I am excited to introduce you to my favorite tea…actually it’s more like a re-introduction as you have met previously when I’ve blogged about my love for Dilmah Tea.
Sri Lankan family tea company Dilmah, was established by Merrill J. Fernando to bring finest quality, Single Origin Ceylon Tea, garden fresh to tea drinkers around the world. His Dilmah Tea brand was the first genuinely ethical tea brand, bringing a smile to the faces of the underprivileged in Sri Lanka, whilst giving consumers quality, authenticity and natural goodness in their cup of tea.
It took Fernando nearly four decades and in 1988 he launched his own brand – Dilmah. Coined from the names of his two sons Dilhan and Malik, Dilmah was the first producer owned tea brand, and offered tea ‘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 flavor and natural goodness.
Merrill pioneered three important initiatives which have today become hallmarks of Dilmah.
- Traditional Tea ensures that the tea in made in the traditional, orthodox way perfected over a century
- Single Origin ensures that the tea is Pure Ceylon tea and not blended with cheaper teas from around the world
- Garden Fresh packed at Source ensures that Dilmah teas are the freshest and brimming with antioxidants
The Fernando family built their business around their love for tea; today Dilmah is the only vertically integrated tea company with its own tea gardens – some of Ceylon’s best estates – and state of the art printing & packaging facilities, tea packing and investments in every segment of the industry.
Dilmah is unique; a brand that is founded on a passionate commitment to quality and authenticity in tea, it is also a part of a philosophy that goes beyond commerce in seeing business as a matter of human service. This is what makes Dilmah the first ethically produced tea. Business ethics and social responsibility guide the family business where profits from the company are shared with those who are less privileged in society. The MJF Charitable Foundation was established to fulfill this commitment and is changing the lives of over 10,000 people each year through more than 300 different humanitarian projects. Dilmah Conservation is working towards a harmonious coexistence of man and nature by creating awareness and implementing sustainability initiatives.
What makes Dilmah especially unique is the philosophy that defines every aspect of the brand and the companies of the MJF Group. The key to Founder Merrill J. Fernando’s vision was integrity – in relation to his workers, the Ceylon Tea industry and in relation to his customers. Quality, Authenticity and Natural Goodness was what tea drinkers desired and that is what Dilmah offers. In relation to the workers, the exploited and ailing tea industry and our developing country, integrity meant ethics and genuinely fair trade. Merrill J. Fernando built ethics into the heart of his business and pledged to make his business a matter of human service.
That commitment is discharged through the MJF Charitable Foundation, a government approved charity that was formed by him and which bears his initials. The Foundation seeks to enhance the welfare of the Group’s workers, whilst also pursuing humanitarian assistance programs amongst marginalized communities.
With the objective of changing the lives of 10,000 underprivileged people each year, the MJF Foundation designs, funds, and implements over 300 projects throughout the country. These range from dignified empowerment of women, differently abled, conflict or tsunami affected communities, welfare projects, education and provision of free health care or vocational training. The Foundation has provided facilities to the National Cancer Institute to establish the first free breast cancer screening program for poor women in Sri Lanka. The pre-school program has constructed 72 pre-schools on Dilmah and associate company tea gardens, whilst also offering free English and Computer classes to older children. Foundation nutrition programs benefit children and the elderly and its Small Entrepreneur Program (SEP) has been hailed globally for its effectiveness. The Prisoners Reform & Reintegrate program helps rebuild the lives of reformed prisoners released on parole and the MJF Kids Development Program for urban slum children is offering a light of hope to children with little opportunity in life.
Have you ever tried Dilmah Tea? If so, I’d love to hear what flavors you’ve enjoyed…
As we’re on the topic of my favorite tea, I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite recipes using Dilmah’s Lemongrass Green Tea…I love cooking and baking with tea. It’s not just for sippin’ and can be used in so many recipes to add flavor and antioxidants.
Risotto with Black Trumpet Mushrooms
- 8 cups water (for tea)
- 8 Dilmah Lemongrass Green Tea Bags
- 1 oz. dried Marx Foods Black Trumpet Mushrooms
- 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and mashed
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 3 cups risotto
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
- 4 scallions, finely chopped
- Soak dried mushrooms in a bowl of water for 25 minutes. Drain and reserve liquid. Rinse mushrooms under cool water; squeeze gently to remove moisture.
- In a medium sized saucepan, heat water with Dilmah Green Tea bags; bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes; discard tea bags.
- Add onion and risotto; cook for 10 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, dried mushrooms and avocado. Cook over medium heat until tea has been absorbed.
- Cook risotto for another 20 minutes until tender. Season with sea salt and pepper.
- Serve warm and top with a sprinkle of scallions.