Drink Tea, Drink Dilmah – Interview with Mr Merrill J. Fernando (Part 2)

The interview with Merrill and Dilhan is such a journey of knowledge and info of tea. Some of those includes the sensory aspects, regional characteristics and antioxidant activities of the tea I drink from time to time. Magically, all these characters have similar aspects as our wines. If you love drinking fine wines, then I guess you should love and start to drink some fine teas such as Dilmah.

Part 2 The tea, The benefits and The high tea challenge

The tea, brewing methods and their characteristics

As I mentioned in the previous post, Dilmah only offers single origin tea. “Single origin” means their teas are all obtained from tea grown regions in Sri Lanka, packed and manufactured there. However, Sri Lanka does have different tea grown regions and according to their altitudes, they are classified as High Grown, Middle Grown and Low Grown regions. These regions all have their own regional characters due to the environment, the dryness, the rainfall, the land and other plants around them. This is very similar to grape plantations in wine producing.

Dilhan C. Fernando


Dilhan C. Fernando, who is the younger son of Mr Merrill J. Fernando, is very knowledgeable on these tea grown regions. He added some key characters about the Dilmah tea in our conversations.

High Grown Teas – They are grown at above 4000 feet above sea level. For teas grown at 6000 feet, they show a golden color in the cup. They also have eucalyptus on the nose with earthy textures and a hint of citrus on palate.  They are very similar to Champagne in terms of sensory aspects and color. As the height goes down, Dilhan said there are intensity and structure added to the tea. At 4500 feet, teas exhibit Pinot Noir characters.

Middle Grown Teas – They are grown at 2000 ft to 4000 ft. They exhibit Shiraz texture with creamy fig and chocolate characters on palate and nose.

Low Grown Teas – These teas are grown between sea level to 2000 ft and exhibits Cab. Sauv. characters.

As I personally didn’t drink all these teas, I can only give the info that we talked in the conversation. However, I am planning to get some of their WATTE teas, which are premium teas from different grown regions, and I’ll be able to give a detailed comparison of them.

Dilmah has teas from all these regions. Merrill said that to ensure the full flavour and freshness of their tea, they have all the packaging and manufacturing done themselves. They use foil to pack tea bags and with loose tea, they firstly introduced vacuum packing, which got followed by many tea companies nowadays.

In saying that, I then asked about the quality between tea bags and loose tea, for personal interest as I drink loose tea much more than tea bags. Dilhan added that they are the same in quality but small leaves have more strength due to the surface area.

The tea drinking and brewing methods

In regarding to the topic of tea drinking culture in Australia, Merrill was a bit disappointed. He pointed out that our tea drinking and brewing methods are somewhat incorrect. “People in western society thinks tea drinking can be the same as coffee and this is wrong. Coffee is something that we can drink on the go whereas tea is not. I saw some people dipped their tea bags in hot water then through them away or adding milk and sugar to them before. This is not how tea should be brewed.”

“Then what’s the correct way of brewing and drinking tea?” I asked.

“For black tea, use 100 degree boiled water to brew. Dip the tea bag in for 5 mins to drink them and don’t throw the tea bags away because they can be used at least another several times. For a premium quality black tea as Dilmah offers, there is no need to add milk or sugar because they are not bitter.”  Merrill said. I actually agree with this very much. Good quality teas are never bitter and you can some times get a hint of honey from them whereas tea from those huge brands sometimes gave strong bitterness. I guess for tea, quality does matter on our palate.

“For green tea, use 80 degree boiled water to brew. Dip the tea bag in for 3 mins to drink them and same to black tea bags, don’t throw the tea bags away and reuse them to get the maximum strength.” Dilhan then added. “Tea is for relaxation and a family get-together and there shouldn’t be any rush in drinking tea. This is different to coffee where people can drink on their way to work etc.”

Health Benefits of Drinking Tea

There are lots of benefits associated with tea drinking. Similar to wine, tea got may polyphenols, catechin and flavonoids which are all natural antioxidant and can help our body to get rid of free radicals. We didn’t go into too much details of the sciences of tea but Dilhan stated that numerous research papers have been published in relation to tea both in United States Tea forum and by CSIRO in Australia.

“Tea is for relaxation. Let me say this again. Between stressful work, I usually drink a cup of tea to help me to relax mentally and physically. Research studies have found previously tea drinking can help to reduce the possibility of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancers, especially breast cancers.” Dilhan said. “Although some people are picky to point out that there are caffeine content in tea, they didn’t know that the content of caffeine in coffee are somewhat 3 times higher than it in tea.” In fact, the effect of caffeine can only last up to 3 hrs whereas all the other goodies can last for at least half a day.

My dear fellow readers, from the above parts, I think you will be figure out what to drink. We spent too much on drinking coffee to get antioxidant but never realised that tea can have much better results. So, if you like coffee, do try some tea as well. If you love drinking wine, tea can give you similar health benefits and NOT ANY ALCOHOL!

 The Real High Tea Challenge

Merrill and Dilhan were here for the Dilmah Real high tea challenge. According to them, this competition is to educate young generations with the passion and habit to drinking tea. Apparently, it has been very successful throughout the cities they visited. Dilhan said that in Adelaide, they found many talent chefs who has cooked a storm with tea or having tea infused into western dishes. Some good savoury and sweet treats have been discovered through competition as well. Some of the photos for Adelaide are uploaded below.  If you are interested in the high tea challenge, please follow Dilmah Australia’s FB or visit official website of Dilmah Real High Tea .

After the interview, I had a deeper thought about the success of Dilmah. This is because of their belief – to provide customers with the best quality tea at reasonable price as well as caring for our earth!

Due to the vast amount of health benefits and for relaxation purposes, I suggest my readers to try to drink some tea and experience the differences tea can make on you! I am sure you will love it, because I do enjoy it a lot!

Drink Tea, Drink Dilmah!!


15 thoughts on “Drink Tea, Drink Dilmah – Interview with Mr Merrill J. Fernando (Part 2)

  1. The tea and food match looks yum. Yes, I think you guys are right, Adelaidefoodies. Tea and wine are very similar. I’ve tried to convince my hubby to drink tea over years and he is used to it now. We think we can completely get rid of our lovely coffee now.


  2. I never realize there are so many differences between tea from different regions. I love green tea. To me all green teas are the same


  3. I come from two cultures of tea drinkers/lovers (I do not consume alcohol). I have a drawer in my kitchen which currently has more than 15 varieties of tea. Some I have purchased during my travels. Thank you for the thorough post. It is always good to know more, and about other available teas. No, not all teas are the same. 🙂


    1. Sure, Fae. Not all teas are the same! I’ve got some pure almond tea here while others have flavors infused. I like to try different teas so that I can compare~~ Glad you love drinking tea 😀


  4. Greetings, I believe your site could be having web browser compatibility issues.
    When I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.
    E., it’s got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, excellent website!


  5. Someone from UK here. Dilmah tea is always my favorite tea. I am looking forward to your post about the teas from different altitude.


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