Press release and images on The 35th Dilmah School of Tea from Dilmah
A visit to the Rilhena Estate and factory marked the commencement of the 35th School of Tea on the 17th of March. The participants were thrilled to have the firsthand experience in hand-plucking the two leaves and the bud of the plant Camelia sinensis, coached by experience tea pluckers who were present to welcome the visitors. They also got the opportunity to witness the artisanal method of tea manufacturing, a process that had been perfected over millennia that requires expertise and experience. Thus kicking off their tea education right from the nursery was clearly a refreshing experience for everyone.
The participants also visited the Home of Dilmah in the outskirts of Colombo where they were received by a colourful traditional procession of Dilmah staff that depicted the warmth of true Sri Lankan hospitality in abundance. The fascinated participants were then taken through the factory premises, the state-of-the-art laboratory and the Quality Assurance department of the establishment which is known to be one of the best tea bagging and packaging plants in the world. They were welcomed by Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando and an introduction to different teas and a mini tea tasting session was conducted by Dilhan C. Fernando, son of Dilmah Founder at the Tea Department of the establishment- the very heart of the organization where over 11,000 teas are tasted each week.
A visit to the t-Lounges at Chatham Street and Arcade Independence offered our participants the chance to indulge in the rapidly expanding concept that is uniquely Dilmah ' an exclusive space where everything tea is celebrated. This was followed by a visit to the Merrill J. Fernando Centre in Moratuwa which was an inspiring experience for all. Many were moved to tears as they witnessed the stories of the thousands of lives that the brand has managed to change through its work ' a brand that they themselves are part of and to which they were contributing. It was happy day for all, the participants intermingling with the MJF kids as they all naturally fell in step with the daily routine of these cheerful cherubs, laughter and smiles spread all around.
The formal sessions unrolled on the 19th of March at the Blue Water Resort in Wadduwa with our eager students participating in all sessions with so much enthusiasm. It was a 24 hours learning experience for the participants where they were fully immersed in all things tea from breakfast to dinner. Innovative breakfast and lunch pairings, tea digestives and morning chai and smoothie sessions guided and satiated the palates of the eager students while the lessons on the history of tea, sensory evaluation, terroir, tea & health and interactive sessions on how to brew the perfect cup of tea and tea mixology satiated their minds. The programme was conducted by respected savants of the industry such as Edwin Soon - wine writer, educator, Professor Tissa Amarakoon and Dilhan C. Fernando who continued to further educate the crowd right throughout the period.
'Tea is something that is enjoyed every day. Yet there are so many mysteries, and so much beauty in tea, that is linked to the wonderful luxury of real tea. For my family it is a privilege to offer you this tea and I hope you have a successful School of tea to learn all about how to make the perfect cup of tea, how to enjoy it knowing that story, the history and the luxury of real tea.' said Dilhan C. Fernando in welcoming the participants to the School of Tea.
The response of the participants towards the training was overwhelming. 'It was a great learning opportunity and one that would have a direct business benefit to us as hoteliers.' said Patrick G. S. Pereira, Manager ' Training & Development of Keells Hotel Management Services Ltd on commenting upon the School of Tea training sessions.
The hospitality professionals who participated in the programme walked in those doors with almost no knowledge in tea left with a knowledge that reaches far and beyond the cup, having had a glimpse of the infinity of possibilities that lie within this magnificent herb.
'My heartfelt gratitude towards you and your entire team for conducting a tea session which was unparalleled in every way. I hardly remember undergoing such a structured training( and I have gone through many in my tenure of 15 yrs in hospitality).Thank you again for including me in this edition of School of Tea, will savour the memories for many years and will definitely have a different perspective when I drink or sell Tea henceforth.' said participant Anirban Dasgupta, Executive Chef, Hilton Bangalore Embassy Golflinks on commenting upon the event.
'The education that Dilmah School of Tea provides and the innovations we introduce to tea are changing the world of tea and the attitude of young people to tea. The search for tea among young people is beyond my belief. And I am sure that with this kind of education, knowledge and expertise Dilmah School of Tea is providing there will be much more respect to good quality tea.' said Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando on thanking the participants for their enthusiastic participants during the sessions.
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