Café Bustelo Origin - A Little Coffee History

Café Bustelo Origin – A Little Coffee History

Last updated on October 26th, 2023 at 14:56

The Café Bustelo Origin is quite a complex one as you will get a different answer for every person that you ask. This article will clear up the origins of the famous coffee that is much loved by the Latino Community in the United States and beyond.

Keep reading as you dig down and answer all the questions that you have about Café Bustelo, its founder and the interesting and unique history behind the famous yellow and red tins.

Café Bustelo Origin – The Story Of The Famous Coffee Loved By Latinos

The Origins of Café Bustelo is a very interesting one that involves two continents, four nations and a very convenient law passed by congress.

Café Bustelo, founded by Gregorio Menéndez Bustelo, a Spanish national from the north-western region of Asturias. The Spanish businessman, also known as Gregorio Bustelo, travelled a lot enjoying life in the Caribbean islands spending time in Cuba, where he fell for the former Spanish colonies strong, dark roasted and finely ground coffee and its rich flavor.

It was while he was in Cuba that he met his wife Angelina, a Puerto Rican national and migrated to Puerto Rico where he had a stroke of luck when the Jones-Shafroth Act was passed by Congress in the United States giving US citizenship to all Puerto Rican nationals.

Being a Puerto Rican National via marriage, Gregorio Menéndez Bustelo headed to America and New York City where they settled in East Harlem.

East Harlem, known back then in 1917, was known as Spanish-Harlem as the Irish and Italian communities were replaced by Spanish immigrants, Cuban immigrants, Mexican immigrants and others from Latin America like Cuba, Puerto Rico.

It was while in the United States, in 1928, that Mr Bustelo started his now very famous coffee and the rest as they say is history.

Café Bustelo Origin
Café Bustelo!

Read: Puerto Rican coffee maker

Gregorio Menendez Bustelo

The man behind the famous yellow and red coffee cans that the Latin community loves once worked in a kitchen in the Hotel Pennsylvania as an assistant chef. It was there he dreamed of starting his own business and a later job as a travelling salesman his love for the coffee trade spiked.

Customers simply loved the coffee he was selling. With his savings he invested in a coffee roaster and started roasting his own brand and started selling it to local restaurants during the day and travelled door to door in the evenings selling his product.

In 1931, he opened his first shop on 5th Avenue and named it Bustelo Coffee Roasting Company and teamed up with other merchants, many of which were Spanish and Latino immigrants and catered to the expanding Latino community.

The first store was located in a small enclave of NYC known as El Barrio.

Gregorio Menendez Bustelo
The coffee that bears his name

Café Bustelo Ingredients

Café Bustelo ingredients include, Instant coffee powder, Hydrogenated coconut oil, Corn syrup solids, Maltodextrin, Whey, Sugar, Sodium casenate, Dipotassium, Salt, Silicon Dioxide as an anticaking agent, Phosphate, cellulose Gum, Sodium Silicoaluminate, Mono and Diglycerides, Soy lecithin, Stearoyl Lactylate, Artificial flavor.

There are a lot of non-natural ingredients in coffee which give it its distinctive flavor.

Is Café Bustelo Good?

Coffee is, as I often say, a very personal thing and how one person enjoys their coffee is different from another. Café Bustelo is rich, strong bodied and earthy with notes of toasted nuts and dark chocolate with a low acidity.

In my opinion, it is a good coffee that works well as an authentic espresso and using the moka pot brewing.

Café Bustelo Origin Caffeine

The caffeine content of café Bustelo ranges from 60 mg to 90 mg per 180 ml (6 Oz) serving. The average caffeine content is 75 mg per 6 oz (180 ml) serving.

Frequently Asked Questions About Café Bustelo Origin

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 made its way around the Latino community and the homes of immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Café Bustelo is a story of the Spanish Immigrant community of New York and how it made its way into the hearts and homes of the Latin American community from New York to New Jersey to Florida, yet the origins are the Spanish immigrants that brought it to New York. Its origins and roots are in the Asturias region of Spain. However, it is not grown or harvested in Spain as Spain does not have the required climate to grow coffee successfully.

No, it is claimed by many to be a Cuban coffee brand, it is in fact a brand that has its origins in a Spanish businessman in Puerto Rico. It is a very enjoyable rich tasting coffee with a deep chocolate taste and can be brewed using a number of brewing techniques including an espresso machine, moka pot and French press.

Yes, the company and owner of café Bustelo is the Spaniard Gregorio Menéndez Bustelo, a well-travelled businessman that spent a great part of his life in Cuba and Puerto Rico, married to Angelina, a Puerto Rican and when the Jones-Shafroth act was passed by congress he and his wife took advantage of their new-found right to American Citizenship and headed to America bringing their Coffee Brand with them.

It is entirely correct to say that it is indeed Puerto Rican coffee owned by a Spanish businessman.

Café Bustelo is said to have been originally harvested in Cuba in the years prior to the revolution. Since then and due to the entire coffee industry being run by the Cuban government, the beans are now harvested and roasted in other nations, including Puerto Rico.

Café Bustelo is a Robusta coffee which is earthy, rich and bitter and contains 2.2 times as much caffeine as an Arabica coffee. It is a fine example of Latin American Robusta coffee beans.

Is Café Bustelo Stronger Than Regular Coffee?

Yes, Café Bustelo has a stronger taste and is much stronger in terms of caffeine kick. If you want a milder tasting Bustelo Coffee, reduce the coffee dosage by using less coffee by weight or using more water. Instead of making an espresso you could make a lungo.

Café Bustelo sources its beans from a number of countries in the Caribbean area, including Puerto Rico. Originally, the entirety of the beans were grown in Cuba. Due to the nationalization of the industry post revolution, this is no longer the case.

Frappé-Ing It All Up – Café Bustelo Origin

Who would have thought that the Café Bustelo Origin would be so interesting, unique and involve a few nations, a change of law, two continents and a determined chef with a love for coffee.

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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