Tea is one of the favorite drinks of the Indonesian people besides of course coffee drinks. In almost every household, restaurant or event, tea is always served. In general, tea is served with hot water or cold water with or without sugar. But at this time the presentation of tea is very varied and not limited to only serving tea with water and sugar. Various creations of tea drinks are certainly familiar to us. Surely some of you have never tried pulled tea added a little salt and sweetened condensed milk. Or for those of you who are Minangkabau people, you must have tried egg tea, which is a tea drink mixed with free-range chicken egg mixture, lime and honey which is believed to increase vitality. There are also tea drinks mixed with lemongrass, cinnamon and ginger. Serving tea with cold water or ice also has various creations such as honey iced tea, grass jelly iced tea, milk iced tea, lemon iced tea and so on. Various tea drink creations are very often found in cafes or sold on the side of the road which is currently a new business that is developing very rapidly.
One of the causes of the rapid development of the tea beverage creation business is the easy-to-obtain tea raw materials. Indonesia is the seventh tea producer in the world. Tea plantations are spread across the island of Java, namely in the highlands of West Java and at the foot of Mount Slamet, Central Java. Meanwhile on the island of Sumatra there are tea plantations in the Solok area, West Sumatra province and in Simalungun, North Sumatra Province. Large tea plantations in Indonesia are generally managed by state-owned enterprises through PT Perkebunan Nusantara and private plantations such as PT. Gunung Slamat in Tegal which produces Tea Pot which is very familiar to the people. Nearly half of Indonesia’s tea production is exported to European countries, the South Asian Region and Russia. Unfortunately, like other tea export commodities in Indonesia, most of it is still in the form of raw materials managed by the upstream industry, while for processed tea products from the downstream industry, the percentage of export value is still relatively small, only around 6% of total tea exports.
In West Sumatra there are tea plantations located in Solok district with the Kayu Aro commodity and Solok Selatan district with the Liki tea commodity. The Liki tea plantation has an area of 2,025 hectares. This is the largest green tea plantation in Southeast Asia and has export quality. Liki green tea is the favorite drink of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her family. They even order green tea directly from the Liki plantation. This is not surprising considering that Liki green tea has a tannin content of up to 17%, very high compared to green tea from other regions. Tannins are antioxidants that can maintain health and prevent various diseases. The taste of Liki green tea is slightly sour but smells very fragrant and when brewed with hot water it tastes very light and refreshing.
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The Liki tea plantation is located at the foot of Mount Kerinci adjacent to the Kerinci Seblat National Park with an altitude of 600 to 1,300 meters above sea level which is the ideal temperature for tea plants. Since opening in 1990, this plantation has become a natural tourist attraction that is free to be visited by tourists. It is located in the village of South Lubuk Gadang, Sangir District, approximately 10 kilometers from the capital of Solok Selatan, Padang Aro. The air there is not polluted so it is very fresh. Visitors can take a walk – take a walk to breathe fresh air while observing the activities of tea farm workers. Of the total area of 2,025 hectares, the tea plantation area with new generation superior clones is 1,470 hectares. The rest is original forest conservation as a source of water and wood production forest as the main energy source for tea factories. This unspoiled and well-maintained environment is an added value for the Liki tea plantation which is rarely owned by other tea plantations in Indonesia.
In 1940 the Dutch colonial government opened a Liki tea plantation at the foot of Mount Kerinci. At that time the maintenance of tea plants was carried out by Indonesian workers who were brought in from the island of Java. The tea commodity produced from the Liki tea plantation was exported to European countries in addition to being consumed by the people in the Netherlands at that time. Since 1990 the Liki tea plantation has been managed by PT Mitra Kerinci as a subsidiary of the Rajawali Group. PT Mitra Kerinci has a green tea factory and a black tea factory each with a production capacity of 2 million kilograms of tea per year. It is capable of producing approximately 4,800 tons per year. Where 10% is exported and 350 kilograms is white tea production. The green tea factory has 3 export quality grades (pekoe duper) and 1 local quality grade (broken mix), while the black tea factory produces 17 grades of black tea (common grade/ broken orthodox) ranging from orange pekoe 1 to broken mix. Export of tea is in the form of bulk (paper sack) while for the local market PT Mitra Kerinci makes packaged tea products, both brewed tea and tea bags. The Liki tea taste standard can be said to be very good because it only processes tea shoots which have only three leaves. This tea bud has an extraordinary level of subtlety.
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A visit to the Liki tea garden is incomplete if you don’t try the tea produced by PT Mitra Kerinci. Many stalls provide Liki tea drinks at friendly prices. One of the fun and cool places to hang out for tea and coffee connoisseurs is Liki Café & Tea House. Visitors can enjoy various types and creations of tea and coffee drinks while looking at the beautiful natural panorama of the countryside with the atmosphere of a stretch of tea plantations at the foot of Mount Kerinci. Serving tea and coffee drinks at Liki Café & Tea House is carried out by professional baristas using modern tea and coffee processing machines which are similar to modern cafes in big cities, so visitors don’t have to worry about hygiene issues.
The most popular drinks in this three-floor café are Liki Green Tea and Rose Tea. Green tea is served with hot water in a glass stove while Rose tea is delicious when mixed with ice. If you want something more luxurious, you can order White Tea, which is more expensive but more efficacious for maintaining health and preventing disease. Besides that, there are various kinds of tea drink creations including jasmine green tea, herbal tea, lemon tea, milk tea, blue tea with butterfly pea, cinnamon tea and so on.
For those of you who still want to take a walk, there are two waterfall natural attractions, namely the Tansi Ampek waterfall and the Kembar waterfall. Both can be reached on foot following the signposted route along the tea plantation. Tansi Ampek waterfall has a height of 15-20 meters and is located at the northwestern foot of Mount Kerinci in West Sumatra. This must be traversed by going down the hill. Until below, you can see a river with a fast current with large rocks. This waterfall has four stages. The photos that are widely circulated are stages 3 and 4 because they are located close to each other. The water is cold and clear because it doesn’t pass through residential areas.
Meanwhile, the Kembar waterfalls are located in the village of Bangunrejo and the route that is passed must also pass through the Liki tea plantation and along the cliffs. Then you walk down the cliff via the footbridge of the bamboo bridge. The waterfall is located close to each other with water discharge which can be said to be the same so it is called the Kembar waterfall. Its height is about 20-25 meters below which flows a natural pool that is cold and clear.
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