History of Cafe Bustelo Coffee

We now proudly carry Cafe Bustelo coffee, a true Cuban roast that will take you to coffee shops of Havana without the hassle of air travel or a Castro dictatorship. The coffee originally came from the streets of Cuba, and the creators took their roasting craft with them as they left Cuba and made their way to New York.

Gregorio Bustelo was originally from Galicia, Spain, but during a trip to Cuba, he fell in love with the unique coffee on the island to the point that he got a job at a local coffee roaster. After living in Cuba for just a few months, he met and married a Cuban woman who loved coffee as much as he did.

Not long after they married, they moved to Puerto Rico, and Gregario took what he learned from the Cuban coffee industry to the Puerto Rican industry. Around this time, the US passed the Jones-Shafroth Act, which granted people of Puerto Rico US citizenship. The Bustelos and numerous other Puerto Ricans promptly left the island to start a new life in New York.

The Bustelos moved to East Harlem (El Barrio Latino) and bought their own coffee roasting company. Since they lived close to a theater, they scheduled their roasting times to coincide with when the movies would let out. The aroma from the roasting would entice theater-goers to stop by the business and buy coffee. During the day, Gregario would peddle his roast to neighborhood restaurants. By 1931, they Bustelos officially had their Bustelo Coffee Roasters business, and the Bustelo brand sold outside of El Barrio Latino.

In 2000, Rowland Coffee Roasters of Miami bought the Cafe Bustelo brand. The Rowland company, like the Bustelo brand, was the third-generation of Cuban coffee roasters. JP Souto, the grandson of the Rowland founder, has been very aggressive about raising awareness of Cafe Bustelo, and now the coffee can be found outside of local grocery stores in New York and Miami.

Cafe Bustelo passed hands once again in May 2011, from Rowland to JM Smucker, Smucker’s happens to be the same company that distributes Folgers, so they know a thing or two about how to market and sell a new coffee. As such, coffee lovers everywhere will have even more opportunities to sample the Cuban roast.

Have you never tried Cuban coffee? Pick up a 10 oz pack or can with your next order and taste what you have been missing!

5 thoughts on “History of Cafe Bustelo Coffee

  1. livia Rivera

    I came to visit my son in Puerto Rico and brought some cafe Bustelo with me ,he ask me why I drink this coffee and not one that is made in Puerto Rico I told him that for generation L have been under the misconception that it was! He told me to Google it I did , I was very surprised that I was wrong even though I love my bustelo,I will try a brand of coffee made in my homeland of Puerto RICO Am from New YORK.

    Reply
  2. L. Sobieski

    I discovered Bustelo in 1969 everyone living in the Lower East Side of New York had a can in the kitchen.
    Lots of Puerti Rican folks living in tenements back then. Way different today!
    Still great coffee.

    Reply
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  4. destroyandrebuildvision

    My jaw dropped.. my heart broke after I read this.. Cafe mama don’t fail me too. They got pilon too.

    Reply

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