For the last two years, the spotlight has shone rigorously on Indonesian coffee. But now it’s time to turn our heads to his sister, tea, as introduced by GAIA Tea & Cakes. Opened in late 2014, GAIA shares the same owner with Alleira Batik, a local batik fashion line that dresses the family of the previous Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The café interior even sports warm colours such as dark brown and orange, palettes that don’t travel far from batik’s traits. Wrought irons forming batik kawung (a type of batik motifs) ornamenting the walls give further nod to the Indonesian heritage.
To get it straight, GAIA doesn’t exist because of her jealousy over the amount of attention coffee draws in; rather, simply because Indonesian tea hasn’t garnered a deep appreciation it deserves thus far. For that reason, GAIA aims to serve tea in the right way with the help of tea curator Ratna Somantri.
“Indonesia produces more than just black tea and jasmine tea,” the curator said. “In fact, lots of international tea brands such as Twinings and Ahmad Tea use tea leaves harvested in West Java.”
With that in mind, the tea offerings are all locally sourced and even include the rare ones. Indonesian Beauty, for instance, uses tea leaves bitten by leafhoppers that ended up producing a unique note. There’s also West Java Oriental Green Tea that requires plenty of care.
Above all, GAIA appreciates tea more than anything, treating it carefully and maximizing its full worth. Don’t be surprised if the waiter serve you tea with a timer on the side, because the latter alarms us when to pour the tea so that we could guzzle it at its best quality. With tea being the main star, don’t expect to find gourmet meals here, but rather the usual desserts like macaroons, cakes (carrot, red velvet, pineapple) and tarts.
Almost too often we belittle the presence of tea, however staple its presence is in our lives. Now the time has come for us all to appreciate Indonesian tea in the right way. And GAIA starts that off with a right note.