Dubai, UAE, January 17th, 2017: Family tea company Dilmah, whose founder Merrill J. Fernando transformed the tea industry with tea picked, perfected and packed at source, launched its exclusive t-Lounge concept in Dubai today. The t-Lounge by Dilmah in Ibn Battuta Mall, deliciously expresses the ethical Teamaker's commitment to tea that is handpicked and made in the traditional, artisanal way in an eclectic selection of Dilmah's t-Series designer gourmet teas. The Dilmah t-Lounge was first conceptualized in 2003 and the first ever outlet opened in in Colombo. Mr.Ajay Sethi, Chairman of Channel 2 Group Corporation and former Pakistan cricket team captain, Mr.Rameez Raja are the local partners for this new venture. Dilmah currently supplies its its teas to premium hospitality and retail customers including Emirates Airline. The brand  has a presence in over 100 countries, and now aims to present its very special handmade teas to UAE's tea enthusiasts who consume close to 19000 kilograms of tea every day. 
Merrill J. Fernando was in his twenties when in the 1950s, he devoted his life to tea. Four decades later he was joined by his two sons, Dilhan and Malik (after whom he named his Dilmah Tea) who share his passion. Today, more than sixty years on, Merrill and his sons - the Fernando family - have unique passion and expertise in tea. Having their own tea gardens, printing, and packaging facilities the 'Dilmah Family' grows, packs and offer consumers around the world only the finest, direct from origin. Their love for tea clearly transcends generations for Dilhan and Malik's sons and daughters are learning tea, preparing for a time when they assume responsibility for the covenant that their grandfather made, when in the 1950s he declared that he would devote his life to bringing quality back to tea, ethically. 

Unveiling the new lounge, Merrill J. Fernando, founder of Dilmah, stated that, "the t-Lounge from Dilmah is unique for its expresses my family's love for tea. Each tea, its preparation, the food that accompanies it, the way it is presented are all carefully crafted by my sons and I. In the UAE, where tea is enjoyed so much, we are honoured to partner with Mr. Ajay Sethi and Mr. Ramiz Raja in bringing a new dimension to an ancient and noble herb." 

Merrill J. Fernando was accompanied by his son Dilhan, whose commitment to his father's mission is apparent in his desire to honour tradition in tea, whilst crafting innovation in its appreciation. Dilhan led the family company's engagement with a new generation of tea drinkers through initiatives like Dilmah's Global Real High Tea Challenge - considered a revolution in tea -  its tea gastronomy, mixology and pioneering School of Tea. 

Dilhan C. Fernando also led the evolution of the t-Lounge concept as it grew from vision to 21st Century Tea Experience. He explained at the launch of the t-Lounge by Dilmah in Dubai, "Tea is an ancient herb that has special relevance in our 21st Century lives. The natural goodness in good quality, fresh tea is said to heal and protect. Our vision goes beyond that unique goodness though, to the luxury that different teas, crafted by Nature, offer." 

"Tea is an universal beverage, it is extraordinary in its ability to bring friends and families together, to be a companion at times of solace. There is no beverage that is quite like tea. As for luxury, the spectacular Craighead Estate Seasonal Flush that we present today expresses the elegance of Nature's influence as the Master Teamaker. Each subtle character in this tea is crafted by Nature, the coppery leaf from from our Craighead tea estate revealing bright and dry weather, delivering quality. This exceptionally refined tea offers beautiful notes of mango, gentle herbs and grapes, along with a mild sweet citrus finish, all the result of the winds that fanned the bushes on a small part of the estate. A rare tea - just 10kg - but so beautiful."

Dilmah's local partner, Mr.Ajay Sethi is a Dubai-based NRI businessman and Chairman of Channel 2 Group stated that, "We are delighted to be part of the Mr.Merill's success story and we are privileged to be part of it. I have been associated with several businesses right from auto exports, real estate, films, media and sports.  However one of my dreams was to get associated with a brand that touches the masses and Dilmah is one such brand and we are very delighted to be associated with their first t-Lounge in Dubai."
Mr.Sethi, started his entrepreneurial journey in 1985 by setting up his first business venture Exim Trade Ltd in Nairobi, travelled the length and breadth of the globe to reach the pinnacle of success. Together, his businesses are estimated to be worth 0 million. 

The other local partner for Dilmah in UAE is Mr.Rameez Raja, the stylish opening batsman and former Pakistan skipper. Mr.Raja stated that, "Whenever we used to be on our cricket tour to Sri Lanka, we used to be exposed to one brand across the country and that was Dilmah.  I have fond memories of sipping refreshing blends of tea from the house of Dilmah thouse days.  Infact, I was always sure to buy the Dilmah tea packs in bulk when I went back home to Pakistan.  And if ever I forgot to buy from the city then I would buy it from the Airport as my family and me are a huge fan of not just the brand but also the man behind the brand Mr.Merill.  The dedication that he has for his dream and passion has always inspired me and I am honoured to be part of the brand through this beautiful and meticulously designed, t-Lounge in Dubai."
 
On and off the field, in Pakistan cricket, it will be difficult to find a more stylish man than Mr.Ramiz Raja. In the World Cups of 1987 and 1992 he was a key figure and he is also know for taking the catch that won it for Pakistan in 1992, he scored two hundreds through the tournament. Today, he has also become an articulate voice of Pakistan the world over as a television commentator. 

"We are delighted with the very positive reception we have received in Dubai and would like to thank our local partners for their support. After Dubai, we will look at opening other outlets at select locations in the country. We look forward to delighting lovers of fine tea in the UAE through an eventual network of t-Lounges by Dilmah," concluded Dilhan.

About Dilmah Tea:

Sri Lankan family tea company Dilmah, founded by Merrill J. Fernando, today the world's most experienced tea maker, has championed quality, authenticity and variety in tea. Dilmah pioneered the concept of Single Origin Tea in 1988 when the family company went against industry trends to declare its commitment to authenticity. Garden fresh, unblended tea is a hallmark of Dilmah and offers a unique taste of unblended Ceylon tea packed at source - where it is grown. Our range includes traditional Specialty Gourmet and Premium Tea, Herbal Infusions, pure Green Tea and Fun Flavored Teas, Spiced Chais, Organic Tea, the Dilmah Exceptional range with its contemporary selection of teas, our boutique Watte and t-Series teas, the exclusive Tea maker's Private Reserve teas and the latest Dilmah 25thAnniversary Silver Jubilee Gourmet range and the vibrant and exciting Vivid tea selection.

Dilmah takes the lead in bringing innovation to a global tea category that has suffered decline as a result of commoditization. Signature events such as the Chefs & the Tea maker and Real High Tea are innovations that seek to educate and inspire hospitality professionals to offer their guests a completely new tea experience. The events foster greater respect for this healthy, natural and versatile beverage. www.dilmaht-lounge.com. The Dilmah School of Tea seeks to inspire passion in tea through knowledge of the artisanal aspects of tea amongst hospitality professionals, tea aficionados and consumers. The emphasis is on the importance of Real Tea and the versatility of this natural herb in Tea Gastronomy, food pairing and Tea Mixology. www.schooloftea.org

Dilmah is Ethical Tea, in that all packaging profits are retained in Sri Lanka and fund the MJF Charitable Foundation and Dilmah Conservation. We believe that Business is a Matter of Human Service. www.mjffoundation.org
 

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