Origins: Sulawesi


Overview

Altitude Range: 1,100 – 1,800m


Language Spoken: Sunda-Sulawesi


Annual Coffee Production: 154,000,00 lbs


Common Varieties: 95% Arabica: Typica, S795, Jember, 5% Robusta


Harvest: May - November


Avg Farm Size: Small Holders 

General Cup Profile

While wet-hulling is the traditional process in Sulawesi, the coffees we buy are actually fully washed in a processing facility strikingly similar to how washed coffee is processed in Central America. The resulting cup profile is one that has hints of its Indonesian heritage with slight herbaceousness, but clean, bright, and complex in a way that has most people not believing they are tasting an Indonesian coffee. 

Growing Regions

Tana Toraja

Located in the highlands of Southern Sulawesi, this region in Sulawesi has the highest altitude and best conditions for growing coffee.

Most of the Toraja population follows the Christian religion, as opposed to Indonesia’s Muslim majority. They’re known for their complex and lengthy traditional funerals were killing a bull is common. Torajans build their traditional tongkonan houses, with beautiful wood carvings on them.

Mamasa

Arabica is grown in this region, producing some of the best coffees in country.

Other Regions

Enrekang

Gowa & Sinajl

Sulawesi Utara  

Processing

Giling Basah method: wet-hulled and washed. 

Indonesia is known for its wet-hulling, or Giling Basah processing method. Most of Sulawesi still practices this type of processing, but there is also a segment who is washing their coffee like TOARCO.  

In 1976 TOARCO, a Japanese-Indonesian joint-venture, introduced the washed process to Sulawesi in the 1970s, when they saw the potential this coffee had, and thought Giling Basah was not letting the coffee reach its fullest potential. Their perspective is that Giling Basah masks a lot of the great attributes of the coffees, like acidity, sweetness, and more nuanced flavors; the added body from the process makes the cup generally less complex.

TOARCO purchases wet-parchment coffee (40% moisture) from small-producers, and processes the coffee in a similar manner to what we see in Central America, which is why this coffee is so immaculate. Small producers still use wooden depulpers, which are the first British designs from the early 1900s.

Production History

Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), was influenced and controlled by the Netherlands from 1605 until World War II. In 1669 the Dutch East India Company took control of the trade in Sulawesi. The Dutch built Fort Rotterdam in Ujung Pandang (now Makassar) in the mid 1600s, and not until 1905 they finally gained control of the whole island becoming part of the Dutch state colony of the Netherlands East Indies. The Dutch East India Company was in control of coffee production in Indonesia during most of the 1700s, and introduced Arabica coffee (Typica) to Sulawesi in 1750.

Most of the coffee produced in Tana Toraja is S795 variety, a Typica hybrid. This proves once again how important the variety translates in the cup. Indonesia has a great deal of Catimor, a Robusta-heavy hybrid, but Tana Toraja has kept high-quality varieties.

Many producers are looking at other more profitable crop options, like fruit. This has caused local coffee prices to climb year after year, and coffee production in certain areas is at risk of disappearing.

Looking Forward

We have created a strong partnership with PT TOARCO Jaya in Sulawesi, and have been able to access some of the highest-grown coffee they mill. We love to see the faces roasters make when they realize the coffee they thought was an African sample was indeed from Sulawesi. This coffee has been a game-changer for us. While the coffee is not inexpensive, the resulting cup is truly remarkable. Most recently we have been able to access microlot separations beyond their traditional separations by screen size AA, A, AB, and PB.

This is an excellent option to highlight as a single-origin espresso or filter on your menu.