March 19, 2009

Indonesia = tea nation?

I once had a Philipino colleague, and every time we went out for lunch, she always ordered Coke or Pepsi, while the rest of us ordered "teh tawar" (sugarless tea) or "es teh manis" (sweet ice tea).

She never could get used to the idea of washing down a meal with tea, while in Indonesia it is a common thing. The tea is not served in small tea cups, they are usually served in tall glasses/mugs.

I guess you can say that tea in Indonesia is like softdrink to Americans.

There are many ready-to-drink (RTD) tea products. The major one is Tehbotol, from the Indonesian company Sosro. It is also the first bottled tea in the market. Actually, the name "Tehbotol" literally translates into bottled tea. Their slogan is : "Apapun makanannya, minumnya Tehbotol Sosro", meaning "Whatever your meal is, your drink is Tehbotol"....which actually sums up pretty nicely how Indonesians view tea in general as part of their meal. However, this is usually when dining outside. When at home, water is still the main drink.

RTD teas in Indonesia is dominated by black teas. Recently, many of the black tea manufacturers also launch green tea versions and flavoured tea.

Even Coca-Cola capitalizes on this by manufacturing Frestea. I don't think they sell this brand anywhere else in the world.

Besides different types and brands, the manufacturers of RTD tea also give consumers the choice to choose from different packaging formats : you have the glass bottle version (RGB), tetra pack (carton), PET (plastic), can and cup. you think it's justifiable to say that Indonesia is a "tea nation"?

Note : I always thought of Tehbotol as being black tea, but after writing this entry, I read in their website, that actually Tehbotol is made of green tea. Does anyone have any info?


Matt said...

I am seriously a teh botol junkie. I buy it by the case here in the US. I first tried it in an Internet cafe in Bandung. It was so hot out and that teh botol tasted so good. I always thought that it was green tea and jasmine but I've also bought Sosro teh bags that were black tea.

Antonius Bram said...

gara-gara baca artikel ini, jadi ngidam minum teh botol. padahal di tempat saya lumayan mahal, kalo dirupiahkan kurang lebih Rp 10500- Rp 11000 padahal kalo di indonesia paling mahal juga cuma 4000.

Fitri said...

@Matt : You have it in the US? Wow...that's great...probably cost a lot though?

@Bram : Cuman gue lebih suka pesan S-tee, lebih gede tapi harga sama hahaha

Boutique Spa Sekar Jagat said...

Hello Fitri, I have followed your blog for a while now and added you to our blogroll on I like your mostly light-hearted and well-informed thoughts on Jakarta and Indonesia. Regards from Bali.

Fitri said...

Hello back to Bali :)

Thanks for enjoying my blog!

smrstrauss said...

This is not related, but can you tell me whether US children may legally attend public schools in Indonesia.

I've been told that it is legal and that many attend, and I have also been told that there is a law against foreigners attending public schools and that people who do attend must prove that they are Indonesian citizens.

Can anyone help me?

Fitri said...

Hi smrstrauss..

I'm sorry but I don't know...there is an outline stating that non-Indonesian citizens have the same right to attend the national education, but I don't know exactly what that entails. but let me ask around, and I'll let you know if I get the answer..

Matt said...

Hi Fitri...yes we have teh botol here in the US. We buy a case (24) of the tetra pack which cost about $10. They sell in our local Asian market and I think maybe we are the only people who buy them. :)

jrung said...

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I'm looking for an Indonesian market that sells tea from Inodesia. Does anyone know of one? Or a store that does Internet orders?

Fitri said...

@jrung : Sorry..I don't know any. But maybe you can go to Sosro's website ( and contact them, maybe they have a distributor in San Fransisco?

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