From the Tea Plantation to the Tea Table
West Java Province is blessed with fertile soil, beautiful panorama, delicious culinary and ... beautiful ladies. I won't explain more about the last one, but I'm sure most of Indonesians have known about that. But for the others, you'll find out in this posting.
It was about 3 weeks ago, we had a trip to Lembang, West Java to attend a 'family day' event from my husband's office. Actually it was only one day event, but we decided to spend one night for having little relaxation.
The first day, we spent morning and afternoon for the event. It's quite tiring, we joined some games and physical activities. The kids really had fun during the event.
After had a very good sleep through a cold night, on the second day, under warm morning sunshine we made a trip to Sukawana Tea Plantation, not too far from the hotel where we stayed.
We enjoyed the fresh air on the plantation, then we stop by on the tea processing factory, PT Perkebunan Nusantara VIII (PTPN VIII), Sukawana. We were lucky enough to have a chance to see the process of the tea making. We learned how fresh tea leaves were processed to become tea that ready to be brewed.
In a simple explanation; the process starts with (1) Picking (~pemetikan) tea leaves from the plantations. (2) Withering (~pelayuan). Tea leaves are blown with air from some electric fans, takes one day. (3) Enumeration (~pencacahan). This process takes 4 stages to get the required textures. We watched how the different type of machines doing their job to enumerate the tea leaves to become 'green tea crumbs'.Next step (4) Fermentation (~fermentasi). It takes 70-90 minutes to ferment the 'green tea crumbs' to become brown color tea crumbs. See on the picture below.
Next step is (5) Drying (~pengeringan). In this stage the brown tea crumbs are dried using the wood-fire furnace.
After learning all the process above, we went inside the factory, and saw the next process.
(6) Sorting (~pemisahan). All the dry tea crumbs are sorted by their size, and continue to the next stage. (7) Cooling (~pendinginan). For one night the sorted tea are cooled down in some kind of enclosed silos made of steel. After that, they are ready to be packed.
Inside the large room in this factory, there are many machines doing their job to sort & to cool the tea crumbs, BUT (read : unfortunately) it's not allowed to take pictures, only the pictures of the tea sacks.
(7) Packing and Pressing. Inside the factory, we saw stacks of sacks of the tea that ready to be delivered to 'customers'. Some of them will be sent to some local tea producers and most of them will be exported to overseas tea producers.
Do you know that some of the famous International tea brands are using the tea from here, Sukawana Tea Plantation? They just need to put inside the tea bags, and make a nice packaging, or some of them put some flavor before pack again. Some of them use it to make 'ready to drink' tea.
At the end of the 'tea factory trip', we enjoyed the warm tea and saw how the 'tea tester' checked the quality of the tea. Very-very interesting.
We ended our morning trip to visit the tea plantation (again) around a red villa that located on the top of a hill. We played on the park around the villa and had a morning walked around the tea plantation.
For you, who have plan to have vacation around Bandung or Lembang, I recommend you to visit this place. Especially if you have children who normally have big curiosity, ...this place will give them good experience to learn about something they see or enjoy everyday. Tea!
The ticket price to visit this factory : Rp. 7.500 / person. Plus Rp. 25.000 for a guide.
Before I continue to the recipe, let me share some pictures that I took on the first day in Lembang. As I wrote before, that we spent our first day to join my husband's office event. It took place in Imah Seniman Resort.
Imah Seniman, Lembang
It's an ethnic traditional cafe, resort, gallery and outbound adventure places that located in Cikahuripan, Lembang, called Imah Seniman. Since I joined lots of outdoor physical activities during our visit to this place, I couldn't carry my camera all the time. So not too many pictures I took there. Hopefully from the pictures above, you can imagine how nice the place is.
Overall, I like the environment of the place, the beautiful ethnic buildings, and the food that they prepared during the event. There is one food that stays in my mind. It's their spring rolls. Humble-simple snack but special, that is very interesting to try at home for your afternoon tea. The filling, that what makes it special.
More information about Imah Seniman, you can check their website: http://imahseniman.com/
Tofu Spring Rolls / Lunpia Tahu
Normally, spring rolls can be easy to be found in street vendor carts, here in Jakarta. Most of them used the simple chopped vegetable as the filling or rice noodle with some vegetables.
Inspired by the Spring Rolls that served in Imah Seniman, I think they take this humble favorite snack to a whole new level with the simple filling and flavor that end out with super delicious snack. I love their brilliant idea!
Behind the crispy spring rolls skin, we found the mashed tofu with little chopped vegetable. After my second and third spring rolls that I ate there, then I realized that Lembang has a famous Tahu Tauhid. Oh yeah, they used the famous local ingredient, the fresh tofu.
When I decided to prepare this spring rolls for afternoon tea, I just bought the tofu that available in the traditional market, nearby our house. I think this yellow tofu is the close type with Tahu Tauhid. And I chose to use local spring rolls wrapper that (again) I bought in the same market. I added little ground/mince chicken to the filling, with some carrot and spring onion.
I decided to stir fry the filling before used as the filling, to drain some water from the tofu and the ground chicken. You don't want the spring rolls become a soggy snack, do you?
The other advantage, we don't need to (deep) fry the spring rolls too long, because we're sure the filling is 100% cooked. No greasy snack :)
Tofu Spring Rolls
20 good quality spring rolls wrapper.
Cooking oil for stir frying and deep frying.
8 yellow tofu, mashed
3 shallots, sliced thinly
3 garlic, minced
1 carrot. chopped into dices
100 grams ground chicken
2 spring onions
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1. Mix all the filling ingredients in one big bowl. Using spatula will make them easy to mix evenly.
2. Stir fry the filling until a bit dry and most of the water is evaporated.
3. Take one piece of the wrapper, put 1.5 tablespoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper. The fold the wrapper into three sides and then roll. Repeat for the other wrappers.
4. Heat the oil, then fry all the spring rolls until golden brown.
5. Serve with you favorite chilly sauce.
*I served with my son's favorite 'Sambal Pedas Manis' and our favorite 'Cucumber Pickles'.
Brew your favorite tea and let's enjoy the long weekend.
Note : the hand woven tray and platter were made by people in Lombok.
Note : the hand woven tray and platter were made by people in Lombok.