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Dilmah in News

Knowledge Inspires Passion in Tea


15th Session of the Dilmah School of Tea

Dilmah Partner Network News
Tea has been offering solace and friendship to people around the globe since it was first discovered around 2737 BC. Therefore it is not surprising that 142 participants from 35 countries converged in Sri Lanka to learn about the very fine art of creating magic from this ancient and versatile herb. The 15th session of the Dilmah School of Tea was held from the 9th to the 13th of May 2014 and all participants were treated to the amazing sights of the tea country which essentially influences the terroir and character of Ceylon tea while several connoisseurs also shared their expertise and knowledge. The concept of School of Tea was conceived by a family of tea men- the Founder of Dilmah Merrill J. Fernando and his son Dilhan C. Fernando who aspire to share their knowledge and passion with other professionals and consumers around the world.

In the Founder's own words "the source of Dilmah tea is the finest in the world. It comes from Ceylon - the tea country'. Hence at the recently concluded School of Tea the participants were first taken in a train to the hill country of Sri Lanka. While there, they were afforded a firsthand experience on how artisanal tea is made, which essentially is what makes Dilmah the freshest, quality tea in the world. The participants tried plucking two leaves and a bud the traditional way- by hand, and witnessed the manufacturing process of black tea. They further witnessed the withering, rolling and the oxidisation process- all a part of how traditional black tea is manufactured. While in Nuwara Eliya Tea Mixologist Robert Schinkel showed the participants just how versatile tea can be by creating wonderful tea based drinks at a Chai Session conducted at the Grand Hotel.
Dilmah Partner Network News
The course also included a visit to the Home of Dilmah where they were taught the true art of tasting tea by Dilhan C. Fernando. From here the participants were taken to the Quality Assurance department to afford them an opportunity to understand that Dilmah tea really goes that extra step to ascertain the products are of high quality and freshness. The participants were also taken to the factory where the tea is hygienically packed before being shipped to consumers around the world. The Dilmah School of Tea would not be complete if the participants were not taken to the Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation Centre in Moratuwa because it is the consumers around the world who share in the credit of this wonderful project. They were taken to the centre where the children greeted them and gave all participants a taste of what the April Sinhala & Tamil New Year celebrations are like.

The concluding session on the 13th of the Advanced Certificate Course included modules on all things based on tea. Modules ranging from tasting tea, tea and health, mixology, breakfast pairings and even pairing tea with cheese were explained at length. The day commenced with a breakfast pairing conducted by Edwin Soon. Brilliant Breakfast tea was served with chicken spinach pie and French toast was served with the Pomegranate Honeysuckle infusion. Other pairings such as Sencha green tea was served with pistachio spread with crepes, and many other pairings were offered to the participants so that they can understand just how creative one can be with tea. Further into the final session the-Queen of Cheese', Betty Koster from the Netherlands shared her knowledge about cheeses and what teas suit them best. Robert Schinkel who presented his creation of an Earl Grey liqueur to the Founder of Dilmah just a few days prior, also explained at length how best to create tea based mocktails and cocktails. What is most important of course is that all participants were given an opportunity to test and taste their knowledge and learning. Dilhan C. Fernando shared his knowledge on the most important learning of tea ' how best to brew it because unfortunately many do not know the most basics of this practice.
Dilmah Partner Network News
Visit to the MJF Centre, Moratuwa
Participants of the School of Tea had the opportunity to take some time away from the formal sessions and meet and greet the children at the Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation in Moratuwa on the 12th of May. The children stood waiting for them at the gates and escorted them inside with all the fanfare they could muster. Nipuna, a youth from the Rainbow Centre, welcomed them all with a little speech and did not forget to add that he too aspires one day to be employed and own a company car. This act of honesty and aspiration had all the participants wishing him and all other children well in the coming years. One of the participants took a big pink teddy bear to gift to the children which all the children were very excited about.

After the conclusion of the preliminaries there was a fun evening planned ahead for all the participants and the children. The evening consisted of games which are typically partaken in during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in April. Although there were several games only the adults could do, there were so many others which required the participants to liaise with the children to claim the top place, such as tug of war. In true Sri Lankan spirit, hospitality was paramount and everyone was treated to a fresh king coconut. There was a lot of laughter and cheering all around and it really is a difficult task to ascertain if the adults or the children had the most fun that evening.

At the end of the sessions the Founder of Dilmah awarded all participants with certificates. He spoke about his lifelong passion and how he built the brand with sheer hard work while beating the odds that were against him. All participants remained enthusiastic throughout while many enquired when the next session is to be held.

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