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Dilmah Real High Tea Global Challenge – The World will decide its Tea Champion this July

Read time: 4 Min
23rd May 2015

Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge, the Toughest Tea Challenge in the world decides on a Global Tea Champion this July with the participation of 21 teams from 14 countries. The objective of the challenge is to recreate Afternoon Tea for the 21st century, putting the tea back in High Tea where it belongs.
Tea is a uniquely healthy herb that is renowned for its natural goodness and is timely even more so now because of the multitude of health concerns spreading all over the globe. High tea is the World’s Tea Ceremony. The Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge is bringing tea back to the 21st century, reinventing, redefining this luxurious ceremony of tea. Dilmah Real High Tea redefines Afternoon Tea for the 21st century with innovative creations that enhance the experience as a whole.
Inspired by Dilmah the ‘real’ tea, the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge started in 2007, in partnership with the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) when Dilmah Founder – Merrill J. Fernando felt that the High Tea occasion which was originally crafted around tea had lost its affinity with its origins. He felt that tea had been relegated to the bottom of a menu overcrowded with the traditional high tea fare that lacked inspiration, originality and most importantly any connection to tea. A passionate tea grower who worked tirelessly to share the joy of ‘real’ tea with the tea lovers around the world, he vowed to put the tea back in High Tea. Thus Dilmah Real High Tea was born.
Today, the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge has traversed the world – Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, UAE, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Chile, Indonesia and France with the participation of the finest Chefs and hospitality professionals from 14 countries, awakening a new respect for tea among the culinary, hospitality and mixology professionals around the world.
“Dilmah Real High Tea Competition is a unique competition because it is the toughest tea competition in the world today. What we are doing is bringing tea to its rightful position. High tea is the closest the world has to a global tea ceremony. A ceremony in tea is very important for several reasons. Tea brings people together. When you look around the world there is no greater need than now for people to come together to talk to communicate. A pot of tea does that like no other. So there is a much deeper element to what we are doing today. It is not just a culinary competition nor is it just a tea competition. It is introducing tea to a new generation.” said Dilhan C. Fernando, son of Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando on commenting on the challenge.

The Real High Tea Global Challenge this July will be judged by a panel of prestigious judges Bernd Uber – recipient of the exclusive and revered Sidney Taylor Memorial Black Hat Award, Dilhan C. Fernando – Director Dilmah School of Tea and the visionary force of Dilmah Tea Gastronomy, Simon Gault – MasterChef New Zealand judge and Peter Kuruvita – Award winning Chef and Restaurateur. Each national challenge has been judged by a panel of world-renowned professionals which includes, Uwe Micheel, Tony Khoo and more. Between a true tea connoisseur and some of the most prolific names in the culinary world, winning the national title is a tall order.
The criteria for judging is very simple; understanding the exact influence of terroir, the awareness of the rationale, the knowledge of the exact taste of different teas, how to create the perfect brew, the use of sustainable ingredients ideally sourced from a family business which reflects the family values that are also an integral part of Dilmah.
“Ceylon took tea to the world. Dilmah tea had shaken the big world out there. Every effort, every investment placed behind Dilmah tea is with no personal interest, no personal gain, but for the country’s gain and for the industry’s gain.” said Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando, commenting upon the competition.
For further information on the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge, log on to Get more information on our tea-inspired creations on
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About the participants
1. The Tea Room at The National Gallery of Victoria (Australia)
2. Shangri-La Hotel Sydney
3. Qantas Lounges
4. Stamford Plaza Brisbane

New Zealand
1. The Langham, Auckland
2. Museum Art Hotel

1. Intercontinental Amstel
2. Restaurant Vermeer

1. Institut Paul Bocuse

Hong Kong
1. Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong
2. Hong Kong Cricket Club

1. Café Turri

1. The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management
2. Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek

1. Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort And Spa

1. MGM Macau

1. Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur

1. Tess Bar & Restaurant

1. Shangri La Hotel Bangkok

1. Shangri-La Surabaya

Sri Lanka
1. The Waters Edge

About Dilmah Tea
Sri Lankan family tea company Dilmah, founded by Merrill J. Fernando, today the world's most experienced teamaker, has championed quality, authenticity and variety in tea. Dilmah pioneered the concept of Single Origin Tea in 1988 when the family company went against industry trends to declare its commitment to authenticity. Garden fresh, unblended tea is a hallmark of Dilmah and offers a unique taste of unblended Ceylon tea packed at source – where it is grown.
Our range includes traditional Speciality Gourmet and Premium Tea, Herbal Infusions, pure Green Tea and Fun flavoured Teas, Spiced Chais, Organic Tea, the Dilmah Exceptional range with its contemporary selection of teas, our boutique Watte and t-Series teas, the exclusive Teamaker’s Private Reserve teas and the latest Dilmah 25th Anniversary Silver Jubilee Gourmet range and the vibrant and exciting Vivid tea selection.
Dilmah takes the lead in bringing innovation to a global tea category that has suffered decline as a result of commoditisation. Signature events such as the Chefs & the Teamaker and Real High Tea are innovations that seek to educate and inspire hospitality professionals to offer their guests a completely new tea experience. The events foster greater respect for this healthy, natural and versatile beverage.
The Dilmah School of Tea seeks to inspire passion in tea through knowledge of the artisanal aspects of tea amongst hospitality professionals, tea aficionados and consumers. The emphasis is on the importance of Real Tea and the versatility of this natural herb in Tea Gastronomy, food pairing and Tea Mixology.
Dilmah is Ethical Tea, in that all packaging profits are retained in Sri Lanka and fund the MJF Charitable Foundation and Dilmah Conservation. We believe that Business is a Matter of Human Service.


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