Most people don’t give much thought to the tea they drink; it’s usually the ‘garden variety’ of either black or white, but there’s much more to consider than most realise.
Dilmah tea is a well-recognised brand in Australia, and it lives in thousands of households, hotels and airlines all over the world.
The Fernando family have dedicated their lives to tea, and more recently to the education of Ceylon tea, and the use of such flavours.
Founder and face of the Dilmah brand, Merrill J Fernando has been in Adelaide this week to promote their new movement of tea outshining wine as an accompaniment with food.
When we spoke with Merrill to have a chat about the concept, he was a passionate advocate. “We are bringing tea back to the 21st century and making it the health option of today.
“Cooking with wine is very popular but I believe in the next three years, people will be increasingly using the flavours of tea instead,” Mr Fernando said.
With the help of his two sons, Dilhan and Malik, the Fernando family is encouraging people to explore with the many flavours and characteristics of tea.
They’re working with chefs from around the world to inspire the creation of tea infused food and beverage recipes; integrating tea as part of casual and fine dining occasions.
“Food matching with tea is becoming very popular, and I think it will become common in restaurants around the world,” he said.
“People have been responding in amazing ways because tea isn’t intoxicating, but it offers a variety of choices, and Dilmah focuses on bringing out the natural flavours of Ceylon tea.
“We are bringing out all the goodness of tea, and people are relishing what we’re do,” Mr Fernando said.
But Dilmah strives for much more than just providing quality tea, and humbly rests their business on the foundation of helping others.
From each purchase of Dilmah tea, Mr Fernando said the profits go directly back to Sri Lanka, where they share their revenue with the poor and underprivileged.
“Our business became a matter of human service, and that’s the most important aspect of the family business.
“My sons continue to show other businesses how success can flow on to become a human service and change the world in some way,” he said.
“If all businesses followed this principle it would be a happy place, and that is the Dilmah philosophy.
“That is what drives me and makes me happy,” Mr Fernando said.
Dilmah doesn’t market the charity they do, but of course word spreads as they fund humanitarian activities throughout Sri Lanka to help change the lives of over 10,000 disadvantaged people per year.
MJF Charitable Foundation was based on simple family values to share the benefits of their success with others who aren’t as privileged.
“I dedicated the brand to my children and to the good Lord, and said, “If I succeed I’ll spend half my profit on the poor.
“The one thing I learnt was that if you do the right thing, display integrity, and do not compromise on that, you’ll succeed,” he said.
Merrill J Fernando and his sons are focused on the growth of Dilmah by reviving the love of tea throughout the world, and as always, they continue to offer Australians with unmatched taste, quality and freshness of Ceylon tea.