Bandung city attracts tourists from all over the world for its beautiful scenery and breathtaking aromas of locally grown tea plants - Samar Samir/Egypt Today Bandung city attracts tourists from all over the world for its beautiful scenery and breathtaking aromas of locally grown tea plants - Samar Samir/Egypt Today

Tourists’ cup of tea

Tue, Jul. 9, 2019
Bandung - 9 July 2019: “Tea … is a religion of the art of life,” says Japanese author Kakuzo Okakura in his The Book of Tea; a cup of tea expresses the simplicity of Japanese life and has the power, writes Okakura, to bring together two parties in dispute over a negotiating table.

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Bandung city attracts tourists from all over the world for its beautiful scenery and breathtaking aromas of locally grown tea plants - Samar Samir/Egypt Today


For years, another Asian country has been drawing in visitors attracted by its thriving tea industry. As one of the world’s largest tea producers, Indonesia is known for its vast and charming tea plantation fields. Just a two-hour drive from the capital, Bandung city attracts tourists from all over the world for its beautiful scenery and breathtaking aromas of locally grown tea plants.



Among the most beautiful are the Rancabali tea plantations in south Bandung. The volcanic highlands are a piece of green heaven, with the plantations covering around 3,000 acres, including 1,500 acres for tea plants and 150 acres for coffee, while the rest of the land is a tourist destination.

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Bandung city attracts tourists from all over the world for its beautiful scenery and breathtaking aromas of locally grown tea plants - Samar Samir/Egypt Today


Indonesia’s big tea plantations are mostly run by state-owned companies, such as PT Perkebunan Nusantara Holding company (PTPN) VIII. Rancabali plantations produce two kinds of black tea: Orthodox and CTC, harvested in three ways: via machines, a pair of scissors and handpicking, says Nanda Fauz Iwan, director of PTPN VIII of Rancabali.

To turn the green tea to black, green leaves are exposed to fresh air for 10 to 12 hours, before they are cut with machines and left for 80 to 120 minutes, and then are transported to a drying machine for 15 minutes, PTPN vice president of plant types division Luga Kadarisman explains. He adds that the natural sugary substance of the tea helps turn the leaves into a dark black pigmentation during the drying process. The final process is to ensure the quality of smell, taste, color and shape of the tea.

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Bandung city attracts tourists from all over the world for its beautiful scenery and breathtaking aromas of locally grown tea plants - Samar Samir/Egypt Today


After a tour around the vast green lands of Rancabali, where visitors watch the workers reap tea leaves, tourists usually head to Pinisi Restaurant in Ciwidey, 50 km southern Bandung, for lunch. The restaurant is designed to look like a huge ship, surrounded with greenery and overseeing the beautiful resort Glamping Lakeside Rancabali.

Driving north for 30 minutes, you arrive at Kawah Putih (White Crater) where you can enjoy a panoramic view of turquoise evaporating crater water, surrounded by the green mountains surrounding the tea plantation.

PTPN exports black, green, and white tea to the U.S., Canada, the UK, Europe, and Malaysia, Netherlands, Afghanistan and Singapore, Australia and Russia; and indirectly to the Middle East through traders, according to Kadarisman. In 2018, PTPN owned 30,200 hectares all over Indonesia, while the whole tea plantations in the country make up 110,000 acres. It has 28 factories for Orthodox tea producing 62,000 tons annually.

CTC’s 11 factories produce 13,400 tons annually, while one factory produces 3.6 tons of white tea every year, Kadarisman says.
 
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