The Venecia coffee varietal has its origin in the village of Venecia, San Carlos, Alajuela Province in Northern Costa Rica, near the base of the Poas Volcano, where Mr. Isidro Rodriguez selected coffee plants in a Caturra cultivar ( a high yielding dwarf Bourbon ). The plants stood out because of its high yield and big coffee cherry size. Above all, the coffee cherries were more resistant to rain thus decreasing lost.
Originally developed by ICAFE ( Costa Rica Coffee Institute ) for farmers in the lowland regions of Perez Zeledon, this coffee varietal has become a revolution in the much higher mountain region of Tarrazu, where the coffee tree yield a much better quality coffee cup, even better than the over-rated Gesha or Typica.
This varietal enable highland coffee farmers to harvest coffee at its maximum ripeness at a much later date, in areas where farm elevation above sea level is 1000 meters or higher. The genetics of this plant plus the advantage of high elevation translate into an outstanding quality in the cup.
It is a small plant with cylindrical architecture, with short space between the fruit knots, the size of the leaves are big, the color of the young leaves are green, color of the coffee cherry is red. This varietal has the following features:
a. High quality in the cup,
b. Big coffee cherries or fruit, compared to the parent varietal Caturra.
c. Late Harvest: cherries ripe late in the season
d. Small plant
e. Yield is similar to Parent Caturra
Because of late or delayed Harvest , this translates into savings for the farmer since coffee will be harvested in drier days with no heavy rains present late in the season. Thus, coffee cherries won't fall and farm labor will be optimized according to features of each farm.
Because the Venecia coffee plant is shorter, smaller, it can be planted in higher densities per hectare or acre, higher than the Catuai Varietal for instance. Venecia trees can be planted up to 7.000 trees por hectare, depending on microclimates and terrain.
The Costa Rica Institute of Coffee started the analysis of this coffee in 1991, with tests in the regions of Turrialba, Coto Brus and Perez Zeledon. In the selection process the percentage of floating cherries is reduced and plants with better and more uniformed height, yield, ripeness and quality are separated.
From the evaluation performed in the Perez Zeledon region ( Southern Costa Rica) it is noticed that this varietal present a slower coffee cherry ripeness process, and since this characteristic is of great importance for the coffee cultivation in this region, a special emphasis is given to the development and evaluation of this varietal. Thus, in the year 2010, the varietal was released for the benefit of Costa Rica coffee farmers looking for late harvest varietals to avoid early rains during the harvest season and maintain the Caturra arabica high quality in the cup.
Evaluations performed measuring growth, yield, and quality in the cup, coffee cherries ripening process and resistance to fungus and pests, The Venecia varietal present the following characteristics:
a. High quality in the cup.
b. Big coffee bean size ( bigger that its Caturra Parent ) and yield similar to Caturra varietal.
c. Late harvest: Coffee cherries ripe late in the coffee harvest season.
d. Compact size of the coffee plant that favors harvesting
The harvest of the Venecia Varietal in the regions where it was evaluated was similar to the Caturra Varietal. It can be clasified as a varietal of medium yield.
Regarding coffee cherry size variables and coffee bean after processing. The Venecia varietal presents bigger coffee cherry size and same or higher yield after mill processing. Coffee beans have a higher size in the 17/64 filter, compared to the Caturra Varietal.
Same results were obtained withe the peaberry coffee bean.
This Venecia varietal presents a high quality coffee cup. In several cupping events during the selection process, the quality in the cup was same or higher than the comparable Caturra and Catuai Varietals. It is more Aromatic, has more body, higher acidity, less bitterness, and overall, it was selected the best among the three varietals by selected institute cuppers.
Because of this varietal is of late harvest, it is recommended in micro climates where rain may interfere with optimal harvest. Besides the higher quality in the bean, the Venecia coffee Varietal allows to decrease the lost in coffee cherries due to rainfall, thus farm labor use and farm infrastructure is optimized. Since the coffee plants are small, it is perfect for harvesting by hand in steep slopes at high elevations.
It is recommended that 5878 coffee trees are planted per hectare, with a separation of 190 centimeters between rows and 90 centimeters between each plant.
Chaves, V. 1991. Sobre el café Venecia. Manuscritos sin publicar. Mesén, R. 2004. Resumen de investigación 2003-2004. MG-311-3-99.Sin publicar. Fonseca, C. 2001. Resumen de investigación 2000-2001. Parcela de Validación de Materiales Genéticos CF01-PV-302-3-93. Sin Publicar.