The regional competition crowned two champions in Miranda State and Capital District.
BY YKER VALERIO
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo by Anna Alzola (@AnnaAlzola on Instagram)
In September, the Venezuela AeroPress Championship took place in Caracas without regional competitions, and the Barista Coffee Fest took place in Maracaibo. Both events had high standards, qualified judges, and strict rules. At the same time, the Venezuela Brewers Cup started calling competitors to register for the first national competition, since COVID-19 had halted the pace of coffee events and competitions in Venezuela, which had been growing steadily for the past five years. The first edition of this two-part championship took place November 28-29.
Strengthening the Local Coffee Value Chain
Darveris Rivas, Q Grader and coffee scientist, was one of the competition’s judges. According to Darveris, the Venezuela Brewers Cup competition helps boost the coffee value chain, highlighting the importance of all the actors involved in serving high-quality coffee.
It also highlights the importance of coffee producers by demanding that all participants can provide traceable coffee beans. Terroirs, varietals, and processing methods played a significant role in baristas’ preparation and the results.
Winners brewed natural and honey processed coffee beans, respectively, but we will see in the forthcoming months in other regional competitions if this becomes a trend. All the judges expressed their satisfaction with the enthusiasm, camaraderie, and professionalism that all competitors displayed during the championship.
Several coffee producers, roasters, and important brands in Venezuela’s coffee and HoReCa industry sponsored the championship.
Caripe and Mérida: Exquisite Terroirs and Coffee Culture
Hacienda Trono de Dioses and Trinidad Coffee Estate are coffee-producing companies that grow, process, roast, and commercialize coffee beans, and that happened to provide beans for several winning competitors. Less than a dozen businesses in Venezuela have as strict of quality controls and innovative processing methods as these entities. Both producers are in Venezuela, separated by over 1,300 km, and have exceptional coffee terroirs in the Páramo de Mariño and Caripe.
Hacienda Trono de Dioses, near Caripe, is at 1500 meters above sea level (masl), with pleasant weather all year round, abundant rain, and freshwater sources, and separated from the Caribbean Sea by less than 60 km. Caripe’s coffee history is rich and complex, and in the past, was the epicenter of scientific research to improve Venezuelan coffee genetics. Caripe’s cultivar, a hybrid of Typica and Bourbon, was analyzed and offered promising results in the 1960s.
Researchers from the Universidad Central de Venezuela have paid attention to this cultivar again, while coffee producers in Caripe have been experimenting with innovative processing methods and improving quality controls.
On the other hand, Páramo de Mariño belongs to a fertile agricultural region in Tovar, Mérida, in the far west of Venezuela at 1800 masl. Although not as close to the Caribbean as Caripe, Páramo de Mariño is close to the largest bodies of freshwater in Venezuela, the Maracaibo Lake, and at the same time belongs to the highest mountain range in the country.
Coffee culture in both regions is rich and rooted in tradition, expressed through generations of pickers and farmers. The winners’ cups profiles exemplified the refined detail that producers put into selection and processing methods.
Nini Sandoval won the Miranda State title, brewing a Red Typica from Hacienda Trono de Dioses. Nini accomplished an exquisite cup profile with an intense note of papelón (Venezuelan brown sugar), fine white sparkling wine, berries, and a clean and pleasant aftertaste.
Alberto Manzanilla won the Capital District title, brewing a Yellow Catuai from Trinidad Coffee with tasting notes of ripe cherries, red wine, red berries, and papelón-like sweetness.
Both winners demonstrated outstanding brewing, service, and presentation skills, delivering a well-structured speech about coffee, the role of coffee producers, the importance of processing methods, and all the steps involved in quality before brewing.
The Road to the Final Venezuela Brewers Cup
Near the middle of 2022, we will see the finals of the Venezuela Brewers Cup after all the regional competitions have selected champions across the country. We are thrilled to learn more about the richness, innovation, and exquisite aromatic profiles of single origins that coffee producers, roasters, and baristas can produce and serve.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yker Valerio (he/him) is a freelance content creator. After more than 10 years of working as a management consultant, he started the blog Bon Vivant Caffè to share his passion for specialty coffee.