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Traveller's Tales

 

Tea Estates 'Pagilarang'


Pagilarang Tea Estates located in kabupaten Batang, kecamatan Blado, south of Batang, Central Jawa (S07.06.649-E109.51.301). The story of this estate goes like this:
 
 
 
 
In 1840 a Dutch pioneer by the name Meneer E. Blink came to this place and decided to try his luck by planting “cinchona” trees (pohon kina) that produces “quinine alkaloids” the main ingredient to make anti malaria drugs. Besides cinchona trees he also planting “coffea arabica” trees and these were the most sought commodities in those days. Luck apparently was not on his sides, because the productions of these two commodities were beyond his commercial expectation. He then decided to change his luck by planting tea “camellia sinensis” and God smiles at him……
 
 
His growing tea business attracted a Dutch Maskapij (Dutch company) down in Semarang to invest in Meneer Blink tea estates by establishing a tea processing factory. It seemed that Meneer Blink’s luck was not too long, because his tea processing factory financed by the Dutch Maskapij was burned down. Due to the growing demand for tea by the British, in the year 1920, an English company by the name P&T Lands took over the estates. Pagilarang quickly come back in full commercial steam. To overcome the difficulties of sending the tea leaves to the factory, “a hanging cart” system was built and it was the first of it kind ever built for that purposes. The business was flourishing until the Japanese occupation which left the estates unattended. After the Japanese left the country, the Dutch came back and Pagilarang was put under Dutch company’s control. In the late ‘50, the Pagilarang Tea Estates were nationalized and put under BUMN (Government Owned Companies).
 
 
Pagilarang Tea Estates cover around 1,130 Hectares with altitude between 800 to 1,600 meters above sea level, divided into 3 afdeling (sectors) and employed some 3,000 people. The estates produces ordinary red tea, as well as other tea, such as green tea and black tea and the market is 25% for domestic market, the rest are for export, mainly to UK, German, Japan and Middle-East countries.
 
 
There are rather nice bungalows for rent, for both holidays as well as for meetings. The rent charges vary from Rp 150.000.- to Rp 250.000.- depending on the size of the bungalow and an agreed menu can also be provided by the estates. During week-ends and holidays, the estates arrange “tea walk” around the estates and “nature walk” into deeper terrains.
 
 
It is interesting to note that the Women Football Club of Pagilarang Estates happened to be the champion of Indonesian Women Football League for 3 years in a row. Perhaps that those women have a solid stamina due to the habit of drinking a lot of tea and running up and down the hilly terrains…….


 
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