Café Bustelo, or Bustelo coffee, as it is also known, is a Cuban-style coffee that is popular with Cuban immigrants in New York City and has made its way between the Latino community and immigrant homes in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Almost a century ago, Gregorio Bustelo, young and ambitious, arrived in East Harlem, New York, from Spain. A man consumed by a passion for travel, Gregorio visited many Latin American cities throughout his life, including the cultural capital of Havana, Cuba. He became known for his espresso coffee and became one of the most prominent names in the Latino coffee community.
While Café Bustelo is marketed as a Latin-inspired coffee, it mostly has its roots in the United States. However, it has reached the homes of Puerto Rican and Dominican coffee lovers. It's true that when Bustelo Coffee is used to make Cuban coffee, the result is a small, strong coffee similar to espresso. It is true that Colombia may be one of the sources of Café Bustelo's bean mix, however, it has no other connection to the country.
Using a secret blend of coffee beans, Gregorio crafted the beloved, rich flavors that consumers now recognize as Café Bustelo, an authentically Latin espresso style coffee. Bustelo took advantage of an existing community and turned it into a strong and identifiable marketing demographic. While its distribution has grown significantly over the years, Café Bustelo coffee is still coveted by Café Bustelo loyalists today. With the money Gregorio had saved while working at the Hotel Pennsylvania restaurant, he opened a store in New York in 1928 on 5th Avenue called Bustelo Coffee Roasters.
While Café Bustelo is not a coffee exclusive to Cuba, it is widely known as Latin-style coffee because this strong espresso coffee is enjoyed in several places in Latin America. While Café Bustelo isn't specific to Cuba, that doesn't mean it's not a legitimate brand for making authentic Cuban coffee. If you find that your current coffee seems a bit weak or you simply want to improve your coffee level, then Bustelo Coffee could be the right choice for you. In addition, Bustelo Coffee quickly became a staple food among Cuban immigrants in New York before becoming popular with Puerto Ricans and Dominicans.
In the 1930s, Gregorio began selling Bustelo coffee to Latin-owned wineries and independent supermarkets, going door to door to develop his business while maintaining close friendships with owners whom he considered family. Espresso division of Rowland Coffee Roasters, a Miami-based company owned by Cuban immigrants whose family had been in the coffee business for centuries. Gregorio's stay in Cuba is often related to his love for espresso coffee, and it's possible that the company's beans even came from Cuba very early on, which is why Café Bustelo is often described as Cuban coffee. As a product, Café Bustelo satisfied both a tangible and an abstract need, providing consumers with a tool to continue the tradition.
Although Café Bustelo was not founded by a Cuban and it is unknown if they use a Cuban roasting formula (the recipe is a secret), the truth is that it is one of the most popular brands of Cuban coffee.