An open letter to lovers of tea: Do you know what’s in your cuppa?

by Dilmah 11/01/2022

Food and Drink, Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Sponsored Content

This is a sponsored article from member Dilmah.

Greetings from Sri Lanka, where we make the world’s finest tea. My name is Dilhan, son of the most passionate and experienced Teamaker in the world, Merrill J. Fernando. We are a family of tea growers, now in the second generation with a third in training. You probably know our father as Mr. Dilmah. When he first launched our family tea in Australia in 1988, it was the first time that tea, picked, perfected, packed at source, was offered to Aussie tea drinkers. 33 years later, nothing has changed. We continue to honour the pledge my father made to the finest Ceylon Tea, ethically made and packed garden fresh at source.

Much has changed in the world of tea though, with profit too often compromising quality. For us, as tea growers with a love for tea, compromise is not an option. As you choose your tea, we would like to explain exactly what’s in your cup of Dilmah Tea and why it is important.

Dilmah Park Estate Kandapola, Sri Lanka

Taste – My father made a commitment to Single Origin Tea from Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka, and we honour that commitment without compromise. Tea is blessed with the fingerprint of Nature – terroir, or the sense of place – and that is crafted by soil, sunshine, wind, rain and the climate generally, to produce great taste, aroma and character – the personality of a tea. Purity of origin is important in tea because each tea has an identity that is defined by Nature and when using good tea, there is no reason to dilute that beautiful provenance.

Blending or mixing tea from different places is common but sadly it is generally done for the sake of profit – to reduce cost. That mixture comes at the cost of quality. Terroir is the reason our Dilmah Premium Ceylon expresses the essence of Ceylon Tea – the strength and brightness of tea grown in the Dimbula Valley, while our Dilmah Extra Strength Tea is so very different – stronger and more intense, from the more humid Ratnapura District.

Goodness – is why tea was first discovered. 5,000 years ago tea was picked by physicians, who recognised the health benefits that the leaf offers, and considered tea a medicine. The reason for that is the antioxidants in tea, which scientists say may be responsible for the natural goodness in a cup of tea. Tea should ideally be garden fresh to deliver optimum flavour and antioxidants though, as fresh tea is said to be richer in flavour and natural antioxidant goodness. We pack our teas at source because tea that ages in ships and warehouses or blended overseas, can absorb moisture and lose flavour and goodness. That is why my father fought for decades to be able to grow, pack and supply our Dilmah Tea direct from Sri Lanka, right where it is grown.

Purpose – We are a family business founded on family values. We exist because of my father’s love for tea but equally because of his desire for integrity. He believes that success is a blessing that we are obliged to share. Every day, thousands of children, women and men from less fortunate communities benefit from the humanitarian initiatives of our Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation. Tea pickers and their families, youth and children with disability, less fortunate communities and aspiring entrepreneurs are all among the beneficiaries of my father’s philosophy of serving humanity by sharing and caring.

A minimum 15% of our pre-tax profits will be used by MJF Foundation to address inequality, promote education, strengthen communities and a lot more. An additional amount – now around a million dollars each year – will fund the ecological initiatives of Dilmah Conservation for climate action, environmental education, biodiversity conservation, sustainable agriculture and more. Please have a look at

My father was blessed to reach the age of 91 in May this year, coinciding with his 71st year in tea – that makes him the most experienced Teamaker in service today. His greatest joy is the work of his Foundation. We have established over 2000 entrepreneurs, empowering them with dignity to overcome poverty, support them in disability and especially through the challenges the pandemic has posed. These programmes have touched the lives of thousands of less fortunate children, youth, women and men. Every Dilmah customer is an important part of the fulfilment of that philosophy. To learn more about our Foundation please visit

Great Taste, natural Goodness, ethical Purpose. That’s what’s in your cup of Dilmah Tea.

Written by Dilhan Fernando, tea grower and CEO of Dilmah Tea.

This is an article from a Member. The views and opinions we express here don’t necessarily reflect our organisation.

by Dilmah

This a sponsored post published on behalf of Dilmah.