Dilmah Global Timeline
Merrill J. Fernando dedicated his life to tea when in the 1950s, he saw the concentration of ownership in the tea industry in the hands of a few large corporations. This was leading to the commoditisation of tea. He decided that in the interest of tea drinkers around the world, and the crop that his country produced with so much care and artistry, he would fight this process of commoditisation.
Read on and find out about Ceylon tea history as well as about Dilmah tea history.
Dilmah Tea Founder Merrill J. Fernando has been capped as a Doctor of Science by Massey University in New Zealand.
Dilmah’s Natural Infusions wins the Australian consumer award for Product of the Year 2020
The 100th student graduates from the Empower Culinary & Hospitality School
Why Saama? A collaboration between Power of Play and MJFCF to empower girls wins 8 awards at the State Children’s Drama Festival
Dilmah published the first Integrated Report in 2019. This IR was amongst the top 3 reports in the Food and Beverages category in Sri Lanka.
Marine Environmental protection Authority (MEPA) of Sri Lanka recognised Dilmah’s dedication to Marine Conservation and Coastal Area protection with an award to Dilmah Founder, Merrill J Fernando.
Moratuwa Centre commences drive to become a zero waste facility
The Rainbow Centre East Opens
Dilmah Founder, Merrill J. Fernando was bestowed with the “Deshamanaya” title at the recent National Honours Ceremony presided by President Maithripala Sirisena.
Ti21 - is designed by Ceylon Tea growing family Dilmah, to express the natural sophistication and taste in fine tea through gastronomy and mixology.
Elixir of Ceylon Tea Green Tea debuts at Anuga in Germany
Facilitated the first Climathon in Sri Lanka, held in Jaffna 2019 an area susceptible to the effects of Climate Change.
Dilmah is voted by New Zealand as their most trusted tea brand for the 5th year in a row.
ECHS East begins inaugural course with 19 students
MJF Centre West Moratuwa commences operation of Inclusive preschool
Dilmah powers its way to Carbon Neutrality
Facilitated by Dilmah Conservation, Kayankerni was declared as the 18th marine and marine associated sanctuary in Sri Lanka, on April 2019
Dilmah was presented the “Most Globally Outreached Brand in Sri Lanka” at the Presidential Export Award, presented by H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, the MoDSIT and the EDB.
Dilmah selected as one of Sri Lanka’s Most Admired Companies by the International Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka.
Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando honoured by the International Chamber of Commerce as one of the 3 Most Admired Leaders in Sri Lanka.
Dilmah facilitates Colombo Development Dialogue
Dilmah launches Afternoon Tea for the 21st Century - an evolution of our 8 year journey with the Real High Tea Challenge.
Dilmah Launches National Dialogue on Climate change through the Climate Reality initiative
MJF Centre for Dignified Empowerment & Sustainable Development in the East opened by Hon Prime Minister together with Dilmah Founder
Dilmah t Lounge debuts in Iran with 2 Lounges in Teheran
Launch of Brew 1867 – Colombo - Reuniting the two Prefect brews from Paradise Island
Launch of Teamaker’s Reserve & Founder’s Anniversary Range to Celebrates 30 years of taste, goodness and purpose.
Dilmah Tea Lounge launched in Glasgow, Scotland
Dilmah Ceylon Tea product becomes Carbon Neutral covering over 1800 products
Dilmah Tea Founder honoured by World Association of Chefs’ Societies with Lifetime Achievement Award
Dilmah creates a nature corridor linking the Delwala Kanda and Walankanda Forest Reserves
30 Years of Dilmah Tea Taste. Goodness. Purpose. No Compromise.
Launch of t-Lounge Andora
Dilmah Founder, Merrill J. Fernando recognized by Business Today in the ‘Passionate 2017’ list of Sri Lankans
Opening of Dilmah’s Wild Coast Resort in Yala
Lifetime Service Award for Dilmah Founder, Merrill J. Fernando at National Tea Awards 2017
Interbrand recognizes Dilmah as one of the best-performing brands in 2017
“Tea & your Health” publication - to mark the 150 years Ceylon Tea
‘A Field Guide to the Bats of Sri Lanka’ Book launch
Dilmah Facilitates discovery of an Endemic Snake in Central Highlands of Sri Lanka
Empower Culinary & Hospitality School receives prestigious WorldChefs Certification
The MJF Centre for Dignified and Sustainable Empowerment model replicated in Sri Lanka’s East
Dilmah Conservation Launched the first Urban Arboretum
Dilmah is a Carbon Neutral facility fulfilling its pledge made in 2014 to become Carbon Neutral by 2017
Merrill J. Fernando honoured with FIRST Award for Responsible Capitalism for improving the lives of underprivileged children and deprived communities. Dilmah Founder receives the Award from Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP Chancellor of the Exchequer
MJF Charitable Foundation’s Empower Culinary and Hospitality School launched.
MJF Charitable Foundation develops Kayts Base hospital in North of Sri Lanka
Merrill J Fernando named Global Businessman at the Sri Lankan of the year Awards. Merrill J. Fernando felicitated as ‘Honoured Citizen’ by Colombo Municipal Council
Ceylon Tea Services PLC becomes Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company PLC
MJF Kids Programme celebrates its first decade of excellence
The 3rd T-Lounge is opened in founder’s hometown, Negombo, Sri Lanka
DC novel species program discovers its first snake species (Dendrelaphis sinharajensis) and discovers a species of Gecko (Cnemaspis rajakarunai).
DC launches the ‘One Earth Nature Club’, publishes ‘Common Forest Trees of Sri Lanka’
Dilmah’s 107 Global partners sign Carbon Neutral Dilmah Pledge.
A research project supported by Dilmah Conservation discovers 8 lichen species new to science. New species discovered within Dilmah’s Queensberry estate - ‘Heterodermia queensberryi’.
Merrill J Fernando addresses the main forum at World Chefs Congress as the only true voice of the farmer
Dilmah Conservation inaugurates Sri Lanka’s first Climate Change Research Station in Dilmah’s Queensberry estate in Nawalapitiya
DC launches Merrill J. Fernando Eco-Innovation Awards
MJF Charitable Foundation opens The National Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy and Development Disorders. Sri Lanka’s former cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara joins the Founder to set up the first National Register of the persons with Development Disorders
Dilmah first T-Lounge in India
Dilmah’s School of Tea receives World Chefs certification
Dilmah re-acquires MJF Co Ltd
New species of shrub frog named after Dilmah, Pseudophilautus dilmah
Dilmah T-Lounges in Indonesia, Malaysia
Dilmah Real High Tea Global Challenge
Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando honoured with Oslo Business for Peace Award
DC publishes ‘An introduction to Common Spiders of Sri Lanka’ and ‘Recognising deadly venomous Snakes from Harmless snakes of Sri Lanka’
Launch of Cape Weligama, Sri Lanka’s most sumptuous resort. 39 villas and suites surrounded by 12 acres of tropical gardens and infinity edge pools, on a stunning Indian Ocean headland near Galle.
Dilmah Founder, Merrill J. Fernando pledges to make Dilmah Carbon Neutral by the year 2017.
Ahikuntaka Cultural Centre established in Kudagama by DC to preserve the heritage of the community
8 new species of frog discovered under DC’s Novel Species program
Veddah Handicraft and Pottery Centre was declared open by DC
Thoppigala Heritage Centre opened
FSSC 22000 – Certification scheme for food Safety Systems including ISO 22000: 2005 , ISO/TS 22002-1 and additional FSSC 22000 requirements
Dilmah T-Lounge at Chatham opened
Teamaker and the Mixologists Programme
First Real High Tea Challenge in the Middle East - Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Dilmah Conservation together with the IUCN and Chamber of Commerce set up the first private sector environmental body, the Sri Lanka Business and Biodiversity Platform.
First species under DC’s Novel Species Paving the Way for Biodiversity Conservation described. The species was named Polypedates ranwellai.
First Real High Tea in New Zealand and Singapore
Dilmah embarks on a partnership with Shangri-La hotels worldwide
Veddah community clan gathering was supported by DC
Dilmah Conservation Sustainable Agriculture Research Centre set up at Moratuwa
Launch of Teamaker’s Private Reserve
Ahikuntika (Gypsy) community’s 2011 Varigasabha or clan meeting, the first of its kind in 6 decades, organized by the Dilmah Conservation
DC launches large scale investigation on current Dugong populations in Eastern Sri Lanka, acquiring valuable information that can serve as a base for Dugong research in the future.
Launch of Dilmah Real High Tea Consumer and Professional Challenge in Australia
Inauguration of Tea in the Five Senses
DC launches ‘Greening the East Project’
British Retail consortium Global Standard for Food Safety certification obtained
Merrill J. Fernando celebrates his 80th birthday
Dilmah pledges a core commitment to sustainability
Dilmah School of Tea inaugurated in Colombo
First International Tea School established at the Institute Paul Bocuse in France
Dilmah Conservation sets up a visitor information centre at Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home.
Dilmah celebrates its 21st Anniversary and the Founder’s 60th year in tea
Under the guidance of Dilmah Conservation, Dilmah’s tea estates begin applying Biochar into soil. Biochar is a soil enhancer produced using organic biomass, in this case, waste tea.
Inaugural Dilmah Chefs and the Teamaker Australia programmes
Launch of SEP in the East of Sri Lanka
Dilmah awarded Superbrands
Dilmah wins Best Corporate Citizen Award
Dilmah wins People’s Export Brand of the year at the SLIM-Nielsen Peoples Awards
First Dilmah tea sommelier competition outside Sri Lanka held in Myanmar
Inaugural Dilmah real High Tea Challenge in Sri Lanka
Launch of the Dilmah Exceptional Range of Teas
Official inauguration of Dilmah Conservation
The inaugural outdoor event for MJF Kids “Pahan Tharuwa” held in Colombo
MJF Charitable Foundation launches the MJF Kids Programme, to nurture the hidden talents of the kids from underprivilege families around the Dilmah factory
Launch of Ceylon Tea Trails - An iconic collection of 5 colonial era tea planters’ bungalows restored to impeccable style.
Dilmah Launches the Tea Gastronomy Revolution with “The Culinaire”
Dilmah receives Presidential Merit Award for its contribution to the preservation of the environment
Dilmah receives Brand with a Conscience recognition from Medinge Group
MJF Foundation Launches Small Entrepreneur programme to support the Tsunami victims
December 26th Tsunami hits south coast of Sri Lanka
Launch of Dilmah t-Series and first Dilmah t-Lounge at Trans Asia Hotel (Presently Cinnamon Lakeside), in the presence of Rosanna Davison (Miss World 2003)
Dilmah launches History of Ceylon Tea website historyofceylontea.com
First Dilmah Global Partner Conference at Trans Asia Hotel, Colombo
The MJF Charitable Foundation is officially inaugurated
MJF Plantations purchases a controlling interest in Kahawatte Plantations Ltd
Dilmah Sponsors Sri Lanka Cricket
MJF Group acquires 70% share in Forbes & Walker (Pvt) Ltd
MJF Plantations Ltd invests in Talawakelle Plantations Ltd and Elpitiya Plantations Ltd
Dilmah Tasting and Packing Factory awarded ISO 9002 Certification for tasting
New Dilmah factory built at 111, Negombo Road, Peliyagoda, Colombo
Dilmah Founder launches the “Do Try it!” campaign
Dilmah Tea launched in Australia
The launch of First Valued added Ceylon Tea Brand “Dilma” with Mauri Foods
Merrill J. Fernando is asked to supply pre-packed teas to Russia
Merrill J. Fernando establishes Ceylon Tea Services Ltd
Merrill J. Fernando temporarily retires from the Sri Lankan Tea Trade and hands over MJF Co to his former partner
Merrill J. Fernando considers retiring from the tea industry
Merrill J. Fernando registers MJF Exports Ltd
MJF Co Ltd makes 8.2 cents profit per pound of tea sold, highest net profit
Ceylon becomes a Republic and changes its name to Sri Lanka but the tea industry keeps its old name
Dilhan C. Fernando is born
Malik J. Fernando is born
Merrill J. Fernando appointed Managing Director of AF Jones
Merrill J. Fernando is appointed a director of AF Jones and buys AF Jones with 2 partners when the company owners decide to return to England
Spends 12 months in London with Joseph Travers & Sons Ltd
Merrill J. Fernando starts work with AF Jones
Ceylon gains independence
Ceylon Tea Centre opens in London’s Regent Street
Merrill J. Fernando born in Negombo
Tea Research Institute - TRI established
Colombo Tea Traders’ Association established under the auspices of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
First tea auction in Colombo
Railway from Colombo to Kandy opens
James Taylor lays out the first tea plantation in Ceylon
First tea seeds arrive from Assam at Ceylon’s Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya
Reverend Ringletaube suggests growing tea in Ceylon