Our Story

S. St. Clair Teas is primarily an exporter of Ceylon teas in bulk, consumer packs and in the form of tea bags. At S. St. Clair Teas, we have partnered with international counterparts and created brands of our own that have become household names in many parts of the world.

Shehan Paul the chief person behind Shehan St Clair Teas commenced his career in the family business K. Paul Associates Limited with his father, at the age of sixteen and he now counts 35+ years of expertise in the Sri Lankan tea trade.

Today, the company Shehan set up in 2004 has gained a high reputation for its international tea trade. As a family-owned company, we take great delight in the fact that most of our international clientele are themselves similar, family-owned enterprises. At S. St. Clair Teas (Private) Limited, we operate a state-of-the-art packing facility, just a few minutes away from Colombo city. This provides us with significant advantages in international trade thanks to the proximity of the Colombo Port and related logistical and infrastructure advantages. We also maintain a 20,000 square feet of warehouse space for processing and packaging within easy reach of Colombo city.

Shehan St.Clair Paul
Managing Director
shehanpaul@stclairteas.com

Shehan began his career in 1984, at the age of sixteen, by joining the family business his father, Kumar Paul Senior, established in 1976. Registered as K. Paul Associates Limited, at its inception it was one of the first family owned and operated companies in Sri Lanka, in an industry that was still dominated by British and Multinational Trading Houses. Shehan’s father was in fact among the first Ceylonese trained by the British and apprenticed at Colombo Commercial Company (Teas) Limited as a Trainee Tea Taster and rose the ranks to serve as Chairman from 1970 to 1976, when the company was subject to Nationalization policies of the then Government.

Having joined the family business, Shehan received in-depth training in tea-tasting, grading, blending and trading during a period spanning over 20 years. In September 2004, he ventured on his own and established S. St. Clair Teas (Private) Limited with his colleague and Co-Director Palachandran Jeyaram (Ram).

“At S. St. Clair Teas (Private) Limited, we consider tea to be more than a mere commodity or merchandise. We begin each day with passion and interest to see what new inspiration awaits us as we proceed with a fresh kettle and a beautiful leaf being brewed. Our ideals and fundamentals are very much in line with a family owned and operated company as based in our initial training. Being encouraged by our business friends and partners around the globe who share and value our convictions and place their trust in our knowledge and trading skills gives us great strength to succeed. We have, over the years, enjoyed lasting and understanding joint venture partnerships with our customers, most of whom are family owned and managed companies, who naturally expect the highest standards of service and integrity”.

During his personal time, Shehan, like others in his family, takes much joy in restoring Classic Cars. Following in his father’s footsteps and supported by his brothers, Kumar Junior and Romesh. Shehan’s passion for classic cars is well known amongst other classic car lovers. So much so he enjoys meeting new people, old and young alike and sharing thoughts and experiences gathered over the years, on this topic. This has also led to a lot of travel within Sri Lanka and beyond as new projects and the search for spares for ongoing restorations continue.

Palachandran Jeyaram
Director
ram@stclairteas.com

Ram, a go-getter from the start, began his career in tea at the age of seventeen by joining K. Paul Associates Limited as a Trainee Tea Taster / Buyer way back in 1992. In as little as 12 years he co-founded S. St. Clair Teas (Private) Limited with Shehan.

Ram possesses a wealth of knowledge in the areas of tea-tasting, grading, blending and trading. He combines this knowledge with his natural flair for design and turns out tea packs that have become proven winners. Most of these tea packaging designs are well established in the marketplace and are often custom made for our joint venture brands. Some of these designs in fact date back to the inception of S. St. Clair Teas.

“Tea and Quality are the essence and lifeblood of a Tea Company. Those of us who embrace and nurture this ideology and culture with sound marketing principles will inevitably establish a successful tea business. Our success results from sacrificing our personal time, hard work and preparation coupled with excellent customer relationships and an ability to learn from our mistakes, evolve and grow.”

Ram, in his personal life, is an avid wildlife enthusiast and enjoys restoring classic cars, some of which he has lovingly added to his collection. His mentor Kumar Paul Senior was part of the reason his interest in classic cars developed.

Shamal De Silva
Senior Procument Manager
shamal@stclairteas.com

Shamal De Silva’s journey with S. St. Clair Teas began in 2017 when he joined the team as Senior Procurement Manager. In his younger life, he captained the college first XI Cricket teams and later joined the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC). Here, he was noted for his enthusiasm and talent and this led to a request to join Lipton Ceylon Ltd and in 1984 he did just that.

Trained under the watchful eye of taskmaster and overall tea industry expert Michael De Zoysa, Shamal rose to the position of Assistant Manager in 1987. Following which he received a promotion as Senior Manager in 1992. For a spell of six years, he worked as Shipping Manager. His service years included the period in which Lipton and Brooke Bond merged under the flag of Unilever Ceylon Ltd in 1994. And throughout these years, he was actively participating in its tea business, sports and social activities and CSR projects. Shamal was also an active member of the Colombo Tea Traders Association (CTTA). He was a Chairman of CTTA Dance Committee and its Sports Convener from 2016. He is also a Panel Member of the Sri Lanka Tea Board Tea Tasting Unit since 2015.

A travel enthusiast at heart, Shamal is known for his diverse interests and is most proud of his wife and two sons.

Michael de Zoysa
Served as a Consultant until his demise in 2019

When one talks of Ceylon Tea in reference to the last few decades, Michael de Zoysa is a name that stands tall, loved and respected. A fact that is not so hard to believe when considering he was the chairman of the Colombo Tea Traders Association (CTTA) for 14 years (1982 – 2000) during which he transformed the thinking and approach of the industry with his passionate personality and insightful ideas.

His career in Ceylon Tea dates back to 1966 when he joined Lipton Ceylon Ltd. as a trainee. In the years till his retirement in the year 2000 as the first Sri Lankan to head both Lipton and Brooke Bond, he held numerous prestigious positions such as, member of the main committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, President of the Sri Lanka UK Business Council, VP of the Sri Lanka Pakistan Business Council and a member of the Sri Lanka Tea Board. During his years in the industry he also initiated the Colombo Tea Traders, Tea Health and Sports Charity Trust. He also conducted the Charity Auction celebrating the Centenary of the Colombo Auction, chaired 6 of the 7 International Tea Conventions held between 1992 and 2017 and covered the Centenary of the Colombo Tea Traders Association and 150 years of the Ceylon Tea Industry. Meanwhile, he also initiated The Competitiveness Initiative for the Tea Industry towards the year 2000 and beyond. Following retirement, he became part of Sri Lanka’s corporate world, adding value to companies like Hutchison Telecom, John Keels, Gordon Frazer / Bosanquet & Skrine Ltd, and Sunshine Teas. In April 2015 he took on the role of consultant at S. St. Clair Teas (Private) Limited and continued in this role till his demise in 2019.

It was also well known that to Michael tea was not his only passion. If tea was in his soul, cricket was in his spirit. His association and involvement in the gentlemen’s game were lifelong. This saw him serving the game at Club level at SSC from a time before Sri Lanka achieved Test Cricket status to many years thereafter. In fact, he was also the manager of Sri Lanka Cricket for a period commencing from December 2013; a successful tenure that saw the national team win The Asia Cup, the T20 World Cup and defeat England in the Test and ODI series of 2014, in England.

Shehan St.Clair Paul
Managing Director
shehanpaul@stclairteas.com

Shehan began his career in 1984, at the age of sixteen, by joining the family business his father, Kumar Paul Senior, established in 1976. Registered as K. Paul Associates Limited, at its inception it was one of the first family owned and operated companies in Sri Lanka, in an industry that was still dominated by British and Multinational Trading Houses. Shehan’s father was in fact among the first Ceylonese trained by the British and apprenticed at Colombo Commercial Company (Teas) Limited as a Trainee Tea Taster and rose the ranks to serve as Chairman from 1970 to 1976, when the company was subject to Nationalization policies of the then Government.

Having joined the family business, Shehan received in-depth training in tea-tasting, grading, blending and trading during a period spanning over 20 years. In September 2004, he ventured on his own and established S. St. Clair Teas (Private) Limited with his colleague and Co-Director Palachandran Jeyaram (Ram).

“At S. St. Clair Teas (Private) Limited, we consider tea to be more than a mere commodity or merchandise. We begin each day with passion and interest to see what new inspiration awaits us as we proceed with a fresh kettle and a beautiful leaf being brewed. Our ideals and fundamentals are very much in line with a family owned and operated company as based in our initial training. Being encouraged by our business friends and partners around the globe who share and value our convictions and place their trust in our knowledge and trading skills gives us great strength to succeed. We have, over the years, enjoyed lasting and understanding joint venture partnerships with our customers, most of whom are family owned and managed companies, who naturally expect the highest standards of service and integrity”.

During his personal time, Shehan, like others in his family, takes much joy in restoring Classic Cars. Following in his father’s footsteps and supported by his brothers, Kumar Junior and Romesh. Shehan’s passion for classic cars is well known amongst other classic car lovers. So much so he enjoys meeting new people, old and young alike and sharing thoughts and experiences gathered over the years, on this topic. This has also led to a lot of travel within Sri Lanka and beyond as new projects and the search for spares for ongoing restorations continue.

P. Jeyaram
Director
ram@stclairteas.com

Ram, a go-getter from the start, began his career in tea at the age of seventeen by joining K. Paul Associates Limited as a Trainee Tea Taster / Buyer way back in 1992. In as little as 12 years he co-founded S. St. Clair Teas (Private) Limited with Shehan.

Ram possesses a wealth of knowledge in the areas of tea-tasting, grading, blending and trading. He combines this knowledge with his natural flair for design and turns out tea packs that have become proven winners. Most of these tea packaging designs are well established in the marketplace and are often custom made for our joint venture brands. Some of these designs in fact date back to the inception of S. St. Clair Teas.

“Tea and Quality are the essence and lifeblood of a Tea Company. Those of us who embrace and nurture this ideology and culture with sound marketing principles will inevitably establish a successful tea business. Our success results from sacrificing our personal time, hard work and preparation coupled with excellent customer relationships and an ability to learn from our mistakes, evolve and grow.”

Ram, in his personal life, is an avid wildlife enthusiast and enjoys restoring classic cars, some of which he has lovingly added to his collection. His mentor Kumar Paul Senior was part of the reason his interest in classic cars developed.

Shamal De Silva
Senior Procument Manager
shamal@stclairteas.com

Shamal De Silva’s journey with S. St. Clair Teas began in 2017 when he joined the team as Senior Procurement Manager. In his younger life, he captained the college first XI Cricket teams and later joined the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC). Here, he was noted for his enthusiasm and talent and this led to a request to join Lipton Ceylon Ltd and in 1984 he did just that.

Trained under the watchful eye of taskmaster and overall tea industry expert Michael De Zoysa, Shamal rose to the position of Assistant Manager in 1987. Following which he received a promotion as Senior Manager in 1992. For a spell of six years, he worked as Shipping Manager. His service years included the period in which Lipton and Brooke Bond merged under the flag of Unilever Ceylon Ltd in 1994. And throughout these years, he was actively participating in its tea business, sports and social activities and CSR projects. Shamal was also an active member of the Colombo Tea Traders Association (CTTA). He was a Chairman of CTTA Dance Committee and its Sports Convener from 2016. He is also a Panel Member of the Sri Lanka Tea Board Tea Tasting Unit since 2015.

A travel enthusiast at heart, Shamal is known for his diverse interests and is most proud of his wife and two sons.

Michael de Zoysa
Served as a Consultant until his demise in 2019

When one talks of Ceylon Tea in reference to the last few decades, Michael de Zoysa is a name that stands tall, loved and respected. A fact that is not so hard to believe when considering he was the chairman of the Colombo Tea Traders Association (CTTA) for 14 years (1982 – 2000) during which he transformed the thinking and approach of the industry with his passionate personality and insightful ideas.

His career in Ceylon Tea dates back to 1966 when he joined Lipton Ceylon Ltd. as a trainee. In the years till his retirement in the year 2000 as the first Sri Lankan to head both Lipton and Brooke Bond, he held numerous prestigious positions such as, member of the main committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, President of the Sri Lanka UK Business Council, VP of the Sri Lanka Pakistan Business Council and a member of the Sri Lanka Tea Board. During his years in the industry he also initiated the Colombo Tea Traders, Tea Health and Sports Charity Trust. He also conducted the Charity Auction celebrating the Centenary of the Colombo Auction, chaired 6 of the 7 International Tea Conventions held between 1992 and 2017 and covered the Centenary of the Colombo Tea Traders Association and 150 years of the Ceylon Tea Industry. Meanwhile, he also initiated The Competitiveness Initiative for the Tea Industry towards the year 2000 and beyond. Following retirement, he became part of Sri Lanka’s corporate world, adding value to companies like Hutchison Telecom, John Keels, Gordon Frazer / Bosanquet & Skrine Ltd, and Sunshine Teas. In April 2015 he took on the role of consultant at S. St. Clair Teas (Private) Limited and continued in this role till his demise in 2019.

It was also well known that to Michael tea was not his only passion. If tea was in his soul, cricket was in his spirit. His association and involvement in the gentlemen’s game were lifelong. This saw him serving the game at Club level at SSC from a time before Sri Lanka achieved Test Cricket status to many years thereafter. In fact, he was also the manager of Sri Lanka Cricket for a period commencing from December 2013; a successful tenure that saw the national team win The Asia Cup, the T20 World Cup and defeat England in the Test and ODI series of 2014, in England.

Certificates/Standards