Visitors to the Tambi tea plantation in Wonosobo, Central Java, enjoy the fresh air during a morning hike through the plantation. (JP/Agus Maryono)
The high Dieng Plateau at Wonosobo is the center of some of Central Java's more famous tourist attractions.
Some tourist sites you can visit on the plateau are as high as 2,400 meters above sea level, including ancient sites and temples, the Sikidang and Sinila volcanic craters and the totally green landscape of the Tambi tea plantation that covers an area of eight hectares.
The plantation, which dates back to 1865, during the Dutch colonial era, is now owned by Agrowisata and open to the general public. It's a suitable place if you want to be refreshed by nature or look into the agricultural aspects of tea production.
Located in Wonosobo regency, the plantation is in Tambi village in Kejajar subdistrict, 16 kilometers north of the regency capital, Wonosobo city. From the city, local transportation will get you out to the village in around 20 minutes.
If you want to spend the night at the Agrowisata complex, a comfortable homestay is available with both good facilities and green surroundings, with views of the hills. The homestay rates range from Rp 225,000 (US$24) per room per night to the most expensive at Rp 1.25 million (US$136).
Agrowisata also offers a hall and restaurant big enough to accommodate about 75 people. Near the homestay is a pond where visitors can relax and fish.
If you come with a group and spend the night, a local band is ready to provide entertainment for tourists in the yard of the homestay complex. They staff will even light a campfire to ward off the chilly night air of the Dieng Plateau.
Don't come with lowered expectations; Even though the homestay staff come from the surrounding mountains they play a broad repertoire of music, including pop, dangdut, rock, jazz and Western songs guaranteed to entertain.
Since the high altitude climate can penetrate the body, don't forget to take a thick sweater to protect you from chilly weather.
Exploring the area around the Agrowisata tea plantation can make for a fascinating trip. If you're fed up with the stale city weather and want to get away to enjoy some fresh air, a visit here might be just the thing. The view alone is restorative. You can see across the spread of the tea plantation which is vast and neatly managed. At a distance it looks like a giant green carpet.
"Almost every week there's a group that comes through. Many spend the night here and we give them the best possible service," Titik Zubaedah, from Agrowisata's operations department, told The Jakarta Post.
Titik can easily answer all your questions regarding the tea plantation. He said that every day the enterprise produces around six tons of dry tea.
"A large part of the production is exported," said Titik. That's why Tambi tea products are less well known in this country. Some of the countries that import Tambi tea include the United States, Poland, Russia, New Zealand and Australia, she said.
Tea leaves are processed at the Agrowisata tea factory located nearby the plantation. (JP/Agus Maryono)
Exploring the Agrowisata complex starts with setting out on the paths that crisscross the plantation which covers three hectares. "Usually in the morning we start at 7 a.m. and go until 9 a.m.. The temperature is pleasant so it's suitable for walking. We follow that with a visit to the factory area, then go back to the hotel to have breakfast," Titik said.
She said that planting the tea, maintaining the area, picking and processing in the factory -- which stands at the middle of the Agrowisata area -- required a workforce of around 1,100 people.
"All the processing is done here including the packing, so the tea is ready to sell. Tourists can also walk through the factory to see the process of making tea from A to Z. We will guide them from start to finish."
She said the process of making Tambi tea started by picking the fresh tea leaves by hand. The tea leaves are then left to wilt.
"After the leaves have wilted the next process is milling in the factory for 60 minutes," said Titik. After this, the fermentation process takes another 120 minutes.
"When the fermentation has finished the tea is dried in the oven for an average of 25 minutes. The next step is sorting the tea before packing.
"Once the process and packing has been completed, the tea is ready to be exported," Titik said.
After your visit, plan to buy a pack of Tambi tea to take home with you. Near the homestay, a market sells Tambi tea products and a number of special Wonosobo snacks.
From Yogyakarta the journey takes around 2.5 hours by car.
From Semarang to Wonosobo allow for two hours of traveling.
If you are coming from Jakarta and want to go directly by land, the best route is from the south. The Jakarta-Cirebon-Purwokerto-Wonosobo route takes around 10 hours.