Here you see the founder of Dilmah, a very big player in the world of tea, on one of the tea plantations in Sri Lanka. This is an icon person in the world of tea. As a sponsor of an international tea website, we were invited by ZeroWater to do an exclusive interview with the founder and his son Dilhan, who takes care of the daily management of the worldwide top-10 brand. Merril Fernando is 88 years old, but he could be the living proof that drinking tea is good for your health. He definitely looks younger, and the same goes for Dilhan since he looks younger than the 50 years he is as well.
20 Tea Sommeliers
Martin Kuiper of Tea Stories did an interview with the idea to offer Dilhan a ZeroWater pitcher afterwards. The conversation with Merrill unfolded like a journey through the history of Sri Lanka. Born in 1930 under the colonial regime of Great Britain, he was one of the first people of the local population to go to London for training as a tea taster. His experiences far away from home proved to be decisive for the rest of his life. Merrill saw how the farmers in Sri Lanka received rock bottom prices while the consumer, on the other hand, had to pay a pretty high price. Thus making the profits enormous. Many types of tea were also mixed and thrown together, so that the unique taste of the tea from certain regions was lost.
This had to be changed, the young Merrill decided, but it was not until 1988 that he had the finances and the courage to launch his own brand Dilmah, a contraction of the first names of his children Dilhan and Malik. Dilmah has grown into a global tea brand with an eye for the plantation workers and the consumer. For example, tea is brought on the market via the principle of single origin (tea from one country), single region (one region) and single estate (one plantation).
By now Merrill is no longer involved in the daily management of Dilmah, the company is now run by his sons Malik and Dilhan. The latter travels around the world with his father to share the gastronomic possibilities of tea through the Dilmah School of Tea, such as food pairing. Dilhan tells us in his interview about the many projects Dilmah has set up via the MJF Foundation, such as improving schools and hospitals and supporting less fortunate women, orphans and families of fishermen. And he indicated the importance of clean water for the taste of tea. After all, tea consists of 99% water and polluted water means poorly tasting tea. Good spring water or filtered water is the solution. That sounded like music to our ears. So we could not wait to offer him a ZeroWater pitcher after the interview and Dilhan promised to test it that night. Would he really do that?
The next day at the Dilmah School of Tea at hotel Barbizon in Amsterdam we heard everything about food pairing and tea mixology. It was surprising to taste the big influence of different types of tea on different types of food! Although Dilhan hosted the day and was very busy, he approached us: “ZeroWater works”, he said. And on our question if he would like to cooperate with ZeroWater, he answered in the affirmative. “Spring water from a bottle is not sustainable, ZeroWater is the way to make tea with pure water!”
We think it’s fantastic, that people who have a name in the world of tea all start to embrace ZeroWater. It creates, after all, a different experience: tastes are pure, the tea has a different – more pure color, and a different smell. Because there are no residual particles left in the water, all the wonderful notes of the tea leaves have the space to come to life, creating a completely balanced taste. A true experience! A true experience!
An extra benefit when you make tea with ZeroWater is that you no longer have any deposits in your teacups and your kettle. Of course there are some other factors that contribute to creating your perfect cup of tea. But it all starts with the foundation: the use of the perfect type of water.