When you're a tea drinker, there is nothing better than a freshly brewed cuppa - and Dilmah Tea director Dilhan Fernando should know. The company celebrates 30 years in the industry this year and was in Perth last month launching its new Ceylon Single Region Tea to commemorate the anniversary.

Mr Fernando says the perfect cup of tea needs three things: it needs to be hand-picked, the water needs to be filtered or spring and it needs at least three minutes to brew if black, 5 minutes if adding milk. He said the 21st century tea drinker in Australia was adventurous, younger than ever before and desired natural goodness and good taste.

"As awareness and knowledge of tea grow, I believe that tea drinkers will migrate to teas with specific terroirs," Mr Fernando said.

"A single, mid-sized tea estate can have several micro terroirs with tea from the eastern slopes varying in brightness and intensity from teas made on westward facing slopes, valleys and peaks.

"This gives tea an endless spectrum of colour, aroma, texture, flavour.

"Tea drinkers will begin to understand and appreciate this luxurious dimension in tea and use it in pairing teas with moods, occasions, food and in tea-inspired gastronomy and mixology."

And so it was proved in the Dilmah's Real High Tea Global Challenge where more than 700 chefs and mixologists around the world put on their culinary thinking caps to redefine the luxurious ceremony that is high tea, with innovative creations to enhance the experience as a whole.

"Because of its infinite, natural variety, tea can make perfect pairings for breakfast - as simple as a bright, breakfast tea with eggs and maple-dipped bacon, or in the evening - a Nuwara Eliya Pekoe from 6000 feet above sea level, offering a contrasting pairing with your chocolate cake, or a Moroccan mint for a complementary flavour pairing," he said.

It has been this constant evolving and passion for tea that have seen the business grow despite tough markets and economic downturns.

"In those 30 years we have experienced relentless commoditisation with customers insisting on cheaper teas, demanding stronger promotions and discounting than the quality of our product would permit. In each instance my father resolved to stay the course and taught us never to compromise," he said.

"That is where passion and commitment meet, for there is only one way to make good tea and our purpose is to offer tea with integrity, for pleasure not solely for profit.

"Compromise would have been the easier, more profitable path but in determining that we would not vary the founding principle of quality, integrity and genuine ethics, my father has guided our business through 30 challenging years."

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