Venezuela is a country that is known around the world for its oil, beauty queens, and now the new young Venezuelan conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel. However, before the discovery of oil in the 1920’s, Venezuela had an agricultural economy, dependent mostly on coffee and cacao. In fact, until 1919, coffee production constituted Venezuela’s main economic activity.
Coffee was introduced in Venezuela from Martinique in 1730 by Spanish missionaries, in the Ciudad Guayana region. Approximately 70% of Venezuelan coffee is Arabica, considered the best variety of coffee.
Venezuela’s coffee plantations are located along the mountainous regions of the Andes Cordillera and the Coastal Cordillera, an area that stretches from the border with Colombia in Táchira state until Paria peninsula in Sucre state.
Venezuelan coffee does not resemble other South American coffees. Its smooth rich flavor allows it to be considered among “the best coffees in the world,” according to Philippe Jobin, a coffee expert that has dedicated at least 40 years of his life to coffee.
The discovery of oil transformed the nature of the country’s economy, which in turn affected the lives of all Venezuelans. Coffee price fluctuations coupled with increased real wages, higher production costs and higher land values have caused the decline of coffee production in Venezuela.
Since 1990 Arabica Coffee Company, Coupa Café’s roasting facility, has dedicated itself to rescuing the coffee tradition in Venezuela. The first step was to locate mountainous farms where Arabica coffee beans could be planted and grown in an ideal climate, with fertile soil and the best techniques.
Beginning with only 2 farms (known as fincas or haciendas), Coupa Café now works directly with 18 farms in a super fair trade fashion to obtain coffee beans for roasting. Working directly with the farms ensures that the farmers will receive super fair trade prices directly for their coffee production. The beans are hand collected and sun-dried on patios in the traditional way. Then they go through a second selection process, before roasting to guarantee the best cup of coffee. The coffee is roasted at the Coupa Café roasting facility in Caracas, packed immediately in vacuum sealed bags and sent on a weekly basis via DHL to our cafes in California. The entire process ensures the best quality, aroma and taste of Venezuelan single estate and Coupa blend coffee.