Merrill J. Fernando founded Dilmah Tea in 1988 and supplies us with fine Ceylon Tea. With over 60 years of tea expertise, Merrill has the distinction of being the most experienced teamaker in the world today.
Merrill was a small tea grower with big dreams. He wanted to bring Sri Lankan tea, the finest in the world – garden fresh and ethically produced, direct to tea lovers around the world. Merrill had to compete with giant multinational brands; many said he had an impossible dream. But an outstanding product and loyal tea drinkers have made his dream a reality.
Rich in flavour and natural goodness
Dilmah was the first producer-owned tea brand, and offered tea ‘picked, perfected and packed’ at origin. Unlike the multi-origin blends that monopolised supermarket shelves, Dilmah brought tea that is freshly packed at source and therefore rich in flavour and natural goodness.
“My vision is to bring you tea of the highest quality. Tea that is fresh – rich in flavour and natural goodness – and at the same time to give workers and my country a fairer deal. I pledged to make my business a matter of human service.”
Twenty five years later, and Merrill’s sons Dilhan and Malik have joined the business. Merrill, Dilhan and Malik have pioneered a comprehensive commitment to minimising Dilmah’s impact on the planet, fostering respect for the environment and ensuring its protection by encouraging a harmonious coexistence of man and nature. The environment is central to Dilmah’s business, and Dilmah Conservation was established as an affirmation of this core commitment to environmental sustainability.
A sustainable philosophy
As Dilmah has grown, revenue from the sale of Dilmah tea funds the work of the MJF (Merrill J. Fernando) Charitable Foundation. The Foundation has changed the lives of thousands, working with underserved communities investing long term in the lives of women, men, girls and boys to ensure that they have control of their futures and also pay it forward to their own communities.
In 2015, Merrill received the Business for Peace Award in Oslo, Norway. This award recognised the outstanding way he promotes socially responsible and ethical business practices.