Review: Sulawesi Old-Growth Typica

Sulawesi Old-Growth Typica Review

2018 Crop sourced from Tana Toraja region, southern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Coffee is from very old-growth Typica grown at 1600-1800 MASL, processed using a traditional wet-hull method. An interesting side note is that this coffee was dried to a lesser residual moisture content than most other Indonesians (about 12% vs 16% or more normally).

Coffee was cupped using SCAA protocols with 4 days rest. We sampled a dark (FC+) and a darker medium (FC) batch. Here is our comparison:

Overall, the Sulawesi presents as a cleaner version of a classic Indonesian coffee—less rustic complexity but with notes of bittering chocolate, savory herbs and pipe tobacco. The body is heavy but smooth. Finish seems cleaner with lingering bittersweet chocolate notes. I am wondering if the higher moisture content of the raw beans and the careful handling between the mill and me is responsible for the lesser degree of expected rustic complexity eg, less chance to pick up weird flavors from the environment.)

The Darker Medium roast is more herby, with a little tropical fruit and deep tobacco notes. I think it may suffer from lack of the “bass notes” that would come if the roast had developed further. In sum, it is not what you would expect from an Indo but if you like herbal tea, this might be down your alley.

The dark roast seems to be the sweet spot for the Sulawesi—dark bittersweet chocolate notes underlying pipe tobacco and a touch of licorice perhaps. It’s still definitely in the Sumatra family, but it just seems cleaner and less muddled. The aroma is intense and true to the taste.