BANDUNG - Talking about tea, some people will remember the culture of drinking tea in the style of royalty in the State of Queen Elizabeth. And some will remember the tea ceremony typical of Japan.
How about in Indonesia? Tea is still less than coffee. Even tea consumption in the country is still relatively low. When opening the West Java Bandung Tea Festival 2019 in Gedung Sate, Bandung, Friday (2/8/19), West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said the average tea consumption in Indonesia is only 300 grams per person.
While in the world, the average tea consumption per person is 700 grams. According to Ridwan Kamil (RK), it shows that drinking tea is not popular yet and it has not become a lifestyle for the Indonesian.
"Every day, I personally drink tea, either served or bought a cool tea in a minimarket. The point is, it has become a daily culture. I tell the challenges today, Indonesian tea consumption is still a little. We have to make tea become trendy. There are a lot of tea products, some are mixed with milk, cold, (or) hot," said RK.
Talking about tea in Indonesia, West Java itself became the largest producer of tea by dominating 70 percent of national production. Tea plantations are spread across several regency that are Bandung, Sukabumi, Garut, Subang, Sumedang, Bogor, to Cianjur, with a total area of ??92,816 hectares.
According to the Head of the West Java Provincial Plantation Office Dody Firman Nugraha, West Java has an advantage in plantations, including for the commodity of tea. In addition, due to the recovery and rescue movement of the tea agribusiness, the production of tea plantations has increased this last two years.
"(Production) of tea plantations increased from 40 thousand tons in 2017 to 41 thousand tons in 2018. We have pretty good results with good commodities," Dody said.
Accompanying the West Java Governor at the West Java Bandung Tea Festival 2019, Dody also said the 16th edition of the tea festival was aimed at one of them to increase tea sales.
"In WJBT 2019, the goal is to spread education on the benefits of tea, increase regional and national tea consumption, as well as an effective promotional event to restore the image of tea in West Java," added Dody.
Same as coffee, tea plants also consist of various types that offer a variety of flavors and benefits. From the data released in 2015, Indonesia's tea exports were dominated by European destination countries.
From some countries such as England, Germany, Ukraine, to Poland, the highest volume of Indonesian tea exports is to Russia, with a total of 11,445 tons. Besides Europe, Indonesian tea is also exported to Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
Indonesia itself is the seventh tea-producing country in the world. There are six types of Indonesian tea that are the most global, such as; jasmine tea, black tea, aro wood tea, white tea, oolong tea and green tea.
Next, it needs some innovations to increase the popularity of Indonesian tea - the majority from West Java - at the world level. In addition to equipping tea farmers with insight, Dody said there is a need for efforts so that farmers would not only pick, but also process tea. Tea festivals are also one way to increase the popularity of processed tea.
"There have been efforts by the Department of Agriculture, especially the manager, that the farmer not only produces fresh tea, picked and then sold, but there is also processing. The biggest selling value is processed, "said Dody.
"So, not only does brewing tea then produces tea drinking water. This is one of our efforts to produce knowledge from farmers, this is a bigger value than selling the fresh," he added.
The Plantation Office, which is directly related to farmers, has the duty to foster, increase knowledge, and also facilitate tea farmers in West Java to add value to the sale. "For example, the farmer produces white tea, green tea. Just a little touch gives farmers an advantage, "Dody said.
Finally, West Java also tried to adjust the desires of the world market, for example adjusting the habits of the British people who like to drink a mixture of tea and milk. "With the digital era, we teach (farmers) with digitalization, teach them to open markets abroad. We can later find out which market information is in accordance with our (tea)," concluded Dody.