For more than 200 years, tea has been part of the way of life in Indonesia. But, there is no tea drinking ritual such as course of conduct reflected by local tradition. Sundanese sometime use no sugar tea drinking as a habitual "mode of action" when they have finished their breakfast. No one single ethnic in this country use it to be the way of life prescribed as normative. But
traditional tea has been a very popular drink in Indonesia and the popularity of tea extends across the entire country. Historically, the tea trade in Indonesia founded by the Dutch in late 1700. The Dutchman Jacobus Isidorus Lonevijk Levien Jacobson begin to cultivate Java’s tea industry in 1827. His strenuous trips to China for six years had been influential so he was able to start a tea plantation in Bogor. Then, the Indonesian tea industry continued to grow, and now the country is the fifth largest producer of tea in the world. The industry went into decline after the 2nd World War.
In 1984, Indonesia's tea industry was revived. The tea estates began drawing tourists as the result of collaborative initiative by the Indonesian government, state-owned plantations and travel bureaus. After decades of isolation and after much effort and investment, tea exports from Indonesia began to make their presence felt in the tea market. Since then, constant improvement and modernisation of tea production and replanting of old estates have continued to this day.
Despite its high penetration, with products which cover all income segments, tea still managed to record off-trade volume growth of 7% in 2011, much of which was due to the rising popularity of modern tea in innovative formats. The rise of the health and wellness trend is also promoting higher tea consumption for various purposes such as detoxification, slimming, increasing stamina and reducing cholesterol. The appeal of these healthy varieties of tea, however, remains largely restricted to women and older consumers.
This beverage commodity has also been expanded to attract tourism since tea fields have been turned into hiking trails. The trend of mountain cyclists riding in hilly paths endorse processing factories offer educational and tasting tours and colonial homes. Some factories built guesthouses so that vacationers can travel back to a bygone era and partake in ecological adventures without ever having to set foot on an airplane. Today, there are more than 30 state-owned tea plantations in West Java and a handful of them are tapping into the growing tourism market.
Indonesian tea differs from other tea producing countries in respect to location, soil, and the climate where the tea estates are found. Teas there are planted in the highlands where volcanic soil and tropical climate are predominant. The main product is the black tea and about 80% of production is exported. Indonesian teas are light and flavourful and most are sold for blending purposes as this translates to excellent financial returns through foreign exchange for the country. In recent years it has even become possible to purchase Indonesian tea as a specialty tea. The Research Institute for Tea and Cinchona in Gambung, West Java, has a vital responsibility to increase tea production and to improve its quality. To-date, several clones have been invented that are more suitable to the soil, climate and for modern tea processing in Indonesia. Export quality tea is sold mainly through auction in Jakarta. The Joint Marketing Office or Kantor Pemasaran Bersama (KPB conducts the auction).
Gunung Slamat PT continues to lead tea in Indonesia and held a 27% off-trade value share in 2011. The company is a subsidiary of Sinar Sosro PT, the leading player in RTD tea in Indonesia through its various brands including Teh Botol Sosro, Joy Tea, S-Tee and Fruit Tea. In hot drinks tea, the company markets an extensive portfolio of brands, including Cap Botol Biru, Cap Botol Hijau, Teh Poci, Teh Celup Sosro, Teh Seduh Sosro, Sosro Heritage, Teh Cap Sadel, Teh Cap Trompet, Teh Cap Berko and Teh Cap Sepatu. The majority of products offered under these brands consist of loose tea, although in recent years there has been a gradual shift towards the development of tea bags and the company has launched several of its products of the tea bags variants. Many of the company’s products are only available in tea bags, including Teh Celup Sosro, Teh Seduh Sosro and Sosro Heritage. Each of these products contains a unique mixture of jasmine, black tea and green tea. Under its Teh Poci brand, the company also offers fruit infusion tea. In an attempt to tap into the rising demand for premium tea, in 2010 Gunung Slamat PT launched Sosro Heritage in 12 varieties in with the aim of broadening the perception of tea among local consumers.
In line with accelerating population growth and the relentless rise of the health and wellness trend in Indonesia, tea is expected to increase in off-trade volume at a CAGR of 5% over the forecast period. This growth is expected to predominantly attributable to the continuous increase in the numbers of people shifting away from traditional loose tea towards tea bags, a situation which is set to result in robust growth in tea bags. Functional varieties of tea such as fruit/herbal tea and healthy varieties of tea categorised under other tea will contribute to the healthy growth expected in tea during the forecast period.