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Intro by Evan Gilman
Sulawesi is different from the rest of Indonesia in many ways, but different still is PT Toarco Jaya. This joint Japanese and Indonesian venture established in 1976 by Key Coffee produces quality coffee that has made it a household name. My first visit to their processing facility in 2014 impressed me with the organization and attention to detail, and my second visit in 2019 evidenced improvements to what was already best of class.
Coffee is screened for defects at collection stations and at Toarco Jaya’s collection office just outside the Bolu Market in Rantepao. Accepted lots are transported to the milling facility. After hulling, density separation, screening, and hand-sorting, every 10kg of green coffee they receive is inspected for defects. After passing QC, each 5 bags are subject to another inspection of a distributed sample before cupping for flavor profile and consistency. It’s an incredibly rigorous system.
The traditional path for the coffee in this region is to be sold by volume at a regional market and resold by weight (or sometimes by volume again) at the giant Pasar Bolu market in Rantepao. This allows each person in the supply chain to receive payment immediately, but usually benefits the collectors the most, and scuttles some traceability. But some local players are following in the footsteps of Toarco Jaya, and are departing from tradition.
Toarco Jaya circumvents this process not only by growing coffee on their own Pedamaran Plantation which surrounds their processing facility, but also by sourcing coffee from trusted producers throughout the region and subjecting the offerings to strict quality control. While most of their coffee comes from these surrounding farms, their quality control is so stringent that they have made a name for themselves in specialty coffee by upholding these standards over the course of more than 40 years.
That is to say, you’re in good hands with this coffee. One of my favorite selections from Indonesia, Toarco Jaya shows the full potential of Indonesian coffee. Look for bright acidity, curiously clean tropical fruit notes, and a molasses sweetness at darker roast levels. A truly special coffee to behold!
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Toarco Jaya’s reputation has been built on indefatigable quality and unflagging consistency. Coffee from the organization is consistent and precision-processed year after year. This selection comes to us as a AA grade, with a 95% screen 19+ sort. It’s clean and pristine in prep, and well-dried and of about average density. Expect it to crave heat early in the roast.
Toarco Jaya is growing Jember, a hybrid cultivar known by a plethora of names, including S795 and Linie S (the “S” just stands for “selection”), and is fairly common in the South Pacific, but not really anywhere else. Jember is the name of a regency in East Java, and the location of a research station through which it was distributed, but the cultivar was developed in India. Breeders crossed Kent, the world’s first rust-resistant selection (spoiler alert, it’s not considered resistant anymore), with a hybrid called S228. Kent is a Typica plant, 100% arabica. S228 is a spontaneous hybrid of arabia and liberica, a tree that exhibits much larger leaf and seed size and is highly resistant to most diseases to which arabica is susceptible.
Evan also noted that folks in Indonesia credit a perceived superiority of coffee from the Toraja region of Sulawesi to a local plant type they call “Todolo” (apparently also the name of their religion). Its origins aren’t immediately apparent, while unconfirmed reports indicate similarities to Typica… except for a more tree-like appearance and the ability for the trees to remain productive for “hundreds of years.” We remain skeptical here, but if you have information don’t hesitate to reach out.
Roast Analysis by Alex Taylor
As soon as I weighed out my batches to roast this new arrival from PT Toarco Jaya, I knew I was in for a fun ride. This coffee is, simply put, huge. A quick chat with Evan confirmed my hunch that lots of heat would be the way to go, but for experimentation’s sake, I decided to completely disregard that advice for my first roast! Much like my plan for CJ1337, my goal here was to achieve two very different roasts, mostly by altering my heat application in the first half of the roast.
For my first roast, I started with low heat application and turned it up after about 45 seconds; I could already see that the coffee needed more heat! The middle of the roast was uneventful; I lowered the gas around 90 seconds into the second stage of the roast, and then again about 10 degrees before I was expecting first crack. I was concerned that the screen size and density of this coffee would make it stubborn in the roaster, but that absolutely was not the case. In fact, the coffee was more than happy to settle in at a low rate of rise immediately after first crack, making it easy to manipulate the post-crack-development time and end temperature.
My first roast went fine, but I definitely did get the impression – especially towards the beginning of the roast – that this coffee wanted more heat! So for my second roast, I gave it just that. I upped my charge temperature and started with a high heat application. The coffee seemed to thank me, and definitely looked less sluggish in the first stage of the roast. Much like my first roast, everything else was super smooth: the coffee responded to gas adjustments nicely and was easy to control at the end of the roast. Again, not exactly what I expected. This coffee is definitely a friendly giant!
On the cupping table, the first roast was pleasant, if a little flat. We found nice notes of grape, lime, honey, and various chocolates, but I think we all wanted a bit more out of this coffee. To be clear, this is exactly what I was expecting. This roast was probably about 20 seconds or so longer than it should have been, but I wanted to taste the difference in the two roasts. After all, the proof is in the pudding. The second roast was a huge improvement! The vague lime note from the first roast turned into a brighter lime zest accompanied by crisp apple notes. Here, the sugars presented more as brown sugar, caramel, and browned butter, and the coffee had a distinct baking spice finish, with notes of cardamom and cinnamon! The lesson here is simple: don’t be afraid of this friendly giant! Just give it what it wants, and you’ll walk away with a truly delicious coffee!
Quest M3s Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Quest roasts. Generally, I’ll allow the machine to warm up for 15 minutes until my environmental temperature reading is at least 250F, weigh out 150g batch size, and begin roasting when I’ve reached my desired charge temperature. Read my initial post here and my updated post here.
This late arrival from PT Toarco Jaya saved the best for last. Supergiant screen size and high density lend this coffee a good resistance to heat application, and a modest 10.8% moisture content makes this coffee remarkable for an Indonesian selection. And we haven’t even begun to talk about the flavor…
So anyway I started blasting. With the heat application that is. Starting at 11A and full fan speed from charge, I was able to move through Drying Phase quite quickly, directly into Maillard. Just before Maillard I cut heat application to 7.5A at 2:40 / 275F, and at 3:15 / 300F I dropped fan speed to 5. This allowed me to coast a bit through Maillard, though I did reduce heat again to 5A at 3:45 / 320F due to some good momentum.
I really wanted to move into First Crack at a low rate of rise, so to pull the coffee through First Crack while abating some heat, I returned fan speed to full at 5:30 / 370F. I was able to coast into First Crack easily with a very low rate of rise, and dropped the coffee at 391.7F after 1:21 of Post-Crack Development.
One of my favorite notes from this coffee is a deep berrylike flavor that’s a bit like blackcurrant. Maple syrup sweetness coupled with a savory and lemongrass top note make this coffee a curious one. One that keeps me coming back for sip after sip. I might recommend this coffee for single origin drip, though it definitely does well in full immersion, and I have had some very interesting espresso made from Toarco Jaya’s coffees. Choose your own adventure!
Brew Analysis by Alex Taylor
Much like I did for CJ1337, I whipped up 3 brews of this fun new coffee from Toarco Jaya. From my Probatino roast, a v60 and an Aeropress, as well as a pourover on the Stagg brewer made with Evan’s Quest roast.
Right off the bat, I was surprised at the TDS and extraction numbers this coffee was putting up. Yielding a 1.82TDS on a 1:15 pourover is not exactly an everyday occurance! So it’s worth noting that this coffee is what I’ve started calling an “easy-extracter”.
Unfortunately the high TDS seems to have led to the flavors getting a teensy bit muddled, and I did not have the presence of mind to dilute the brew a bit to open it up. So our tasting notes, particularly for the v60 brew were a little all over the map! Case in point, we tasted citrus, star fruit, green grape, lime, mango, stone fruit, red grape, red apple, orange, molasses, graham cracker, chocolate, honey, hazelnut, raisin, ginger, and cane sugar! And that was just in the v60!
This coffee clearly has a lot to offer, and packs a lot of complexity in the cup. If you’re not too picky and might enjoy finding a different tasting note in every sip, you’ll absolutely love this coffee! If you’re looking to isolate a more consistent flavor profile, fear not; with a little more dialing in and focus, this coffee falls into line nicely. I personally preferred the Aeropress of this coffee; it had a delicious balance between zest citrus acidity up front and a round chocolate-y finish that went on for days. There’s something for everyone in this coffee; try for yourself and you’ll see!