Teas of Indonesia: History, Culture, Types, and Production

teas of indonesia: history, culture, types, and production
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Tea is recognized to be the most consumed beverage across the globe. During the 16th century, as there was an expansion of the Portuguese power, tea was imported into Europe. It earned a high reputation in no time. Indonesia happens to be one of the leading tea producers in the world. It is known to produce up to one hundred and fifty tons of tea, each year. Such type of tea is really expensive. Though most of the tea production of Indonesia is exported in the foreign countries, the main export markets are recognized to be Britain, Russian and Pakistan.

History of tea of Indonesia

As mentioned earlier, Indonesia is one of the leading tea producers across the globe. In spite of the reduction in the land area, the total amount of tea produced is really stable. This ensures that the rest of the tea plantations are really productive. The planting of tea in Indonesia can be traced centuries back.

The very first time when tea was brought to Indonesia

In accordance with the records of history, tea made an entry in Indonesia in the year 1684. A German Citizen named Andreas Cleyer brought Tea seeds from Japan to the country of Indonesia. After this, seedlings of tea were cultivated and grown as an ornamental plant in Jakarta. 

After this, Jacobus Isidorus conducted an experiment on the plantation of tea on an immense scale in the year of 1827 in Raung Banyuwangi and Wanayasa Purwakarta, after the past tea seeds were planted successfully in Bogor Botanical Garden. During the time, Indonesia was still governed by the Dutch Government. Owing to this, tea was planted with the aid of forced cultivation policy.

The first cultivation of tea in Indonesia

The habits of drinking tea originated primarily in China after which it developed in Japan and Europe. The tea was known to crop from the border regions of North West Laos, Southern China, East Burma, North Thailand, Northeastern part of India which is essentially subtropical and tropical transitional forest vegetation.’

As mentioned earlier, the plantation of tea made an entry in Indonesia in the year 1684 in the form of tea seeds which were brought from the country of Japan. It was in the year of 1964 when tea was grown in Palace Garden of Governor-General Champhuys in Jakarta. The first recording of tea plantations of Indonesia was in the year of 1835. Assam tea made an entry into Indonesia after which it replaced the majority of the tea plants in China. The tea plantations in the country of Indonesia grew on an extensive scale. It was in the year of 1910 when the tea plantations started in the areas of North Sumatra and Simalungun.

Tea culture in Indonesia

Drinking tea is ingrained in the culture of Indonesia where children and adults indulge in a bundle of teacups daily. However, the citizens of the country do not follow any coherent tea culture. Instead, they keep the diversity which prevailed over 17,000 islands, forming the Indonesian archipelago. Every region has preferences and custom of its own when it comes to drinking tea. If you are a foodie, you will love to explore the tea culture of Indonesia, where you will find a wide array of varieties to discover.

Tea production in Indonesia

It was in the 1600s when Dutch colonists introduced tea into the country of Indonesia for the replication of success of tea plantations in the country. Though the initial experimentation was with a plethora of Chinese tea varieties, it was discovered that Assam teas are more suited to the hot and humid tropical climate of Indonesia. The mountain islands of Sulawesi, Sumatra, and Java proved to be favorable for the cultivation of tea with cooler temperature. 

By the latter part of the nineteenth century, the tea trade of Indonesia flourished on an extensive scale. In spite of experiencing disruptions and set back at the time of the Second World War, at present, the country is regarded as the sixth largest producer of tea across the globe.

Types of Indonesia Tea

The exported tea of Indonesia is primarily derived from the private and state-owned tea plantations. Most of the small farmers are more oriented towards the domestic market. Here is a list of few of the tea plantations that are grown in Indonesia

Jasmine tea

Jasmine tea has turned out to be the ultimate choice of tea enthusiasts in Indonesia. Primarily, jasmine tea is comprised of the basic ingredients of white tea or green tea. Primarily jasmine tea is comprised of the basic ingredients of white tea or green tea. The herb generates typical jasmine flavor. The tea tastes soft and sweet. If you are looking forward to enjoying a cup of tea which is not too hard, you can refer to jasmine tea. The tea brings jasmine perfume when it is brewed. It was during the 5th century when these flowers were primarily used in tea.

Oolong tea

It is recognized to be semi-fermented and processed and it is comprised of unique raw materials. Specific varieties of Oolong tea offer unique scents. As compared to black tea or green tea, this type of tea does not have high popularity. Most of the tea leaves are known to produce the plantations of tea in Taiwan and China. In the Chinese language, Oolong refers to the black dragon as the leaves resemble black dragons of small size which awaken all of a sudden when it is brewed. However, at present, Oolong tea is produced in Indonesia in Oolong Bengkulu, Java Oolong, Oolong Organik Banten.

Green tea

This variety of tea is obtained without the process of fermentation. It is usually made by the deactivation of phenolase enzyme, present in fresh tea leaves shoot while heating it. So, it is possible to prevent the oxidation of catechins. Heating can primarily be accomplished in two ways which are steaming and roasting. The roasting of tea offers a strong flavor, as compared to hot steam.

Black Tea

It has earned a high reputation as red tea. The habitats of eastern part call it the red tea owing to the fact that the tea solutions which are produced from the tea are red. However, it is known as black tea among the people of the western part as the tea leaves which are used for the purpose of brewing are primarily black. Black tea is known to be the most widely used tea in the country of Indonesia. It is primarily derived by the process of fermentation. Here, fermentation does not make use of microbes as the source of enzymes. Instead, it is accomplished by the enzyme, known as phenolase.

White tea

This type of Indonesian tea does not undergo any sort of fermentation. Here, the procedure of drying as well as evaporation is accomplished briefly. This type of tea is popularly known as God Goddess of tea as it is derived from the best leaf buds of the trees.

Red tea

This kind of tea is derived from Rosella which is known to be a plant from the hibiscus family. They have the ability to reach up to three to five meters in height. This tea features fresh flavor and bright red color. You will find a boost in the stamina with the consumption of rosella tea. This tea comprises of vitamin C as well as other essential minerals.

Oriental Red tea

Such a variety of red tea is derived from the black tea leaves of the sinesis type. This type of tea is produced via the complete oxidation procedure, which brings a reduction in the bitter taste of the leaves. The aroma of this variety of tea is really strong. The leaves of the tea are known to be brewed with almost ninety-five degree C water.

Yellow Tea

It is regarded as the special tea which is processed in a similar way to the green tea. It is known to have a slow drying phase in which the leaves of the tea are left after which it started to turn yellow. Such a variety of tea is green yellowish and it confers a different smell from green tea and white tea.

Rooibos Tea

This type of tea has earned a high reputation in overcoming asthma, allergies, and certain skin issues. In the past, the plantations of this variety of tea were only possible in South Africa. However, at present, it is possible to plant this tea variety in Indonesia as well. This kind of tea possesses immune enhancing properties owing to the presence of higher level of phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Pu-erh Tea

This variety can be used to prepare tea in the raw form. During the storage, this type of tea undergoes the second phase of microbiological oxidation. This tea variety is derived from the tea leaves which are oxidized artificially for the reassembling of raw” pu-erh tea taste. Such type of tea is prepared by the controlling of temperature and moisture of the tea leaves.

Tea is considered to be an integral part of Indonesian occasions. Do not forget to treat yourself with this amazing refreshing beverage during the visit to Indonesia.

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Mary L

When you discover something you love you want to share it with the world, that’s only natural. My passion had become my way of life, and I am finally able to share a cup of the good stuff with the ones I love. Proof that dreams really do come true when you can share your favorite brew.

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