Sulawesi Coffee: Learn About Coffee in Sulawesi

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on January 22nd, 2023

Sulawesi coffee beans (are also known as one of the gems of the Pacific coffee-growing world. The coffee is hard to find, wild-grown, and very delicious.

In this review, you will learn why this coffee is the best.

Sulawesi Coffee

Discover the Unique Characteristics of Sulawesi Coffee

Sulawesi coffee is a rare type of coffee that is hard to come by yet highly sought after for its unique flavor profile and taste. It is so rare that it often has to be specially sourced, but when you do find it, you can expect a deep and brooding cup profile with muted fruit notes, rustic sweetness, and a heavy body.

Grown in the uplands of southeast Sulawesi, Toraja coffee has been cultivated since the Dutch settlers first brought it to the region in the 1700s. The wet-hulled processing and medium-dark roast brings out all of the characteristics you’d expect from a good Sulawesi coffee and allows the consumer to experience an increasingly profound and complex flavor.

Brewed properly, Sulawesi coffee will give you a unique caffeination experience with its heavy body, low acidity, and distinctive aromas. If you’re looking for something special to try out, Sulawesi coffee is certainly worth exploring!


History of coffee in Sulawesi

Sulawesi Island, formerly called Celebes by the Dutch colonial name, is part of Indonesia ‚Äď one of the top 5 coffee-growing countries in the world. Prior to the influx of coffee to Java in the 18th century, the island of Sulawesi did not have any native coffee plants.

However, during this period, Dutch colonists introduced coffee to Sulawesi and developed plantations on the island. Today, Sulawesi coffee is known for its light body and low acidity, making it an excellent option for those seeking a unique flavor profile.

Celebes is in the center of the archipelago. The former Island name and the city of Kalossi have lent their names from coffees grown there. Such names include; Sulawesi, Sulawesi Toraja, Celebes Kalossi, and so on.

The most well-known coffee-growing region in Sulawesi is Toraja, and coffees are processed using the traditional wet-hull method. As such, Sulawesi coffee is a delicious and unique single origin that continues to be a source of pride for local producers and consumers alike.

Sulawesi island is part of Indonesia, a top 5 coffee-growing country in the world. However, coffee growing in this region happened during the Malay Archipelago and is not native to the region.

The growing conditions of Sulawesi coffee

The high altitudes and ideal conditions of Toraja in South Sulawesi make it the perfect region for growing coffee. With a cool, comfortable climate at around 1,800 meters above sea level, farmers are able to produce a unique and flavorful bean.

The iron-rich soil is also beneficial to the crop, providing the necessary nutrients for a successful harvest. The area is also known for its lush plant and wildlife, adding another layer to the unique taste of this coffee. While less coffee is produced due to the small number of beans grown, this method allows for exceptional quality in every cup.

Sulawesi coffee farming regions


Sulawesi Toraja coffee is grown on the relatively high altitudes of the Island of Sulawesi (Celebes). The Island is in the middle of Indonesia’s Malay Archipelago. Coffee-growing regions include Kalossi, Mamasa, Enrekang, Gowa & Sinjal, and Utara.

Sulawesi green coffee processing

The processing and roasting of Sulawesi Coffee is an integral part of developing its unique flavor profile. Traditional Sulawesi coffees are processed using the wet-hull method, which is a fairly new process that has become popular in the country.

Chaff-free green coffee beans with a characteristic dark color are produced. Semi-dry processing results in uneven roasting, which affects the flavor of brewed coffee. The method produces coffee with a harsh, musty flavor or an earthiness that some people find pleasant or unpleasant.

This process removes the outer layer of the bean, known as the chaff, which exposes the inner layers and allows for a more even roast. The beans are then roasted to varying degrees of darkness to bring out the desired flavors.

Light roasts are preferred for their low acidity and creamy texture, while dark roasts bring out more intense flavor notes like baker’s chocolate and peat. Regardless of the roast level, Sulawesi coffee has a heavy body and low acidity, which makes it an ideal choice for those with sensitive stomachs.

The best Toraja coffee comes from small farms north of Toraja in high-altitude regions.

Sulawesi coffee brewing tips

coffee cherry

For the best-tasting Sulawesi coffee, ensure the roasters freshly grind it. Often, coffee sold on Amazon arrives in you weeks or months after roasting. As a result, it might have lost some taste and flavor.

Taste and aroma profile of Sulawesi coffee

The taste and aroma profile of Sulawesi coffee is quite unique, with its full-bodied, sweet, complex, and earthy flavors. These notes are complemented by the coffee’s light aroma, while the light roast taste throughout adds an extra layer of complexity. Expect to taste earthy chocolate, pungent fruit, aromatic wood, sweet tobacco, and musky flowers in each cup.

Tasting notes for Sulawesi Toraja coffee

Toraja coffee is low-toned with vibrant acidity. It is slightly more acidic with a smaller body than Sumatran coffees and earthlier than Java Arabica. Like Sumatran, Toraja coffee is deep and brooding, with fruit tones and rustic sweetness of intense, spicy quality. A dark roast amplifies the best Sulawesi coffee flavors. It is a high-quality coffee that is not used in many blends.

  • Aroma: nutty and chocolaty
  • Aftertaste: smooth finish
  • Taste: low to medium acidity, creamy, silky, heavy-bodied texture, overtimes of cinnamon, cardamom, and others. With hints of fruits and dark chocolate.

More Sulawesi coffee facts


Growing the coffee

Coffee is grown on high-elevated farms on small family plots of 6,000 ft above sea level. The beans are harvested late in spring and early mid-summer. These factors produce a very tasty, low-quality Sulawesi bean, which has a high demand in the international market.

The processing method

Sulawesi coffee is processed through the wet-hull method, which is popular in the region. However, the method is chosen due to high humidity and rainfall, making drying difficult.

Honorable mentions

There are many coffee-growing regions scattered throughout the Island, but only two standouts:

Sulawesi Toraja coffees grew around Toraja’s mountainous region, a high coffee-producing region of Sulawesi and Indonesia. It produces a highly unique and tasty coffee.

Sulawesi Kalossi coffee- is another popular coffee grown near the Toraja region. It is grown on the southern part of the Island, thus earning the name of the nearby city, Kalossi. It has low acidity, an earthy body, and a smooth finish.

What do these two regions have in common? Both are found in elevated areas of Sulawesi.

The current state of the Sulawesi coffee industry

Many farms are located on the highlands of the Island. Major coffee-growing regions include Toraja, Kalossi, and Mamasa. Mamasa produces the lowest quality of high-altitude beans.

The other regions produce lower-quality beans. Sulawesi is the biggest contributor to coffee production in Indonesia. Some challenges are encountered in growing, cultivating, and trading coffee from these regions.

Interesting Facts about the Sulawesi coffee industry

Coffee growing is not organized like in Rwanda or Kenya. Instead, farmers grow coffee haphazardly on small farms, and harvesting is not well managed.

Consumers must be keen on the region their Sulawesi coffee is coming from.

Sulawesi coffee’s impact on the local economy

The impact of Sulawesi coffee on the local economy is undeniable. Not only has the export value of coffee from Ujung Pandang Port increased, but the agroforestry system has generated an average annual yield of 269 kg/ha.

Furthermore, the push to develop a stronger cafe and coffee culture has allowed locals to connect with their local produce and enjoy the unique flavors of Sulawesi coffee. This success has also had a significant impact on global coffee production, as Java and Sumatra have been replaced by the name Sulawesi on many menus.

As the industry continues to grow, it is important that sustainable efforts are made to ensure that economic benefits are shared amongst supply chain actors for generations to come.

Sustainability efforts for Sulawesi coffee

Sustainability efforts for Sulawesi coffee are gaining traction, with initiatives such as Swisscontact’s Sustainable Cocoa Production Program (SCPP) in partnership with ADM Cocoa’s SERAP Program providing local farmers with training and resources to help improve their coffee production.

There is also a growing demand for organic coffee production methods, waste management, pest and disease management, and post-harvest processing techniques. Such sustainable practices can help ensure that the future of Sulawesi coffee production is secure and that the livelihoods of local farmers are maintained.

Benefits of buying genuine Sulawesi coffees from a reputable source


Originally, genuine Sulawesi coffee was grown in the mountainous Kalossi. The town was also the collection point for all coffee in the region. Over time, less superior coffees emerged from the southern part of this region.

As a result, coffee grown in the Malakaji Mountains is distinct in quality compared to coffee in original plantations. However, the coffees have similar physical characteristics, which makes it difficult for roasters to differentiate.

Coffee theft on farms is another problem. Ripe coffee beans are stripped of the trees and sold to roasters. This results in lower-grade beans that taste different. The coffee is of lower quality than from Sesean Mountains. Volcanica Sulawesi remains one of the highest grades.

High-grade coffees from Toraja are sold at higher prices. The lower quality and inferior beans are mixed and sold at lower prices. Ensure you buy Sulawesi coffee from a reputable company for the best grades.

The range of Sulawesi coffee delights coffee connoisseurs because of its unique flavor and taste. You should try it today and taste the feeling. 

Where to buy (Legitimate) Sulawesi beans

The coffee industry in Sulawesi is not well organized. Therefore, getting the best coffee bean supplier may be challenging. Nevertheless, here is a list of top Sulawesi beans suppliers you can buy from.

The Sulawesi beans are rich and flavorful, making them perfect for espresso. The espresso or the Moka pot produces the deep earthiness of flavors .

  • Volcanica Coffee

The company grows coffee on rich, volcanic soil. It is an excellent choice if you need freshly roasted Sulawesi coffee beans. The company focuses on obtaining the highest quality beans.

  • Coffee Bean Direct

Coffee Bean Direct is one of the best sources for Sulawesi Kalossi and Dark Sulawesi Kalossi Beans. You can choose a light roast-gentle flavor with high acidity or a dark roast with less acidity with more earthy flavors.

  • Sweet Maria‚Äôs

You can never go wrong with Sweet Maria’s if you are looking for beans to roast yourself. The company works closely with local farmers to get the highest quality green beans.

  • Joe‚Äôs Coffee House

You can consider the¬†Toraja¬†Sulawesi white Eagle coffee. It comes from the oldest plants on the Island. Beans are harvested and processed separately from other coffees hence considered the ‚ÄúCrown Jewel‚ÄĚ of the¬†Toraja¬†coffees.

How to brew Sulawesi coffee beans


The Sulawesi beans are rich and flavorful, making them perfect for espresso. The espresso or the Moka pot produces the deep earthiness of flavors .

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.