Rare Tea Farm Profile - the Amba Estate

Uva Highlands, Sri Lanka

Farm Name: Amba

Country: Sri Lanka

Location: nestled in the Uva Highlands above the Ravana Waterfalls

Where in the country: central-southern Sri Lanka

Coordinates: 6°49'59.0"N 81°03'23.2"E

Closest Town: Ella

Altitude: 1,000 – 1,200m

Farm Size (ha): 120ha in total, 30ha of tea spread over 11 fields

Owners: Simon Bell, John Roegner, Orzu Matyakubova, Charles Conconi

Head Teamaker: Neethanjana Senadheera

Number of Employees: 20 and 20+ out growers

Products: handcrafted black teas, lemongrass, butalso fruits & vegetables, spices, honey and homemade jams

Cultivar: 110-year-old Sinensis bushes grown from seed

Harvest Season: all year around

Approx. annual production: 720kg

Extract from Infused:

"During the civil war in Sri Lanka, which lasted more than twenty-five years, from 1983 to 2009, some of the tea estates were abandoned. It was considered too difficult to operate in a country torn apart by civil unrest. Communities dependent on tea were abandoned. When peace finally came, the aid agencies, non-profit organisations and various advisors moved in to help rebuild. One of those was Simon Bell, the man behind Amba. He put his money where his mouth was, and rather than just pontificate he bought a farm and tried to establish a new model for sustainable development…"

With good wages and skilled jobs, Amba hopes to provide long term employment for as many people as possible. They also share knowledge with other neighbouring small holders to educate and encourage other tea and herb farmers to adopt organic farming practices. This will allow them to achieve higher prices for their harvests while contributing to the biodiversity of the region.


Amba has been organically certified since 2009.

Much of this land is fertilised by Amba’s own herd of rescue cows that are themselves fed by this incredibly biodiverse terrain. These tea bushes, free of pesticides and chemical fertilisers, are then plucked by hand.

The trees used for shading across the fields are called “Glyceria” which are known to add nitrogen into the soil and therefore act not only as shade providers, but also as an organic fertiliser.

While most high quality teas require plucking two leaves and a bud, Amba goes one step further, with pluckers just selecting the first single leaf and a bud. This meticulous process means Amba produces almost five times less tea than many tea gardens in Sri Lanka each day, but this level of care results in the most sweet and delicate teas.

The same care and dedication goes into their lemon grass. Carefully hand harvested, sun dried and hand cut.


There are 15 guest rooms for visitors. Guests can stay in the old main farmhouse, the separate Clove Tree Cottage or line rooms (previous workers accommodation).

The meals are cooked with the produce from the farm, you can roam around the gardens, join daily tea tours, read a book in the hammock, go on hikes, swim in natural pools or climb Ella Rock.