We offered actress Darby Stanchfield a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to follow the path of Pure Leaf tea, from seed to sip, in the company of one of our top Tea Masters. The journey took her to the Dewata Tea Estate, deep in the heart of Indonesia, to learn about one of the sources of the exceptionally flavorful Pure Leaf family of teas. We went with her to capture the experience for you in our Journey with a Tea Master documentary.
Guiding Darby through this unique experience was Alex White, Tea Master for Pure Leaf. As a Tea Master, he has spent years developing his palate to distinguish the subtlest of differences among tea varieties. Fun fact: He may taste up to 200 cups in a day as part of his job.
Darby and Alex’s experience started in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. Before they left for the Dewata Tea Estate, they enjoyed a special meal prepared for them by a local chef whose farm-to-table approach to cooking is much like our seed-to-sip approach to tea—only the best, freshest, minimally processed ingredients will do. Read more in Darby’s Travel Journal and try her recipe for Pure Leaf Nasi Goreng.
Dewata Tea Estate is a tea lover’s paradise
Dewata Tea Estate is not only breathtakingly beautiful, it’s also incredibly productive. This 594-hectare plantation employs over 900 people and processes 15 tons of green tea a day.
And it’s home to the people who work there and their families—2,400 people in all. A self-sustaining village nestled in the heart of the estate, complete with schools and hospitals. The village and the tea factories both run on hydroelectric power, drawn from the streams and rivers that run through the estate.
Father and son Rachmat and Robby Badruddin own and run the Dewata Tea Estate, which has been a family business for three generations. They work closely with Pure Leaf to ensure the very best quality tea – sustainably grown, carefully picked and minimally processed.
We work tirelessly, along with our partners, to lessen the impact we have on the environment. From planting native trees to utilizing hydroelectric power, our growers strive to achieve harmony between nature and growing some of the best tea on the planet.
Picking Is An Art
The basic method for harvesting tea leaves has not changed for thousands of years. The tea leaves at Dewata Tea Estate are picked by hand to ensure that the leaves are not bruised. Darby and Alex got a quick lesson from veteran tea pickers on how to gently pick only the youngest leaves at the top of the plants—the “shooters.” These tender leaves, carefully processed, are the source of Pure Leaf’s authentic flavor.
From leaves to tea
When Darby and Alex visited the factory, they got a chance to see how the tea they picked is processed. Black tea and green tea come from the same plant. The difference? Black tea will start to oxidize when exposed to air—much like when avocados or apples turn brown after they are cut open. To produce green tea, the leaves are run through a rolling drum to stop the oxidation process.
The leaves are then put through a machine with two rotating discs stacked on top of each other. It rolls the leaves between the discs—much like you would between your hands to make the freshest iced tea at home.
In the tasting room at the Dewata Tea Estate, Darby got a chance to learn from Alex how Tea Masters do their job. Alex showed her the technique for properly tasting tea — it involves slurping rather noisily. Alex explained that this technique adds air to the tea in the mouth, allowing the palate to distinguish flavor notes. Darby carefully smelled and tasted each of the teas, offering her own observations for each one.
Many types of tea can be made from the same plant—it all depends on how the leaves are processed. Darby tried a spectacular range of brewed teas, from white tea to Japanese-style hojicha (she immediately detects the woody undertones achieved by roasting), to konacha green tea, to a black Darjeeling tea. The tasting concluded with the gunpowder green tea used in Pure Leaf Gunpowder Green Tea/Loose Long Leaf Tea.
The same taste every time
To always provide the same Pure Leaf experience, tea from the Dewata Tea Estate may be blended with tea from two or three other estates to reach the ideal balance. Tea masters like Alex taste every blend to make sure it’s perfect.
Pure Leaf flavor
A tea’s flavor profile is influenced by three factors: where it’s grown, how it’s picked and how it’s manufactured. Pure Leaf is dedicated to sourcing teas from where it grows best—and grown sustainably. At Rainforest Alliance Certified™ estates, like Dewata, around the world, our teas are carefully picked and manufactured using methods that retain the pure flavor our customers know and love.
Pausing to celebrate
Before heading back home, Darby and Alex had a chance to celebrate with the people of the Dewata Tea Estate. Both left with a new appreciation for the people who help make Pure Leaf tea, and for the simplicity and authenticity of the process that’s reflected in every Pure Leaf product.
Darby and the children of the Dewata Tea Estate
Celebrating with the community
The people of the Dewata Tea Estate