As the world’s third largest cocoa producer, Indonesia produces 849,875 tons of this precious product. 70% of it comes from Sulawesi in the Southern part of the island. This is where cocoa production is concentrated. The majority of the crop is produced by small farmers who still harvest, store and process cocoa in old traditional ways, without much technology and modern fertilizers.
Cocoa was brought to Indonesia in 1560 from the Philippines. The first type of cocoa planted here was called criollo, originating from Venezuela. In the 19th century, cocoa expansion efforts began in East and Central Java, side by side with coffee planting areas.
You can arrange a tour to one of the cocoa farms while you are in Sulawesi through local tour operators. There are also quite a few cocoa plantations in Java—a dozen in West Java, and several in Central and East Java. There is also the option of visiting a plantation and a chocolate factory in Batang, Central Java, or in the Kulon Progo area.
Cocoa is harvested all year round, but the main crop is harvested between September and December, and mid crop harvest falls from March to July.
When is the best time to witness cocoa harvest in Indonesia?
Cocoa harvests in Indonesia are best seen from September to December, with mid crop harvests occurring between March and July. While cocoa is harvested year-round, visiting a plantation in Sulawesi will allow you to observe the various stages of production. Show more
What is the origin of the cocoa planted in Indonesia?
Criollo cocoa, originally from Venezuela, was brought to Indonesia from the Philippines in 1560. In the 19th century, cocoa planting was introduced to East and Central Java, alongside the area's coffee planting areas. Show more
Where can I visit a cocoa plantation and a chocolate factory in Indonesia?
Cocoa plantations can be found in several locations throughout West Java, and a few in Central and East Java and Sulawesi. Tours of both a plantation and chocolate factory can be arranged in the Kulon Progo area and Batang, Central Java, or with the aid of local tour operators in Sulawesi. Show more
How do small farmers in Indonesia produce cocoa?
Small farmers in Indonesia cultivate the majority of the country's cocoa plants, using traditional methods to harvest, store, and process the cocoa. From handpicking ripe cocoa pods and splitting them open with machetes to sun-drying the beans, farmers avoid modern technologies and fertilizers in favor of age-old practices. Show more
What are the unique traditional ways of cocoa processing in Indonesia?
In Indonesia, cocoa beans are fermented with banana leaves for roughly five to seven days, then sun-dried to enhance and improve the flavor. This traditional method is still widely used and helps create the country's unique cocoa flavor profile. Show more