The Indonesian island of Sulawesi, formerly called the Celebes, lies to the north of Flores. The primary region for high altitude Arabica production is a mountainous area called Tana Toraja, at the central highlands of South Sulawesi. To the south of Toraja is the region of Enrekang. The capital of this region is Kalosi, which is a well-known brand of specialty coffee. The regions of Mamasa (to the west of Toraja) and Gowa (to the south of Kalosi), also produce Arabica, although they are less well known.
Unlike many of Indonesia’s islands, Sulawesi is geologically ancient, dating back more than 100 million years. This long history has resulted in soils with high iron content – thought to affect coffee flavor.
Sulawesi coffees are clean and sound in the cup. They generally display nutty or warm spice notes, like cinnamon or cardamom. Hints of black pepper are sometimes found. Their sweetness, as with most Indonesian coffees, is closely related to the body of the coffee. The aftertaste coats the palate on the finish and is smooth and soft.
Most of Sulewesi’s coffee is grown by small-holders, with about 5% coming from seven larger estates. The people of Tana Toraja build distinctively shaped houses and maintain ancient and complex rituals related to death and the afterlife. This respect for tradition is also found in way that small-holders process their coffee. Sulawesi farmers use a unique process called “wet hulling”.