Sir Thomas Lipton in Sri Lanka

Sir Thomas Lipton in Sri Lanka

Empire Tea

Tuesday 13, 2018

Thomas Lipton was born in Glasgow, Scotland in May 1848. He left school in 1863 to help his parents and got odd jobs around Glasgow while enrolled in night school. After becoming a cabin boy on a steamer Lipton became interested in going to the United States. He spent 5 years travelling and holding several jobs including accountant and farmhand.

Upon his return, Lipton opened a provisional shop which he expanded into a grocery chain called Lipton’s Market. By 1888 he had an empire of 300 stores and was looking to stock teas. Lipton bought tea gardens and a tea estate in Sri Lanka and made business deals with James Taylor, the father of the Sri Lankan tea trade. He built the Dambetenne Tea factory which stands to this day and you can also take tours of the factory and plantation. One of Lipton’s other contributions is Lipton’s Seat where it is said he would go to look out over his empire. Lipton Tea is beloved to this day and brought tea to the poor working class not only in the UK, but also in the United States.

Our owner and founder visited this estate and the estate manager Vige Johnpillai in 2008.

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