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Sulawesi Coffee: Learn About Coffee in Sulawesi, Small Island, Big in Coffee

Sulawesi Coffee

Sulawesi coffee beans (also known as Toraja) are 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.


Tasting notes for  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, 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.

Starbucks Sulawesi coffee

Sulawesi has been featured several times on the Whiskey Barrel-Aged Sulawesi reserved program by Starbucks. The green beans absorb flavor from whiskey barrels changing their flavor.

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

Toraja coffee is processed through the Giling Basah wet-hull method. Chaff-free green coffee beans are produced, and they have a distinct dark tint. The semi-dry processing causes uneven roasting, thus affecting the character of brewed coffee. The process results in coffee with a hard or musty taste or an earthiness that some people find pleasant or unpleasant.

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

Buying wholesale/ bulk Sulawesi coffee

Sulawesi is one of the rarest coffees. It is often compared with neighboring Sumatra or Bali coffees. When trying a new exotic coffee, buying smaller quantities that are freshly roasted is recommended.

Having a large quantity just sitting there will lose its flavor and quality. For instance, you can order a 50-lb. box, which is easy to ship. However, shipping a full bag of green coffee (132-lb./150-lb.) is quite costly. The shipping cost is cut if you order several bags of skid green coffee.

Wholesalers need a 1-2-month notification for smooth production and shipping of the green coffee.

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.

History of coffee in Sulawesi

Coffee growing in Sulawesi started a hundred years ago in Celebes. Coffee was organically grown. More organic certified Sulawesi coffee is beginning to show up in markets.

The background of Sulawesi coffee

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.

Coffee was first planted in Jakarta by the colonial Dutch in the 17th century, who thought they could create a booming business in the coffee-friendly climate. After successful experiments, growth was expanded to the vast Island of Sulawesi?

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.

What does this stuff taste like?

Sulawesi coffee is lighter and more acidic than other coffees from Archipelago. However, the Sulawesi is not overly light, acidic, and bright. Instead, it is dark, rich, strong and full of life. On the other hand, Sumatran coffee tends to be very full-bodied with low acidity.

Sulawesi Toraja coffee taste:

  • 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.

Other Sulawesi coffee factoids


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.

Sulawesi coffee in Starbucks and Trader Joe’s


Sulawesi has found its popularity in the mainstream. The Starbucks Reserve program on “Whiskey Barrel-Aged Sulawesi” was a huge success. In addition, the Trader Joe’s Sulawesi, a medium roast, was sold directly to Starbucks.

While it is not a “decent fancy coffee” in some high-end coffee shops, it made many taste buddy’s very happy.

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.

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.

How to roast Sulawesi coffee beans

Most roasters prefer the dark roast, which has earthy flavors. You can try medium roasts, which bring out different aspects of flavors and richness.

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.

  • Volcanica Coffee
Toraja Sulawesi White Eagle Coffee, Fair Trade, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounce
  • 100% Pure Toraja Sulawesi Coffee White Eagle that has a smooth flavor, a sweet aftertaste with a balanced acidity.
  • Sustainably source, Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance Certified to protect the farmers, wildlife and the environment.
  • Medium roasted whole beans allowing the true flavor characteristic to come through for a remarkable taste.
Sulawesi Coffee, Celebes Kalossi, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounce
  • 100% Pure Sulawesi Coffee, also known as Celebes Kalossi Coffee, with a heavy body and creamy texture.
  • The taste is a lighter version of the Sumatra Mandheling Coffee and is less pungent and less heavy for an amazing unique.
  • Medium roasted whole beans allowing the true flavor characteristic to come through for a remarkable taste.

The company grows coffee on the 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’s

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’s 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 “Crown Jewel” of the Toraja coffees.

Bringing that natural island taste to your brew


The rich, full-bodied, earthy coffee has captivated drinkers for many years. Hope you enjoyed the review and know where you can buy the beans.

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. 

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