When Dilmah was first introduced to tea drinkers in 1988, it represented a paradigm shift, being the first producer owned tea company in the world, offering its tea garden fresh, direct from origin to retailers and consumers around the world. It was a small but momentous change, for it symbolised an end to a colonial economic model. Merrill J. Fernando’s boldness brought genuinely fair tea to tea drinkers for the first time, with the benefits of value addition reaching producers and helping sustain an ailing and exploited tea industry. His endeavour also benefited tea drinkers, for he shared the unique perspective of a producer and the strong emotional ties of a farmer to his produce. This eventually led to innovations like the Dilmah Seasonal Flush Tea, the Dilmah School of Tea, and the Tea Gastronomy programme amongst others, all designed to share the pleasure in tea in a very authentic way.
As natural as a farmer bringing his produce to market, for the first time