Markets of Indonesia

By: Charlie Kodatt

After living in Indonesia for almost a decade, then returning to the US during COVID to support family, Toraja Mountain Coffee’s Chief Coffee Officer Charlie Kodatt recently returned to the place where our story starts.

This is the third part of his journey back to the mountaintop farms in Toraja - arriving in Bali.

There are traditional markets every one to two kilometers in Indonesia.

Inside, you’ll find almost every type of fruit and vegetable grown in Indonesia. For most people on their first visit, it's like going to Willy Wonka Chocolate factory. Your eyes get so big with the new experience, and you want to try everything. 

Indonesia market worker sorting fruit

It feels like there’s something magic in the ecosystem here that makes wonderful things sprout up from there ground. 

And up in the mountains of Toraja, there are what I call The Four Elements of Toraja Mountain Coffee and what no one else can replicate:

  • Location
  • Soil
  • Elevation
  • Surrounding Fruit Trees

A lot more details will be coming later about this. But for now, the last element relates most to the markets of Bali. Because, the surrounding environment has an immediate impact on the taste of our coffee. 

For example, people will say, “Wow, your coffee has a taste similar to chocolate, with some nut flavors and hints of sweet fruit.”

Why is this?  

Our coffee is grown wild, naturally - mixed in with other plant trees such as durian, rambutan, jackfruit, cocoa trees, vanilla and other spices. Since these are grown side-by-side with our coffee trees, the notes and hints of flavor are absorbed into the roots.

This is why our coffee is so special. As a farmer, I have yet to see wild coffee grown in the midst of other fruit trees. Most coffee farms are pre-determined in design for profit. You will see row and rows of planted coffee trees all with the same engineered distance between each other.  There’s an 8-10ft wide road between each engineered row of coffee trees for a combine to scrap the trees.

Here in Toraja, it’s just the opposite. We layer fruit trees that create a unique profile and provide just the right amount of shade, allowing a slower, more stabilized growth to enhance the cherry sugars. 

It's as if coffee here is born with a purpose. Not artificially created like in other areas of the world.

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