When I first started up foodie cravings five years ago, I met Dilmah’s founder Merrill and his son Dilhan. Hearing their story, I was absolutely inspired by Merrill’s business philosophy which extended beyond pure commercial gains (read my post here). It was his story which changed my perspective on how I would run my own business (when that day came). We’ve now had our Crust in Mount Lawley for almost four years and I always think back to my conversation with Dilmah when it comes to community initiatives.
I have the greatest respect for Merril and Dilhan so it was great to hear that his son Dilhan was back in Perth to run Dilmah School of Tea for Perth’s hospitality industry. My writer Karina headed along and learned a few things about tea last month, here’s her post.
There is nothing better to drink while curled up in an arm chair on a cold winters night than a delicious cup of hot tea. The light texture and sweet flavour is both comforting and relaxing. Though I always thought making a cup of tea was like second nature for me, I never realised that I could actually be brewing it completely wrong! Even though it tasted great, I wasn’t actually respecting tea enough to allow it to unlock all its flavour and health benefits.
Son of Dilmah founder’s son Dilhan Fernando who lead the class, made a clear point about the health benefits of tea. More than just being so amazingly comforting, tea was actually originally used as a medicine. From its origins in the Orient and even for a long time since its introduction in Europe the only time you found tea was when it was in a medicine jar. Tea is naturally full of antioxidants that are highly beneficially for your health.
Apart from the health benefits, tea is an excellent beverage to have with food. During the class, Dilmah and Pan Pacific chefs made a range of food and tea pairing examples to show how tea can complement dishes. The combinations made some very interesting results. I felt as though the combinations had three different effects.
Firstly, the tea and the food complimented each other and added to each others flavours. For example Moroccan Mint Green Tea with chocolate fudge… everyone knows that mint and chocolate is a match made in heaven. But not only does the mint and chocolate compliment each other but the lightness of green tea offset the richness of the chocolate fudge.
Secondly, tea can help with the digesting of heavy foods such as steaks. The Pan Pacific team made these delicious beef sliders. As tasteful as they were, there was no denying that there was a sufficient amount of fat in there. The purpose of having the Brilliant Breakfast Dilmah Tea was to neutralise the fat and relax the stomach which makes you feel better after drinking the tea. Drinking tea after having a big meal is a really good way to help revive yourself so you don’t fall asleep after.
Lastly, tea can be the perfect palette cleanser. I was running out of time to brew more tea but I really wanted to taste the last dish. I was still drinking the Moroccan Mint Green Tea when I came across the yoghurt with honey. I thought that the mint and yoghurt would work really well together but what I found instead was that after taking a sip of the tea my palette completely neutralised. Essentially taking another spoon full was like having it for the first time again.
Brewing tea is really easy, there are the tips I learnt:
1. Stir tea while its brewing as this allows for more tea surface area to be in contact with water, therefore getting more out of the tea.
2. Tea takes time to brew, a green tea should take about 1-3 minutes, whilst Oolong and Black tea takes about 3-5 minutes.
3. Use filtered water instead of tap water. Though boiling removes bacteria it doesn’t get rid of certain minerals such as calcium which can significantly affect the taste of your tea.
Dilmah Tea is completely grown and manufactured in Sri Lanka and is a company that has been successful not only because of the tea but because its ethical and charitable positions have allowed for a better situation for many Sri Lankans. The impact that Dilmah Tea has made is truly inspirational. A family run business that sells tea to around 100 countries. Unlike the majority of other tea manufacturers, Dilmah have an inherent respect for tea, they use very little machinery and all their tea leaves are picked by hand to ensure that only the best leaves are going into the tea.
Attending the Dilmah school of Tea was an amazing experience that taught me so much about tea. From harvesting to brewing, it was a great way to learn and try something new.
A bit about Karina
If someone were to record all my thoughts for a day, they would be astonished by the perpetual insatiable hunger I have for food. I constantly desire food, but not just any food, the most fabulous food I can find. From healthy low-carb high-protein power balls to decadent chocolate filled desserts, I will readily devour anything that looks and tastes fabulous!