Those visiting Indonesia's main cities will find an abundance of local and international coffee shops to choose from. The same cannot be said of teahouses.
Though Indonesia is one of the world's top 10 tea-producing countries, with 65% of its total production exported abroad, teahouses serving flavors of Indonesian tea are still far from popular.
Fortunately, for those longing to enjoy delicious Indonesian tea flavors in style, one teahouse in Bandung, West Java, provides both high-quality tea and classy surroundings.
Opened for business in January 2014, Oza Tea House, located at Jl. Diponegoro No. 25, greets visitors with tastefully packaged tea arranged on a table and cupboard near the entrance. Inside, visitors find homey wooden chairs and tables, a black piano, framed photographs of tea plantation owners and outdoor furniture painted white that blends well with the green atmosphere.
According to owner Oza Sudewa, Indonesians rarely enjoy their own country's high-quality tea, which is why he opened the teahouse.
“There is a long history behind Indonesian tea. Since 1835, before Indian tea and Chinese tea were popular, Indonesian tea was sold at auction houses in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Sadly, now most of our high-quality tea is exported and thus Indonesians rarely get to drink it," he said.
However, when TWG Tea, a Singapore-based tea company, opened a branch in Jakarta last year, Oza observed an opening in the domestic market.
"Tea as a global trend began in Europe in the 1980’s, followed by the United States in the 2000’s. In Indonesia, the same trend started when TWG launched its first branch in Jakarta," said Oza.
Optimistic about the growing market for tea, Oza decided to open a teahouse that would serve high-quality tea that struck a balance between pure, unmixed teas and blended concoctions.
“In Oza Tea House, guests can enjoy tea beyond their imagination. Other than flavored tea from Europe and China, we use local tea from a plantation in Ciwidey, West Java,” said Oza.
"Since 1835, before Indian tea and Chinese tea were popular, Indonesian tea was sold at auction houses in Amsterdam"
Signature offerings include the Silver Needle white tea, which is a premium selection of light, white tea served in a porcelain cup. Priced at Rp 55,000 (US$4.69), the antioxidants in the tea offer many health benefits, making it the right choice for those wanting to relax after just a few sips.
Sparkling aged tea is said to be favorite among customers preferring a cocktail-style tea experience. A mix of three-week fermented teas, lemon and sparkling water, the tea is served in a flute glass and is priced at Rp 33,000.
Those looking to sample Indonesian-style tea can try Hugo Victor (priced at Rp 33,000) which is inspired by a popular local beverage called STJM -- an acronym for the Indonesian words for the ingredients inside: milk, egg, honey and ginger. The tea is served in a cocktail glass and the beverage consists of morning spirit tea from China and egg yolks stirred with sugar into a foam.
A mixology concept called sutra ungu (purple silk) is also appealing due to its purple color. Priced at Rp 29,000, sutra ungu is a mix of chamomile tea and syrup, with a slice of floating orange and cherry added as garnishes.
In addition to sipping tea on site, Oza Tea House welcomes customers to buy packaged tea to take home. With prices ranging from Rp 39,000 to Rp 89,000 per package, premium selections include Silver Needle white tea, Dewata TGFOP, the exquisite blend Morning Spirit and Fruit Dream.
Oza Tea House also serves light meals to complement its selection of teas.