The relationship between Dilmah and Emirates began in 1992 and has evolved into a strong co-operation that has been marked by a shared concern for quality, authenticity and the environment. More than 9.6 million tea bags made in Sri Lanka by Dilmah are served on Emirates flights around the world per year, with 11 types of tea being produced exclusively for Emirates customers.

Driven by Merrill J. Fernando, an artisan teamaker, and his passion for tea, Dilmah seeks to share the luxury and natural goodness of ethically sourced tea, direct from origin, to retailers and consumers all over the world.

The afternoon began with a warm welcome from Dilmah founder himself, Merrill J. Fernando, and continued with an informative session conducted by his son, Dilhan C. Fernando, on the Dilmah brand and their commitment to taste, goodness and purity.

Prior to this “tea culinary adventure”, I had little knowledge of the aromatic beverage. By attending this event, I learned that it is a natural source of antioxidants (that help with digestion) and that it has the potential to dignify the flavour and texture in food. This was explained to us during the tea tasting and delicious food pairing portion of the day, that transported our tastebuds from our cultural hub of the Middle East, to Asia Pacific, Africa, Asia, America and Europe.

How to brew, present and serve the perfect cup of tea from Dilmah School of Tea

Other fun things that were discussed included how to brew, present and serve the perfect cup as well as how to prepare mocktails and other beverages using elixir of Ceylon Tea. A short presentation from Alberto Pizarro, Dilmah Tea Mixologist, gave us the chance to see, and taste, what this seemingly small ingredient can really do!

The event concluded with a short presentation on the Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation (MJF foundation) and the importance of giving back to the community. The MJF Charitable Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Dilmah Ceylon Tea Services and Resplendent Ceylon. They work with underserved communities to ensure that men, women and children gain the skills necessary to take control of their futures, and are able to pay it forward to their own communities. By 2020, the Foundation hopes to impact over 18,000 lives, surpassing the 200,000 already reached. This is just a small portion of the humanitarian work that Dilmah does to fulfill their philosophy of “Business is a Matter of Human Service”.

Although I enjoyed learning about tea, it was Merrill J. Fernando’s commitment to helping others that stood out to me the most. While delivering his closing remarks, he stressed that Dilmah does not work for themselves but for the community, for others, to make people happy. That, my friends, is the kind of ideology that can, and will, help change the world.

Special thanks to Emirates, Dilhan C. Fernando, Merrill J. Fernando and teams for having me.


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