In 1950’s, the tea industry was taken over by a few large corporates, this led to the commoditization of the product which diminished the quality of Ceylon Tea by blending it with other teas. The multinational companies no longer produced tea with care and artistry. Companies began to manufacture tea in cheap and faster ways using the CTC (cut, tear and curl) method which in turn kills the character and taste of Ceylon tea. Dilmah Tea Owner, Merrill J Fernando decided to change the industry in the interest of all tea drinkers around the world by bringing value back to the tea crop that Ceylon produced.
Digging into Dilmah Tea history, Merrill J Fernando’s story begins in London as one of the first six Ceylonese who were trained in tea. While there, Merrill learnt how companies mixed tea from other countries with and added only a small portion of Ceylon tea, yet marketed it as “Ceylon tea”. Having realized that Ceylon tea despite being one of the finest type of teas in the world was exploited, Merrill wanted to build his own brand of tea where he could produce the finest quality. In 1988, he became the Founder of Dilmah Tea, and made sure that tea is handpicked, manufactured and packed at the source of its origin.
It took him nearly four decades to properly establish Dilmah. Dilmah was the first producer owned tea brand, and offered tea that was ‘picked, perfected and packed’ at origin. Unlike the multi-origin blends that monopolized supermarket shelves, Dilmah brought tea that is freshly packed at source and therefore rich in flavour and natural goodness.
Dilmah Tea Founder pledged to make business a matter of human service and with that ensures that profits of Dilmah are shared with Dilmah Conservation and the Merrill J. Fernando Foundation , to safeguard the environment and empower underprivileged people by providing them entrepreneurship opportunities, education and skills training.