Posted by Ian Ballantine on Sep 23, 2020
7:30 pm Wednesday 23rd September! There was great excitement even though we were on Zoom and we could feel it! Geoff Gartly was our host and welcomed our many guests, including a number of members from other District 9810 Clubs. He had been very fortunate to have Dilhan Fernando younger son of Merill Fernando Founder of Dilmah Tea, agree to talk to us from Sri Lanka. Dilhan explained that he was a Rotarian, his club being Colombo Metropolitan and that a former RI President was running his office.
Dilhan FernandoHe told us that they have spent the last 33 years “raising” a Cuppa. He informed us that there was an emotional connection to Australia as he, his brother and father had come to Australia for the Bi-centennial Celebration.  The company is very different in many respects as it very aware of the Human Service they try to provide. They are conscious of the carbon footprint and the quality of sustainability and the looking after 100 different aspects. The family felt that success must be shared and it is best to touch somebody’s life and therefore there is a school for chefs and entrepreneurs. The reality of success is good but and to look beyond profit with kindness. There are many different types of tea and infinite in variety. He explained that a plant is grown in different parts of the country and different climate such as Monsoon prone areas will build characteristic taste. The exact same plant  planted in another area will produce a different taste! They have 10,000 different teas that are tasted daily and the purity of origin comes from Heaven, Earth and Human influence.
He likened tea growing to wine growing and the passion and love that is involved. There are 3 factors that Dilhan stated that are important. 1) Commitment to taste 2) Commitment to natural goodness and 3) Commitment to purpose beyond profit. He gave us so much information and we were surprised to learn that the tea coming to Australia is actually packed in Ceylon, the reason being, that tea is hydroscopic and is packed immediately with 2% moisture to keep this moisture to the same level. If there is too much moisture it will knock out antioxidants.  In telling us how to make a good pot of tea one spoon for the pot and one for the person was a personal recipe. The ratio of the tea (two and half grams) and the water has to be right and added that Victoria has the best water.  Too many minerals in the water can destroy, but our water makes a good tea. We were advised to stir the tea and brew for 3 minutes to bring out the anti-oxidants. Dilhan told us if it were not for the Aussie consumers who wrote many letters to Coles recommending the great tea, Dilmah would not be here.  Before Dilhan’s Father, Merrill, began his own business in 1950, Sri Lankans were not even permitted to taste and now having turned 90 years of age in May this product named after his 2 sons Dilhan and Malik has made an enormous mark on tea drinkers world-wide.  Pres. Geoff thanked Dilhan Fernando for the time he has given us, He stated that it is good to hear of business with compassion beyond just producing and his commitment to sustainability. Zoom allows us to have this hour with a silver lining and thanked Helen and Geoff for their work above and beyond. If you want to be positive, Do positive deeds. He also stated that Rotary Opens Doors and we should have a good safe week,
Zilla (Bulletin Reporter)