Coffee Origins: Venezuela

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter
Coffee Origins Venezuela
Coffee Origins: Venezuela – In roughly 1730, a Jesuit priest called José Gumilla is credited with introducing coffee to Venezuela. Venezuela became recognized for its slave-run tobacco and cocoa plantations, and there is evidence of significant coffee plantations dating back to around 1793.

Coffee Origins Venezuela

From around 1800, coffee took an increasingly important role in the economy. During the Venezuelan War of Independence, from 1811 to 1823, cacao production began to drop, but coffee production surged.

The first boom in the country’s coffee industry occurred between 1830 and 1855 when Venezuela produced around one-third of the world’s coffee.

Coffee grew in production, peaking in 1919 with a total export of 1.37 million bags. Coffee and cacao accounted for 75 percent of the country’s export revenue. Most of the coffee went to the United States.

Venezuela’s economy became increasingly reliant on petroleum in the 1920s, even though coffee remained a lucrative source of cash.

Until prices fell in the 1930s, much of the revenue was spent on national infrastructure, and the production and processing facilities suffered. During this time, the coffee industry began privatizing, depriving peasants of most of their ability to grow their coffee on public land.

Since this period, the nation has been fundamentally dependent on petroleum products and other mineral exports. Coffee production and exports had remained relatively high, with Venezuela nearly matching the output of Colombia, but that changed under Hugo Chávez.

In 2003, the government introduced strict regulations on coffee production, which meant the country increasingly had to rely on imports for domestic consumption, mainly from Nicaragua and Brazil. Venezuela exported 479,000 bags of coffee in 1992/1993, and this dropped again to 19,000 in 2009/2010.

Government-fixed sales prices have been considerably below the cost of production, which has inevitably damaged the industry. Few can predict how the situation will change after Chávez’s death.

Coffee Origins Venezuela
Though Venezuelan coffee production was strong in the early 20th century, crops are increasingly rare and have suffered from political resistance and poor remuneration for farmers.


Because the country exports so little coffee, finding high-quality Venezuelan coffee is uncommon. While some coffees should be able to be traced back to individual estates, it is more frequent to find coffees identified by their area designations.

In general, due to the low altitude and lack of focus on cup quality, I would only advocate sampling Venezuelan coffees if they were provided by a roaster whose coffees you appreciate and trust.


The better coffees from Venezuela are pretty sweet, slightly low in acidity, and relatively rich in mouthfeel and texture.


Population: 31,775,000

Number of 60kg (132lb) bags in 2016: 400,000

Coffees from Venezuela are currently quite rare. There are hopes that this may change, but it seems unlikely in the short term.


This region produces a large percentage of the country’s coffee. It is easier to export grades marked with the name of the state in which they were created, such as Táchira, Mérida, or Zulia, rather than the region. Some people compare coffees from this region and those from neighboring Colombia.

Altitude: 1,000–1,200m (3,300–3,900ft)

Harvest: September–March

Varieties: Typica, Bourbon, Mundo Novo, Caturra


This region contains the states of Portuguesa and Lara, some of the primary coffee-producing areas of the country, as well as Falcón and Yaracuy.

The best coffees are considered to come from this region, which is relatively close to the Colombian border. These coffees are called Maracaibo, named for the port from which they are exported.

Altitude: 1,000–1,200m (3,300–3,900ft)

Harvest: September–March

Varieties: Typica, Bourbon, Mundo Novo, Caturra


In this region, the states of Aragua, Carabobo, the Federal Dependencies, Miranda, Cojedes, and Guárico produce a tiny portion of Venezuela’s output.

Altitude: 1,000–1,200m (3,300–3,900ft)

Harvest: September–March Varieties: Typica, Bourbon, Mundo Novo, Caturra


Sucre, Monagas, Anzoátegui, and Bolvar are the states that make up this region. This region produces a kind of coffee known as Caracas, which can be found on occasion.

Altitude: 1,000–1,200m (3,300–3,900ft)

Harvest: September–March

Varieties: Typica, Bourbon, Mundo Novo, Caturra

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