If I had to pick my favourite coffee of all time (HUGE statement, I realise) it would be the creamy, mellow, chocolatey cup that I sipped in Galle Forte; a wonderful, higgledy-piggledy walled town on Sri Lanka’s south coast. Yes, I was in one of the most diverse & beautifully stunning countries I’ve ever visited, which does enhance the experience somewhat, but it was genuinely the most delectable flat white I’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring, and this is why…
Formerly known as the colonial Ceylon, Sri Lanka is famed for its tea. Not a country you’d necessarily associate with coffee, & probably because Sri Lanka suffered a tragic epidemic of coffee-leaf rust in the late nineteenth century, pretty much wiping out all coffee crops. Farmers were forced into growing hardy tea plants and the tea industry thrived, as it still does today, and rightly so because it’s absolutely freakin’ delicious. Nothing like the muted flavours we’re fobbed-off with in the supermarkets.
Almost a century after the devastating coffee epidemic, the perfect climate and huge demand for coffee persuaded many Sri Lankan to have another crack, and thank the Coffee Gods that they did.
Nuwara Eliya sits deep within the fertile countryside of central Sri Lanka and is a breeding ground for cultivating the most perfect of coffee beans. Roughly seven degrees above the equator and on the same latitude as Ethiopia’s best coffee region, Nuwara Eliya is protected from the monsoons and receives continuous rainfall throughout the year. Nutrient-rich soils, moderate temperatures & high moisture levels mean that coffee plants flourish in this region, creating earthy, mellow flavours with chocolatey undertones. Flick-your-bean kinda flavours!
Last year, Guy and I had the most incredible experience & took a life-changing train ride through the centre of Sri Lanka – from Kandy to Ella – seeing the thickets of lush coffee plantations in all their glory. Nestled in shrouds of mist, the coffee plants grow vigorously & in abundance, clearly visible from the steam train as we swept through the jungle, over the misty mountains, smiling like a right pair of idiots in disbelief. Literally the most gob-smacking experience I’ve ever had. There were no seats. We stood for seven hours (often dangling ourselves out of the door), but cared not a bean. It was breathtaking, from start to finish. Not only did we get to see these majestic coffee plantations up close & personal; we then got to taste the final result. And what a result it was! Good enough to make you crema in your pants.