This is a traditional fruit-dried “natural” coffee from Bolokan Valley in Tana Toraja region, on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia produced by farmers organized around Rantekarua Estate managed by PT Sulotco Jaya Abadi. It is certified organic.
The flavor profile is fruit forward with prominent grape candy sweetness, a solid underlying dark chocolate structural component, and hints of spice and herb including marjoram and a bit of peppercorn if taken slightly darker in the roast.
Our roasters found the coffee performed best at lower charge temperatures with a gentle heat approach, especially in later stages.
When brewed as a pour-over, lighter roasts produced elegant cups with fast extraction profiles. It’s also premiering as an espresso at The Crown – swing by if you’re in the neighborhood and give it a try!
Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman
This exquisite fruit-dried Sulawesi coffee is a delightful example of how precision processing can result in unprecedented flavor profiles. The coffee highlights both the fruit-forward nature of coffees dried in the whole fruit, while maintaining an elegant homage to the origin and terroir wherein it was grown.
While rich, dark chocolate notes were among the most common in our various tastings, don’t necessarily expect a straightforward or simple tasting experience. Our experiences were varied based on innumerable tastings on various brew methods including cupping, pour-over, and espresso extraction and yielded some really remarkable results.
Grape candy, watermelon candy, strawberry candy, sweet cherry, and blueberry preserves are among the iconoclastic “natural” coffee flavors resulting from the fruit-dried processing. The frequency of sweetness and candy in our observations should give you a pretty good indication of the inherent sweetness we frequently perceived.
Complimentary flavors of persimmon, nutmeg, pine, black peppercorn, and Greek yogurt hint at the unique origins of the flavors bound up in cultivars, microregion, and climate.
This is a slightly wild and highly rewarding coffee with historical roots and novel approaches all brought together by such interesting and thought provoking flavors. While credit is due to so many hands, it’s worth acknowledging Evan Gilman’s patient and methodical sourcing and guidance which brought this coffee to our attention and put the wheels in motion for its inclusion in our Crown Jewel lineup.
Source Analysis by Evan Gilman
When the Dutch first brought coffee to Indonesia it was cultivated on large estates that would later become government owned after independence. The estate that occupied this land previously was built before 1928 by a certain H.J. Stock Van Dykk, and abandoned sometime during the advent of Indonesian independence (1945-1949). The Rantekarua Estate, located in the Bittuang district of Tana Toraja Regency, South Sulawesi province on the island of Sulawesi, remained mostly abandoned until Samuel Karundeng, the current Director at the mill, found the old Dutch house and coffee trees at the site in 1986. Subsequently, the government gave cultivation rights to PT Sulotco Jaya Abadi in 1987.
Since that time, the 3000-acre estate has undergone substantial renovation and become a beacon of innovation particularly in matters of land conservation. More than 500 acres have been converted into natural forest and coffee cultivation is managed with organic inputs. Manure from more than 2000 sheep grazing on the estate, and provided to local smallholders, is used as a major source of organic fertilizer. Further, Sulotco has become the site of testing for various coffee variety trials, where standout cultivars will be chosen for introduction around the estate and provided to local farmers through their nursery system. What was once overgrown and abandoned is now one of the region’s most notable coffee production facilities.
Contrary to popular belief, the original processing method for coffee throughout Indonesia, including Sulawesi, was the fully washed processing introduced by the Dutch. This makes wet hulling a uniquely Indonesian processing method, and dry processing a very new exploration for coffee producers across this archipelagic nation.
During the harvest, cherries are picked and transported to the Sulotco processing facility in the Bolokan valley. There, the cherries are floated for selection and washed. After washing, the coffee is moved to covered, raised beds and dried in successively thicker piles as the drying process proceeds. After a period of 20 days or more the internal moisture reaches 11 percent, a moisture percentage acceptable for export. The coffee is then rested as dried pods in containers for a few weeks more before hulling in order to ensure proper distribution of moisture throughout the mass of coffee. The resulting coffee is hulled and packaged for export at what we have found to be remarkably steady numbers for both moisture content and water activity. At Sulotco, all drying is done on raised beds with covers, ensuring consistent and reliable drying practices, something incredibly important for a fruit-dried coffee like this one.
With Indonesian coffees, half the battle is overcoming logistical challenges like rugged roads and unpredictable torrents of rain. The integrated process from the estate to export provides a tremendous advantage in managing quality and traceability. Sulotco’s management team is also to be credited for running a tight ship and moving coffee through what can be an incredibly demanding supply chain. In particular, Pak Immanuel for Production, Pak Darlan and Agnes Briliana for Quality Control, and Yenny Tanri for Export Management, should all be recognized for their efforts!
These efforts have paid off, as well; Sulotco placed #12 in the Inaugural Indonesia Cup of Excellence 2021 with their washed coffee. We are looking forward to seeing Sulotco rise to even greater heights in the coming years.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Green coffee as aromatic as this could only be the result of something special. Exceptional drying and processing here have given us a great looking coffee with solid moisture figures and large screen size. Its density is a little on the low end, so use caution with heat application during roasting.
The green is a fun mix of classic Indonesian cultivars. There is of course some Catimor – the baseline crosspollination of Caturra and Timor Hybrid (arabica/robusta) bred for disease resistance. There’s also a bit of legacy Typica here, genetic stock descended from the very first coffee brought to the Pacific. And lastly the oddball S-795, also known as Jember, which is Indian-developed disease resistant hybrid which incorporates some genetic material from a spontaneous liberica-arabica hybrid.
Loring S15 Falcon Analysis roast by Doris Garrido, written by Chris Kornman
Confession: I blew this roast on our Diedrich, and blew it bad. I misread the green specs and thought I was working with a pretty dense coffee, gave it a ton of heat early on and really regretted it later. The coffee came out a bit dark and with a persistent peppercorn note. Having loved the coffee in early trials and selecting it for an espresso option at The Crown, that roast would simply not do.
Fortunately, Doris came in with a plan on production day, using an older Loring profile for a natural Ethiopia we discussed using a lower-than-usual charge temperature and really letting the end of the roast stretch without overdeveloping the color after first crack.
With a full 25-lb batch in the 33-lb capacity roaster (this is our in-house maximum batch size for good quality roasts), Doris would need plenty of heat early to compensate for the lower charge temp (relatively speaking, for a big batch). Don’t misinterpret this, however, as an endorsement to blast the coffee if it doesn’t need it. I found this out all too easily.
Instead, by giving the full batch a full dose of heat early, Doris was able to incrementally reduce heat beginning just a minute after Color Change, and extend the Maillard Reactions by a significant amount, over 50% of the total roast time, coasting at sub-20/min ROR well before first crack began. And once it did, she stuck with the plan, dropping the gas to its minimum setting and letting the coffee gently glide into a light, clean, fruit-forward espresso roast.
On the cupping table, berrylike and jammy flavors were dominant, with plenty of characteristic herbal nuance in the background and sweet candy-like finish. This is a great example of a natural process coffee, one that celebrates the fruit flavors while not overpowering the idiosyncratic flavors of terroir.
Take it easy on the coffee, particularly during Maillard and Post-crack development – give it time but not too much heat – and you’ll be well rewarded in the cup.
Aillio Bullet R1
Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, we use both the roast.world site and Artisan software to document our roasts on the Bullet. You can find our roast documentation below, by searching on roast.world, or by clicking on the Artisan links below.
Generally, we have good results starting our 500g roasts with 428F preheating, P6 power, F2 fan, and d6 drum speed. Take a look at our roast profiles below, as they are constantly changing!
Roasting and drinking this coffee is the culmination of nearly 8 years of my work in the coffee industry. My first visit to Sulotco was in 2014 on an independent trip, where I saw their plans for beginning to process natural coffee. Their coffee was phenomenal even at that time, but alas, we were too late and it was already pre-sold. My next visit was with the Consulate General of Indonesia in San Francisco in 2019, just before the pandemic. We were able to visit a few different production areas in Sulawesi, and Sulotco impressed again. After getting samples of their coffee over the previous four years of working with Royal, I was still absolutely convinced that our customers would love this coffee. We got the coffee, it made it through the supply chain madness of 2021, and now it’s here in my cup, its light and easy flavors not showing a trace of the heavy history behind its journey!
There is no standard for fruit-dried/natural coffees from Indonesia since the process is so new, but Sulotco has followed some very rigorous standards, and clearly researched the process well over the past 8 years. We waited an extra 3 weeks for Sulotco to dry this lot to perfection under cover during an unseasonably rainy year in Toraja; waiting was a good choice.
I started this roast off with P6 power, F2 fan, and d6 drum speed like usual, ramping up to P8 and damping down to F1 at turning point. I did want to hit this one with a lot of heat to get through drying stage quickly. This coffee really took off, and I ended up reducing heat to P7 and increasing fan to F2 just after yellowing at about 330F. I again reduced heat and increased fan at about 365F, to P6 and F3 respectively. RoR was declining nicely until that point, but it continued steady afterwards despite my adjustments. Increasing fan speed to F4 before first crack didn’t have too much effect, and first crack was very late at about 400F! This resulted in a higher drop temperature (408F) and less post-crack development than I would have liked (7%). This is one of my shortest roasts lately, as well, which I was quite enthusiastic about. Do take into effect that in order to get really bright fruit notes from this coffee, you may have to consider dropping very shortly after crack!
The cup here was anything but disappointing – this may be my favorite roast in recent memory despite some of the wacky metrics you see here. Huge ripe jackfruit flavor, syrupy strawberry, and a clean and refreshing tart aftertaste really had me coming back for more sips. This isn’t a pulpy or balsamic sort of natural coffee – only the clean fruits come through here. The attention in drying and curing this coffee really shines through, and I couldn’t be happier with this roast despite the lack of post-crack development. Certainly an afternoon coffee, but one for the books! Delectable.
You can find my profile for this coffee here, on roast.world: https://roast.world/@egilman/roasts/9PYcNudsOcbAu7LjIKY0I
Ikawa Pro V3
Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Chris Kornman
Our Ikawa roasting and cupping this week yielded some predictable results, as roast profiles which tend to produce good results on lower density and natural process coffees had good success with this fruit-dried Sulawesi.
Our Maillard +30 profile, which is a slight extension of a faster sample roast, yielded a slightly thin but enjoyable cup with notes of plum, a nice bright acidity, and dark chocolate flavors. The viscosity seemed to improve as it cooled.
The Low Airflow profile, designed for lower density coffees like this, produced a fuller bodied cup with strong grape notes, a hint of funk, but excellent juiciness. In the roast chart you can see a brief blip in the temperature after color change was marked. This is a result of the beans very briefly slowing down over the fan. In this case it didn’t seem to adversely affect the end product.
You can roast your own version by downloading the Ikawa profile here:
Roast 1: Crown Maillard +30 sr
Roast 2: Crown 7m SR LowAF 2
Brew Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
This is the first coffee from Sulawesi I’ve had the opportunity to perform a brew analysis on, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I did try a sample a few weeks previous and was impressed by its clean fruitiness! We are planning to present this coffee as an espresso at the Tasting Room of the Crown, and on pour-over I discovered that it had some unusual flavor characteristics that changed a lot depending on how it was prepared.
I reached for the Hario V60 and the Kalita Wave, two quite different pour-over devices in order to vary extraction and brew time. On the V60, this coffee brewed through at a fairly quick 3:10, with a TDS of 1.3 and an extraction of 19.05%. Right on target! In the cup, we tasted notes of Braeburn apple, blueberry preserves, persimmon, and grape candy, with marshmallow sweetness, and a heavy finish like dark chocolate, almond, and vanilla ice cream. This was a complex cup that became sweeter and more well-balanced as it cooled.
On Kalita, it brewed through even faster at 2:45, but showed a higher TDS and extraction of 1.34 and 19.65%. In the cup we tasted a more immediately chocolate forward cup, with notes of milk chocolate, toasted marshmallow, raisin, and vanilla, as well as juicy notes of watermelon candy, orange, maraschino cherry, concord grape, and an interesting cinnamon note, with a sweet brown sugar finish. I actually liked both of these brews a lot, so I’d recommend a flat bed brewer like the Kalita if you want to punch up those intense chocolate notes, and I’d recommend the conical dripper for more juicy, ripe fruit notes.