citrus note is unique to the small field. Thus Francesca cooks, a Dutch Blogger, who is looking back with great enthusiasm on meeting our founder and our white tea.
Craighead’s white tea called “Silver tips white tea” is not only particularly refined in flavor, but also the making of the tea is a delicate process. For our Silver Tips White tea, only the buds of the Camellia Sinensis are harvested. The buds are about 3 cm long and needle-shaped. Our most experienced tea pickers collect the fresh tips with velvet gloves in the early morning dew. They are then rolled and dried in filtered sunlight. Of all the teas, Silver Tips has the highest antioxidant content, and the least caffeine.