Regions and Coffees of Note for Single Origin Coffees in South America: Venezuela
As is the case for Brazil, a majority of the finest single origin coffees in Venezuela come through one port, which is why they earned a common name: Maraicaibos. There are three distinct types of this coffee that bear mentioning here.
Cucuta: Cucuta is another type of Venezuelan coffee that is shipped through Maracaibos that has not been mentioned here yet. It’s grown in northeastern Venezuela. Buying Cucuta can be a little tricky for seekers of single origin coffee because Cucuta is a market name and doesn’t necessarily refer to a single origin coffee, though it can be. It is believed by many that the best coffees come from western Venezuela (which borders Colombia), so be sure to read your Venezuelan coffees closely.
- Bean description: It varies, but the bean shares much of the color and flavor of the other coffee beans of eastern Venezuela – richness and a healthy balance of acidity.
Caracas: An entire class of coffees, which can mean the coffee is both potentially single origin…and potentially not. Be sure to watch for the grade of the coffee, looking for “Lavada Fino” which means “fine, washed.”
- Bean description: You roll the dice with Caracas if you’re not sure what the grade is; some of these beans, however, can produce very subtle and rich flavors that coffee connoisseurs would consider excellent.
Trujillo: Like Merida and Tachira, this type of coffee shares a port with Cucuta but comes from a different region of Venezuela that is believed to produce richer, more precise coffee flavors than does Cucuta. This coffee is grown in western Venezuela, which is where most single origin coffee seekers prefer their Venezuelan coffee to have been grown.
- Bean description: Sweet, slightly rich, acidity that is balanced against the flavor – very similar to a Colombian coffee.
Tachira: Speaking of beans close to a Colombian coffee, Tachira is perhaps Venezuela’s most Colombian-like production – and for many people, that’s a very good thing indeed.
- Bean description: Sweet and light, the flavors of this bean tend to be very easy on the palate and make for interesting espresso if you’re willing to give it a try.
Merida: You can tell Merida is a coffee grown in Venezuela as opposed to Colombia, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Merida’s own blend of uniquely sweet and light flavors make it distinguishable from the other Maracaibos coffees, and as a single origin coffee it is a sweet and unexpected surprise for many.
- Bean description: Different from Tachira but many people believe it’s just as good; the beans are grown in separate regions which makes for a slightly different body and acidic balance.