Our Sulawesi (Celebes) Kalossi Toraja comes from within the Sesean Mountains in the southern Tana Toraja and North Toraja Regencies of this massive Indonesian island province. Farmers here have many conditions suitable for arabica, including volcanic soil, and thick forestation that protects coffee plants and maintains moisture. The area is a main production center of arabica, where a number of small family farms grow and process their own typica and catimor cherries, and use the traditional wet hulled or semi-washed processing method before handing them off to local community collectors. As is tradition throughout Sulawesi and Sumatra, the collectors then transport the harvest to a central dry mill for final preparation, sorting and ultimately exportation. Kalossi is the name given to the nearby market town, where coffee exchanges and trade have historically been done.
Formerly known as a Celebes or Dutch Celebes, the island was governed as a colonial property of the Dutch East Indies up until 1945 when Indonesia declared its independence. The Dutch originally captured Celebes from Portuguese settlers in the mid 1600s, but it is disputed whether the Celebes etymology is either Dutch or Portuguese in origin.
Sulawesi is itself comprised of four interconnected finger peninsulas that form a uniquely shaped landmass, with high active volcanic peaks to the north and plentiful resources for arabica production. The Toraja Regencies are located on the South Sulawesi province/peninsula, where coffee plants are often seen growing wild throughout the rugged hillsides. Sulawesi is one of the main islands within the Republic of Indonesia, and considered part of the Greater Sunda grouping of Indonesian islands which includes Borneo, Sumatra and Java. Geographically Sulawesi lies directly west of Borneo, north of Java and east of Maluku and New Guinea. Overall it is the 11th largest island in the world with some 67,000 square miles of land that were formed from centuries of volcanic activity. Incredibly the highest peak on the island reaches a height of over 11,000 feet!
When it comes to flavor profile, processing is paramount, and one of the main differences between Sulawesi and other origins is just that–—Sulawesi (and Sumatran) growers are the world’s exclusive practitioners of the Semi-Washed / Wet Hulled (or Giling Basah) process. A chief characteristic of the process is the moisture content of the parchment at the point of sale – Washed or Wet Process coffees (which are the most common throughout the world) are pulped, fermented, washed and dried in the parchment until moisture content is reduced to approximately 10-12%, which typically takes about 12-24 hours. Conversely Semi-Washed coffees are pulped and dried for only a handful of hours until moisture is somewhere between 25 and 50%. At this point the parchment layer is still intact along with a good portion of the mucilage, causing the beans to be gummy and sticky if not outright slimy to the touch. With regards to flavor, the extra mucilage profoundly alters the cup profile by providing more sweetness and even body. In effect this makes the semi-washed process a sort of mid way point between washed coffees and naturals.
In yet another departure from convention, the drying of semi-washed parchment occurs on natural clay or dirt patios where the beans freely absorb the characteristics and minerality of the soil, which in turn contributes greatly to the classic, earthy profile of the semi-washed. Moreover semi-washed beans appear to have a blueish hue and frequently curly shape when compared to other types of green, due to their unique processing and elevated moisture content. Sulawesi and Sumatra farmers traditionally sell their lots to local collectors who handle storage and shipment to the dry mill where the coffee is ultimately stripped of hull and parchment before being sorted and exported. In this way the farmers are able to receive payment for their crop much more quickly than if they were to use the more typical and time intensive washed/wet process.
|Producer:||Small farms in the Toraja region|
|Variety:||Typica hybrids & Catimor|
|Processing:||Wet hulled (Semi - Washed)|
|Altitude:||3,500 – 6,200 ft (1100-1900m)|