Tea time at Dilmah Silver Jubilee Gourmet Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: If you are a tea enthusiast who loves to try out new flavours, look no further than international tea brand Dilmah’s newly opened lounge in the Pullman Creek City Centre Hotel’s lobby. Called the Dilmah Silver Jubilee Gourmet, the café serves over 150 flavours of tea. This is the brand’s second outlet in Dubai with the first one having opened at Ibn Battuta Mall in March this year.

“The International Tea Day [December 15] is very close to our hearts. We eat, sleep and breathe tea. So we planned the launch of our café around this special occasion,” said Dilhan Fernando, 47, founder of Dilmah Tea.

“In addition to the 150 flavours, we also serve tea gastronomy – a tea-paired course, something we are proud of inventing. Other offerings include food infused with tea and desserts made with flavoured tea. People don’t realise the number of things that can be done with tea, and that’s what we are bringing to Dubai,” said Fernando.

His father Merril, also a founder, is aware of the challenges his café faces in a city that is home to some of the largest international coffee chains. Yet he believes if tea is served the right way, “there would be absolutely nothing else like it”. “We are trying to educate a crowd that hasn’t been served good tea in ages. We want people to say ‘let’s catch up for some tea’. On our part, we take care of the smallest of details in ensuring only the finest tea leaves make their way to the cup,” said the 87-year-old who claims to drink 11 cups of tea every day.

He said since the types of tea served at the lounge depend on the season’s harvest, the menu changes from time to time. “Tea cultivation is more time sensitive than any other produce and depends on the weather. For example Kashmiri chai may not be available post December,” said Merril.

Tea tidbits:

1. 2.85 billion cups of tea are consumed in the UAE every day, compared to 3.4 billion cups of coffee, according to Dubai International Coffee and Tea Festival organisers

2. A rare Chinese variety called Tieguanyin is the most expensive tea in the world

3. China consumes the highest amount of tea in the world, followed by Turkey and United Kingdom.

4. There are about 1,500 different types of tea

5. The Lipton Tea Factory in Jebel Ali, Dubai, produces 5 billion tea bags a year