Indonesian Tea Culture

In Indonesian culture, tea drinking is deeply rooted, with people of all ages indulging in several cups a day, ranging from hot to sweet cold beverages. In addition to the ubiquitous es teh manis (sweet iced tea), there are several notable regional variations of Indonesian tea drinks.

One such drink is teh talua, a Minang tea made with tea powder, raw egg, sugar, and citrus, which has been recognized as an intangible cultural heritage by the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture.

Another regional specialty is teh poci, a tea brewed in clay pots and cups and typically served hot with rock sugar. It is usually made with green or jasmine tea, giving off a distinctive aroma, and is often accompanied by snacks. Teh poci is readily available in Tegal.

Nyaneut is a tea-drinking tradition common among the people of Garut, usually served during the Islamic New Year. This practice began in the 19th century when the Dutch scientist Karel Frederik Hole established tea plantations in Cigedug and Bayongbong, resulting in the area becoming a producer of high-quality tea. Nyaneut is often served with boiled cassava and involves rotating the tea glass in the palm of the hand twice before inhaling the tea’s aroma three times before drinking.

In Yogyakarta, patehan is responsible for preparing tea and other drinks for the Royal Palace. Water for making tea is drawn from a special well called Nyai Jalatunda near the royal tea brewery, known as Gedhong Patehan. Patehan prepares tea twice daily for the sultan and is delivered in a procession of five female courtiers.

Finally, the Betawi people have a tea tradition called nyahi, usually enjoyed with family or friends in the afternoon a few hours after lunchtime. They drink teh tubruk, which is made from dry tea leaves brewed directly without filtering and served in a canned teapot or a brass teapot. The tea is accompanied by coconut sugar and various snacks like kue ape, boiled peanuts, boiled banana, wajik, and kue apem.

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