In the mid-18th Century, when Indonesia was still under Dutch occupation, the Dutch East India Company brought Arabica coffee plants to archipelago. The Dutch started by planting coffee around Batavia (Jakarta), and farther South, near Sukabumi and Bogor. Over time, coffee plantations spread to East Java, Central Java, West Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi.
Coffee grown in Sulawesi (which is sometimes still referred to by the Dutch name, Celebes) is mostly processed using the wet hulling method which is so popular in Sumatra. However, a small percentage of the coffees are fully washed. The most well known coffee growing region in Sulawesi is Toraja (sometimes referred to by the Dutch name, Kalossi), where coffee grows in the mountainous area near the center of the island – usually between 1,000 and 1,500 meters above sea level. The vast bulk of the coffee in the region is grown on smallholder plantations. The mountainous terrain, haphazard plantings, and often-limited application of fertilizers leads to a relatively low production per hectare.
Sulawesi coffee’s flavor profile tends to be fairly similar to the specialty grade wet hulled Sumatras popular in the North American market – bringing substantial body, hints of cedar and capsicum, and a unique sweet earthiness. Sulawesi’s profile differs from most Sumatras due to the Sulawesi’s (generally) slightly lighter body, smooth buttery mouth-feel, and a bit more fruit tone.