Tana Toraja Coffee

Coffee Stall
Coffee on sale in a Rantepao market.

Everywhere you go in Tana Toraja, in the mountains of central Sulawesi, you'll run into coffee. As you travel around the countryside, you'll see coffee, and cocoa, trees planted around the traditional houses in most villages. There was a time, back in the late 1960s, when Toraja was one of the world's leading coffee exporters. While true Torajan coffee is still considered one of the best, many of the farmers haven't kept up with the higher expectations of today's market, so the total output is not what it was.

Still, there's a long tradition of drinking coffee among the local residents, so you'll find coffee sold in the markets of Rantepao and Makale. The coffee is often pan roasted in a large wok, and then ground for you at the market. Like most of Indonesia, coffee is finely ground to a powder and then simply spooned into hot water. They don't use filters, and certainly not espresso machines.