Puncak tea plantation, West Java

Located less than 90 kilometers south of Jakarta, the Gunung Mas tea plantation was cultivated in the Dutch colonial era, although is now a government-owned estate. The site is sprawled out over more than 6,000 acres, where row after row of tea grows in cool climates of between 18 and 25°C (due to the elevated altitude). The lush hillsides and processing plants of the Gedeh tea plantation, 15km northwest of town via a pot-holed road, are well worth a visit. It was established by the Dutch in 1916, and most of the original machinery is still in use.

The tea factory at Gunung Mas offers a glimpse into the drying, processing and packaging of the tea grown at the plantation. These processes are all achieved with antique-looking machinery that seems to do the job well enough. The end product is exported all over the world to such big-name tea brands as Twinings and Pickwick.

Visitors can also take a tour of the plantation itself – to watch the tea-pickers at work and perhaps buy some tea-leaves to take home. Those who enjoy walking can take advantage of the cool climate and the lush highland views by joining one of the organized guided hikes that often take place around the site.

The top of the pass reaches an altitude of 1500 meter, where it is cool and misty, except for the mornings when the view can be more far-reaching. The road passes some lovely scenery of tea fields and dramatic landscapes, forests and mountains.

The agro-tourism destination of the Gunung Mas tea plantation is both a fascinating place to find out about the industrial processes involved in making tea and a place to relax and enjoy the benefits of cooler mountain air and countryside scenery. Even though this is where huge quantities of tea are processed and packaged — massive stacks of 55 kilogram sacks seem to be everywhere — there is generally a quiet and relaxing atmosphere here. Throughout and among the hills and their covering of greenery are footpaths, some more steeply inclined and challenging than others but all quite readily and easily accessible. It is via these footpaths that visitors may participate in “tea walks” which are essentially communal and sociable walks among the tea bushes.

It is on such walks that visitors may encounter tea pickers. These ladies in their wide-brimmed hats carry heavy baskets on their backs into which they skillfully deposit the leaves that they have carefully and expertly chosen to pick.  Their picking is the first step in the long process from tea leaf to dried powder or leaf with which we brew our tea. Further up the hillside is a factory which visitors may enter to see the heavy industry and machinery of tea processing, but its technical details may be a bit beyond the layman.

There are apparently more than 1,000 people working on this plantation alone but it covers about 2.5 thousand hectares so it is far from crowded. Many of these employees are in fact working in the tourism industry rather than the tea industry — although tea is its central component.

At the top of the pass there are some restaurants and hotels, here you can buy a meal while you enjoy the green carpet of tea plantations and occasionally a hang glider or two.

For more information and reservation write booking@topindonesiaholidays.com

5 thoughts on “Puncak tea plantation, West Java

  1. Pingback: Best Things to Do in Bogor (Indonesia) – ct-travel.co.id

  2. Henri Charles (Hans) Schmid

    Visiting the now called Gunung Mas tea plantation twice in 2018 & 2019 was a very emotional return to the place where I, born in Sukabumi, enjoyed the 1st four years of my life. My father, Emile Schmid, born in Surabaya, was employed as the Administrator of the plantation. Four Schmid generation ancestors, including my Great-Grandmother Emilie Loffman, a Native Indonesian Lady, were born in the former Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia.
    Sadly, very sadly WW II scattered our family, (starting in early 1942) of my Family, my dad Emile, my mother Jenny, a blue-eyed blonde hair Lady born in the Netherlands, my sister Marianne & just born sister Emie ( Jenny Emilie). My father ended up at the infamous Burma Railroad concentration camp & succumbed to the brutal conditions there. He is now RIP at Kanchanaburi WW II Cemetery. My mother Jenny, myself, and my 2 sisters were transported from the Cihapit camp (Bandung) ending up at the Cideng camp (Batavia/Jakarta). Jenny Emilie (Emie) died in the Cideng camp & is now RIP at the Menteng Pulo civilian casualties cemetery in Jakarta. After WW II my Mother, sister Marianne & I were repatriated to The Netherlands. She and my sister Marianne RIP in Holland. I happily live in the USA with my wife of more than 58 years, Hedy, who was born in the Tjihapit camp. We feel very fortunate to enjoy all these memories, including our 5 children, 17 grandchildren, and (thus far) 4 Great-grandchildren happy & in good health.

    The present Gunung Mas plantation & Historic Tourist Attraction is fabulously maintained and…… still growing quality tea. A variety of the original buildings still exist, including the Warehouse. The many pictures Hedy & I took are added to the historic photos taken in 1937- 1942.

    1. admintih Post author

      So heartwarming to read, thank you for sharing your precious family story. We are glad the write up could bring back some of the nicest memory along your journey. God bless you and your beautiful family, hopefully when the pandemic is over you and wife can visit Gunung Mas plantation again one day. Warmest from Indonesia

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