We said to ourselves that you, all of our loyal customers, would be interested in knowing where we actually get kratom from, where it's processed and that you could dig a little deeper into the whole process.
That's why we went to our farm in Indonesia, more precisely to the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, from where we bring you a report in the form of a blog post with a smaller photo documentation. We regularly go to Indonesia to our partners for internal audits and other matters. However, we do not regularly venture directly into the jungle to the farm, which is several dozen hours' drive on dirt roads and an additional four hours' boat ride from civilization. For you, however, we have stepped out of our comfort zone, ie out of our office, and made this journey on the occasion of a planned internal audit in production.
The journey begins at our premises in Pilsen, where we explain the last details to the new operations manager, who will take care of operations during our absence, as long as we are unavailable and have no reception. The next day we drive to Berlin, from there we fly to Doha in Qatar and there we board another plane to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
Here we spend the night after the long and demanding flight and compensate for the jet lag. The next morning we have more time to explore the city before continuing. There is a terrible noise and scorching heat that we have to get used to quickly. In Jakarta, most of the locals already know and talk about kratom, but it is not the focus of attention like in the area where we plan to travel to the very next day, which is the island of Borneo. Specifically, we fly to the city of Pontianak, where we meet our partners immediately after landing. They wait for us in front of the main entrance of the airport and we get in their car and drive to their office.
After a few hours of meetings and a work dinner, we don't laze around, get into a 4x4 and set off at 6pm for a long night drive through the jungle. On the way we encounter the first problems. The road conditions in Borneo are more extreme than we are used to, which is why the partners are behind the wheel and not us. The cars drive in the left lane here and the road quality is worse than our third class road, it is more of a dirt road. In some places we even have to wade through water because it is the rainy season here and the water cannot seep into the already wet ground. Later we pass several trucks stuck off-road at the edges of the dense jungle. We ask the driver what happened to them. "They fell asleep at the wheel because they drove for more than 24 hours at a time," he replies. We have to make sure that he feels full of energy. After a while we drive off the road, the left rear wheel slams. However, it is not caused by tiredness, but by the very narrow road, which our car does not enter at the same time as an oncoming truck. We fall asleep. Hmm not quite as we will be driving for about 3 hours on an unpaved road full of potholes.
Around 8 o'clock in the morning we reach the town of Ketapang where we stop at a house where the main farmer's family lives. They prepared for us a local hearty breakfast consisting of rice, dried fish, a strange brown egg and various sprouts. It's all smothered in an incredibly hot chili sauce. We don't mind because we haven't slept and it's not our first meal of the day. Therefore, we don't have to worry that it will spoil our stomach. The whole family takes dozens of photos with us after breakfast and old grandma gives us a bag of food for the long journey ahead. We try to have a little discussion for a while, but the language barrier is big. Only the youngest farmer speaks English and only broken. We're still asking if the driver will sleep at her house so he'll freshen up for the return trip. They confirm it with a smile, he's not a robot after all and needs to sleep too. We get back in the car and drive an hour to the river, where two farmers are waiting for us in a wooden boat that resembles a larger canoe. Suddenly the driver also gets into the boat. Me and my colleague look at each other in horror and assure us that he will sleep on the farm later.
We go up by boat. The river is clayey in color and its delta is about three times the size of the Vltava River. The first wild kratom trees in the surrounding jungle can be seen from the boat. This shows us that we are closer to our destination. After the three-hour boat ride, we finally arrive at the farm and are happy despite our incredible tiredness.
Due to the increased river level, part of the farm is flooded and we have to get to the central drying room with a small wooden boat. We feel like royalty here as the farmers wade through the water and pull the boat with them so we don't get wet. In the central warehouse of this regional farm, the kratom leaves are prepared for drying and we check the quality of the process. At the time of our visit, Green Pure Kratom and Red Pure Kratom leaves were in the drying process. The green kratom leaves are washed and placed directly on drying racks for about 24 hours. The leaves for Red Kratom are washed and then tied together to allow the fermentation process to take place. During the drying process, these leaves don't get as much air and therefore get their red color.
We didn't see the preparation of leaves for white kratom this time. This process differs from green kratom in the drying time, with a longer time resulting in a lighter (paler) color in the end product. The drying time varies from species to species, but is usually more than two days. The different types of each color are then differentiated according to the location where the leaves are harvested. However, all farms are located within a radius of dozens of kilometers. It is not true that some kratom species come from other parts of the world as some sellers claim. Every farm has slightly different growing conditions, because of different tree ages or drying methods, the end products from farms are different and are called differently. The farmers must always ensure that each batch meets the standard to which you, our customers, are accustomed as much as possible.
After the control and a few photos in the drying room, we arrive at a small wooden boat to the next plantation. We are dry and being towed by a worker at the bow and one at the stern. We have to make our way through dense vegetation full of spiders and other vermin, it's not pleasant, but we're prepared.
We come to kratom trees where pickers show us the method of picking. First they climb up the tree almost to the crown. Then they start picking the fully developed leaves and place them in a large wicker basket. Gathering is time consuming for the pickers and quite inconvenient and we would say dangerous as the water in which the trees grow is the territory of crocodiles and many different snakes. The pickers are professionals and can determine the age of each tree. They also show us the different types of leaves and explain their uses. It seems like they gave each tree a name.
The farms here are only local and each has its main picker who only takes care of that farm. This is the only way to achieve the stable quality of individual batches (harvests). We're done picking and now let's go back to the drying room! On the way we pull out the fishing net that the farmers have laid out there to catch their lunch. “Mamma mia!” we say to ourselves, because instead of fish, the net is full of snakes squirming right next to the farmer's hands, who are holding it over his head. Hurry away, back to the drying room, so we're safe again!
When we're safely in the drying room, we'll take some final photos and shake hands with some of the workers. We know we won't be seeing you again for a long time. The driver, who was supposed to be sleeping, is obviously not asleep and the nervousness before the return trip, which is supposed to take place tonight, is increasing. We go back by boat.
Halfway we stop to enjoy lunch at a floating village. We feel like we belong in a large Indo-Asian farming family. We sit on the floor in the middle of the room and share in the feast typical of this area. We talk with hands and feet and sip tea made from freshly picked kratom leaves. We googled with a colleague over tea and came up with a plan to avoid driving at night with a tired driver. In the small town, which is not far from the village and where we had breakfast, there is an airport from where a small plane is supposed to fly to Pontianak. We explain to the farmer that we have to fly because of work matters (we don't want to offend him that we fear night driving). A few calls in Indonesian and he nods that everything is taken care of. We go by boat to the car!
We get to the airport 5 minutes before the scheduled departure and the icy calm of the locals makes us suspicious. At the airport they wave to us and we can board the plane without any controls. We say goodbye to the farmers and confirm tomorrow's meeting in Pontianak. We don't know how they will sleep when they have to drive all night again. In contrast to 14 hours by car, the 40-minute flight is incomparably pleasant. Upon arrival, partners pick us up and, due to our urgent need and tired eyes, drive us to the hotel where we fall asleep immediately.
The farm is behind us! We wake up very late and the farmers write to us that they will be with us around 12 o'clock. They come to pick us up at the hotel and they just seem a bit tired. Although they have just arrived after such a long journey, they don't show it at all. We head to the processing center where the dried kratom leaves are shipped straight from the farm. Transporting the leaves takes about two days of continuous travel plus a three-hour boat ride. The leaves arrive at the processing center packed in 20kg bags and are tipped into a tea mill. The leaves can be ground to different degrees of fineness and the farmer tells us what works best for kratom. For example, grinding as finely as possible is not recommended, as the leaves would become too hot and lose their active ingredients. So he chooses the second best option and the huge machine is set in motion. The grinding speed is really high and in no time a 20 kg bag is filled with beautiful green Green Pure Kratom.
Kratom ground in this way is then sieved to remove the remains of the leaf veins. The ground and sifted kratom goes through the UV procedure and is moved to the room where packages are prepared for expedition. Each new batch is tested in the same way as we did in the Czech Republic afterwards. The vacuumed bags of Kratom are shipped in 20kg crates to the port where they are loaded into a container and on their way to us (you) in Europe. A container can hold up to 25 tons of Kratom to give you an idea.
We've seen it all and we're glad the manufacturing process is being followed to the standards we've set ourselves. We finish the work duties with the whole team over a friendly dinner, where we discuss the future procedure. In the following days we did more meetings and also had the chance to taste local products and get inspiration.
For example, one of the products that we were able to taste is the drink Extra Joss, which we constantly had in mind during the trip. The driver, who managed an unbelievable 3-day effort without sleeping a wink, always prepared Extra Joss drink. It's an improved energy drink that we all know. In addition to caffeine, it also contains an extract of Asian ginseng, royal jelly and various other local herbs. We've provided a more modest amount for you to soak up some of the local (other than kratom) vibes. You can try it right HERE .
On our trip we also met other products from the Indonesian manufactory. When the farmer got a headache and couldn't stand the pain during the night drive to the farm, he took a mysterious product out of his pocket and smeared it on his head and forehead. At the time we asked what it was about, and the farmer stared at us in confusion that we didn't know anything familiar. It was about Minyak Angin and it is used, for example, to treat headaches. However, the locals also use it as a disinfectant or for itchy spots. We also brought some with us, in two variants. A spicy version (with chili) and a classic version with citrus fruits. So if any of you have a headache, HERE is your chance to try it.
We wanted to bring something back from the trip for all of you, our loyal customers, and we've been thinking about what it could be. While walking around Pontianak, we completely by accident came across an elderly woman with a child who were selling bracelets with lava stones that they had made themselves on the street. It immediately occurred to us that this might just be the right thing. Using the translation program, we arranged with them that they could make bracelets for us that will have something in common with Kratom. And we thought it up! The black lava stone symbolizes local volcanoes, a coral with a symbol of kratom seeds (it really looks like it) and an appendage with a leaf. They made exactly 500 pieces of bracelets in two days (250 for women and 250 for men - he has 2 more corals). So that we also made a charity, all profits from these bracelets are paid to the family who made the bracelets. We still felt a bit sorry for them because it can't be a hit parade selling stuff like that in a city with absolutely no tourists. If you want a bracelet straight from Kratom City, click HERE .
If the article has piqued your interest, you can also view the presentation with photos below.
Thank you for reading the whole report from our trip up to here! We value your trust and do it for you!