Did People in Indonesia Drink Tea in the Middle Ages?

Fig. 1 — The only Indonesian tea I have in my house. ‘TEH GIJU — Special quality’. It tastes quite good but it’s made up mostly of stems and shoots (not a good thing, usually).

THESE DAYS Indonesia produces a lot of tea — around 140,000 tonnes per year, in fact, making it the sixth or seventh largest tea producer in the world (Figure 1). Most of this tea is grown and harvested in Java, with a smaller amount grown in Sumatra, and most is processed as black tea for export. Tea isn’t native to the Indo-Malaysian archipelago, though, and the growing of tea in the region only…