Brian Beyke

Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters - Sulawesi Tana Toraja Djember

Brian Beyke

As I mentioned previously in my home roasting notes and in the review of Square One’s Sulawesi, I was wanting to keep trying other roasters’ offerings.  I was deciding between two offerings and went with Tana Toraja Djember from Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters.  Wrecking Ball is home to Nick Cho, renown Kalita Wave brewmaster who’s ability to add background music to his youtube videos is as revered as the brewing itself.  With that unnecessary set up - Let’s dive into the coffee.



Roaster: Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters

Origin: Tana Toraja

Process:  Dry-hulled

Varieties: Djember

Elevation: 1,500m

Brew Method:

Chemex | 44g © to 660g (w) | 5:05 total time | 205 degrees

Dry aroma of butter, slightly toasted cream like browning marshmallows.

Wet aroma a little more clean of a soil, slightly vegetal.

Nose of the cup smells of brown sugar.

The initial sips are very clean, big, with baker’s spice and lingering earthiness in the long finish.  Rear of the mouth lemon acidity.  Fruit notes seemed to be a little muted. There is a slightly drying malty mouthfeel but hitting on some cacao nibs and savory elements as well.

As it cools I can notice again soft notes of cream in the finish that I picked up in the dry aroma.

It’s a little more earthy or herbal in the middle, but pleasantly so.  A little more density comes to the cup, but still has that drying aftertaste.

Lemon notes seem to pop a little more, but I’m not inclined to say it’s a lemon tea flavor when there is still a slight ashiness and spiciness of coffee rather than tea.  Lemon acidity still present in the cup until the very end.

In the final sips I find a faint peppery earthiness similar to Sumatran coffees, but it isn’t overpowering.

Clean, spicy, citrus.


Brew Method:

Siphon | 26g © to 364g (w) | 1:50 pull heat - 2:46 total time  | 200 degrees

Clean tasting and deep but very narrow in the mouth.  Rear tongue lemon acidity and citrus notes.  Also a maltiness similar to in the Chemex.

Actually, there isn’t much flavor change compared to the Chemex but rather a completely different mouthfeel change.

Every sip you take grows wider, it’s pretty neat.  

A mid-cup creaminess comes in - not just in the mouthfeel but flavor as well.

Smokey, full flavor, spicy.


Brew Method:

Woodneck | 34g © to 480g (w) | 4:30 total time | 202 degrees 

The method has been the sweetest cup so far.

Melon and stone fruit notes open the cup with a strong creamy body and smokey finish.  Lemon acidity still there but more around the sides of the mouth.

Body gets a bit more juicy as it cools, but also a little more smokey.  There are some floral notes hidden there in the finish among dense buttered toast, dark cherries, and citrus.

The finish starts to dry up a but more, but also more sweetness comes out.  

By the end of the cup you have a sweet, deep, drying melon and citrus finish with a little spiciness and pleasing acidity the whole way through.

Melon, dense, juicy, spicy.


Brew Method:

Clever | 34g © to 493g (w) | 3:35 then drop | 204 degrees

This method was almost a cross between the woodneck and other devices as far as notes being pulled out.  It had the juiciness of the woodneck, but was smokey like the other immersion methods.

Not as noticeable melon- maybe honeydew or melon once you meet the rind, but the stone fruit notes are still there.  Still spicy cup and the smokiness as well, but not as much as the siphon.

It is still a heavier cup overall but a narrow body with the rear mouth acidity.

Juicy, smoky, full-bodied.


Brew Method:

Kalita Wave | 40g © to 552g (w) | 3:40 end time | 202 degrees (preferred method)

Everything I have learned about brewing on the Kalita Wave has come from Nick Cho.  My recipe I use came from the video I linked in the beginning of the article. It seems only fitting that using his method and a coffee his company offers is a match made in heaven.

Wow.  This cup is overflowing with flavor.

Peach, plum, black cherry, cranberry fruits welcome me to the cup, carried by honey down the tongue, melon pops all around the mouth, and a little spice to seal the deal.

There is a crisp green apple acidity mid mouth with a proper balance of spice in the finish of a clean and creamy cup.

It only grows sweeter as it cools, with floral widening all over the mouth and crystalized honey sweetness, with the spice mellowing but never leaving.  Most similar to the Woodneck, which was my preferred method until making on here.  Both do this coffee really well.

Fruity, juicy, complex, spice.


I had a lot of fun with this offering.  As it aged you got a little more sweetness out of the coffee, but it even gave you a lot of diversity just by the way you prepare the coffee.  It is a strong coffee that can be appreciated by specialty coffee drinking pros, or by your parents… or your specialty coffee drinking pro parents.  

It should be noted that this had a different roast profile than where my first roast of it was and also where Square One’s offering of it was, if that wasn’t indicated already by the review.  However, I can’t say that any one was better than the other.  All I can say, is Wrecking Ball makes a sophisticated and all around pleasing Sulawesi.  

I can appreciate all the offerings I’ve had of the coffee so far, and it only makes me like the region of Sulawesi that much more for it.  A great coffee that can be explored and enjoyed at several different stages of the roast.  

Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.