By Earl D.C. Bracamonte
Radisson Blu Cebu launched the first Dilmah T-Bar in the country through an exclusive high tea ceremony at the hotel’s spacious lobby lounge together with one of the world’s most-experienced tea maker and founder of the Dilmah label, Merill J. Fernando and son Dilhan.
“Real tea should be experienced first with the eye, then with the nose, and then finally with the palate. The standard shelf life for teas is three years but if kept away from sunlight in an airtight container, it will last five to six years.
“We were colonized by the Dutch and then the British. The culture of colonial trade has been imbedded in every Sri Linkan from then on. At 24, I decided to have my own brand of tea. For the next 34 years, I struggled to bring my vision into fruition and the rest, as they say, is history. Dilmah has promised its partners that it will always bring integrity back to teas, create the finest blends, and then share profits with the marginalized and communities in general through the MJF Foundation. The foundation is part of our continuing efforts to save the planet for 60 years now,” shared the accomplished Sri Lankan visionary.
“Rich countries remain rich because of poor countries who continuously supply them with products that make them stay rich. Dilmah cuts the middlemen and trades directly with the buyers. The monies paid for purchasing our teas worldwide goes directly to Dilmah’s coffers and then to the foundation,” he continued.
Tess Posthumus, one of the world’s leading bartenders and tea ambassador of Dilmah created several concoctions for the afternoon event, including the very savory Choco Chai tea, a concoction made from brilliant breakfast tea with cinnamon, cardamom, orange peel, ginger and cloves.
“We have redefined the tea business to a sustainable form, balancing human welfare with environment protection. That’s our mission-vision espousing integrity, quality and tradition. The Dilmah Conservation project is all about sustainable agriculture. We also have a School of Tea where we teach our students to make the perfect cup with fine food ingredients. This pairing is what we call mixology.
“Tea growing has been a continuing revolution for the five-thousand-year herb. Our tea gardens at 5,000 feet above sea level yield varieties from different fields and topographies; at times grown during pre-monsoon conditions. Each tea variety is different: color, texture, structure, or appearance. It has the fingerprint of nature and is influenced by soil, climate, humidity and light. Each color is a variety with each spectrum having its own peculiar taste. There’s a different tea for different times of the day, weather, occasion and/or mood. That’s why we must respect nature and tradition. A 1926 shipwreck in our seas has preserved ecosystem sites. And our butterfly gardens in Thoppigala have been responsible for cross-pollination.
“Sri Lanka’s 2014 season was good. The wind stress created a much better blend in the tea herb’s metabolic processes like the special seasonal flush. To appreciate a tea’s character, you angle a clear glass and view the brightness within. Sniff with your nose and detect some fruit and mint notes. Then finally take a sip. The connection of eye, nose and palate will decipher 80 per cent of a tea’s personality. The remaining percentage is affected by its whitering, rolling, fermenting, and firing unto its grading and tasting,” apprized director of marketing Dilhan Fernando, one of two sons, whose name comprise half of the brand; the other half completed by his brother Mahlik. Thus, Dilmah is a contraction of Dilhan and Mahlik.
Dilmah is no ordinary tea; it is a unique brand founded on a passionate commitment to quality and authenticity. Perfection is found in every cup that’s served either as a fragrant & delicious hot brew like the original Earl Grey, chilled or sparkling over ice cubes like the Lychee with Rose & Almonds blend, or as a rich smoothie t-shake with yogurt or ice cream. Whether taken hot or iced, these teas are concocted to help people relax, invigorate, and enhance life.
“Tea is iconic, stylish and contemporary. The T-Bar is a special place proffering 21 variants of rare blends. The mid-afternoon high tea is a gustatory celebration with ten food varieties in a casual atmosphere,” intoned Radisson Blu Cebu hotel manager Nishan Silva.
Dilmah T-Bar is now brewing at the lower lobby of Radisson Blu Cebu. Open daily from 9 in the morning ‘til 11 in the evening, it serves the traditional afternoon high tea from 3 to 5 in the afternoon. Enjoy this afternoon delight with a high tea stand containing English scones with clotted cream and raspberry preserves, smoked salmon/chicken/cream-cheese & cucumber sandwiches, mini mushroom quiche, profiteroles & macaroons, chamomile almond financier, Rose lemon meringue tart, and chocolate-dipped fresh strawberries.
“This tea bar in Cebu is the first in the Philippines and we are privileged with this partnership with SM Hotels. We’re eyeing on opening another one in Manila soon. Tea lounges are an innovation to the Dilmah brand. There’s much more to tea than black tea. Our supermarket range is different from the tea bar range. Dilmah is 100 per cent pure Ceylon tea; grown from the luxury of the terroir, handpicked and packaged in Sri Lanka. We are the No. 1 tea brand in Australia and New Zealand with presence in over a hundred countries since 1988. Our best affirmation is word of mouth from satisfied customers the world over. The health benefits to tea drinking has captured the palates of non-traditional tea drinking countries like Colombia, in treating heart disease and certain cancers,” Merill said at the close of the afternoon media colloquy.
Radisson Blu is one of the leading hotel brands, a hallmark of vibrant contemporary and engaging hospitality, characterized by a unique Yes I Can! service philosophy. Radisson Blue Cebu is a 5-star hotel owned by the SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. and managed by the Carlson Rezidor Group. Ideally located 20 minutes from Mactan International Airport, the hotel has 400 rooms and suites equipped with state-of-the-art amenities laid out in modern, elegant design. It also boasts of a business club lounge on the 20th floor, extensive meeting facilities, a health club with spa & gym, recreation facilities, an award-winning all-day-dining restaurant, and the country’s first-ever tea bar.
For more information, simply send an email to email@example.com and/or visit their Web site www.radissonblu.com/hotel-cebu.