Grown, handpicked and ethically made at source, Dilmah has grown from its humble origins into a global brand that is unique in its promise of unmatched freshness, provenance, flavor, and integrity. It is founded on a passionate commitment to quality and authenticity in tea. Launched in 1988, the company believes in a philosophy that goes beyond commerce in seeing ‘Business as a Matter of Human Service’. Dilmah has some of the finest tea gardens, state-of-the-art tea factories, printing and packaging facilities and investments in every segment of the industry. “We care for your tea, right from the tea nursery to the teacup!”- says the founder of the company. By following traditional tea technique over centuries, it produces tea that is varied and sophisticated.
The Inception Tale
With zealous business acumen, Merrill J. Fernando is the Founder of Dilmah. He was fortunate to be offered a place amongst the first group of Ceylonese to be recruited to learn the art of tea tasting. The journey started from here. He was born into a middle-class Sri Lankan family in rural Ceylon. After completing his training in the plantations, he went to Mincing Lane, London which is the center of the world for tea. At that time, he realized the fact that Ceylon tea is the finest in the world, expensive, and the scope for this industry is huge. The years he spent learning tea, changed his life; seeing the exploitation of his country’s crop, the young tea-man, whilst yet in his twenties, resolved that he would change the tea industry. Thus, he built his own brand to deliver the best in the world with the finest quality.
Dedication at its Best!
Merrill Fernando has devoted his life to tea and after nearly four decades of struggle against vested interests, he launched his own tea brand. ‘Dilmah’–the world’s first producer- owned brand in tea, coffee or cocoa; is symbolizing hope for producers. Because of his dedication, Merrill was honored as one of the three Most Admired Leaders in Sri Lanka. He was chosen for his passionate commitment to Quality and Integrity, and for the philosophy, he established at the heart of his Dilmah Tea business of making the business a matter of human service.
Meet the CEO
Merrill Fernando named his own tea brand ‘Dilmah’ –after his son’s names Dilhan and Malik, both of whom have joined their father in his mission to bring quality back to tea with ethics and integrity. The younger son, Dilhan C. Fernando is the CEO of Dilmah. His efforts have focused on bringing tea to a new generation with innovations like tea gastronomy, t- Lounges and by enhancing knowledge in tea through the ‘Dilmah School of Tea’. Dilhan also nurtures his father’s pledge to make the business a matter of human service through the work of the MJF Charitable Foundation and Dilmah Conservation.
Taste, Goodness, and Purpose
The Dilmah tea is grown and fully packaged in Sri Lanka itself. Produced with love and care, it was the first brand of tea packaging in Ceylon and is the first company to introduce tea bags as well. “Today, Dilmah is a global brand and it is the only brand that states on each pack what is inside the tea. It is a single origin tea of a well-respected brand.” –says Merrill Fernando. “Almost nearly 99% of the airlines in Asia Pacific region carry Dilmah tea on board. About 60% of hotels in this region carry Dilmah tea. That is a great compliment to Ceylon tea; and this all the success of Dilmah is due to the power, quality, and image of Ceylon tea.”-he added further. The firm offers a truly different experience in tea-to-tea aficionados around the world.
The Strongest Weapon
Determination, commitment, dedication, and devotion are the solid objectives, which were acted as the strongest weapon for Dilmah. The firm was started from a small brand in the big world of tea. It believed on itself and stood firmly against all the negativity. Apart from everything, today, everywhere in the world, people are talking about Ceylon tea as the strongest weapon of Dilmah.
Ethical and Guaranteed Tea Products
Dilmah is a product offered with a strong passion for tea. Besides, in tea, there is nothing more important than taste and quality, which comes from the expertise of tasters. Dilmah is the only Ethical Tea, where freshness guarantees a satisfying cup, rich in healthy antioxidants.
Tea Packed at Source
The only international tea brand owned by tea growers handpicked, packed and supplied directly from the origin of a fully integrated company, caring for tea from the tea nursery right to the cup. The world’s only ethically produced tea that is truly traditional and authentic and packed at origin i.e. packed at Dilmah Tea Gardens, the home of the world’s finest Ceylon tea.
Expertise in Tea
The creation of brands has changed the perception of tea and almost made this beverage a commodity. Growing and selecting the finest in tea –is an art that takes years to get perfect. The Founder of Dilmah, Merrill Fernando, is one of the most experienced tea tasters in service today with 69 years in tea, and that expertise is what makes Dilmah different.
Million Dollar Advice for Millennial
“Having full knowledge of the project and starting within your reach will lead you to the success. When you grow, you can think of expanding. After 5 years you will be well established.”— advises Merrill J. Fernando. “Most people fail by not properly identifying their limitations and trying to copy what others do. That is a human weakness” he added further.
Great Future Ahead
The mission of the firm was to bring quality back to tea with integrity, and by God’s grace it has achieved that and demonstrated that quality and genuinely fair trade can come only from the empowerment of the producer. Merrill Fernando is expecting that his sons Dilhan and Malik will continue to focus on those same values and principles. The world has changed vastly and it is undergoing change at a pace that is unprecedented and as they look to God for wisdom, and operate with integrity and dedication to the customer, the workers, and our great tea industry, they will continue to succeed.