Posted November 30, 2009 by Big Red Boots in Brewed Coffee

cafe bustelo coffees

If you have ever headed down the specialty section of the grocery store, or are fortunate enough to live in a Hispanic neighborhood, you have probably seen these bright yellow cans of Cafe Bustelo in the aisles. The coffee is the number 1 selling Cuban coffee in the United States, and popular around all of the US. While coffee was not native to Cuba, the company started in 1865. After 130 years, it is considered to be one of the top ground coffees found in the US.

After I wrote about the disappointment of one of their new coffee energy drinks, I was contacted by a rep and asked to sample all their goods. Needless to say I was pretty excited. I had never had Cuban coffee before, although I have certainly heard tales of how it is the caffeine fiend’s best friend (not related to caffeinefiend.com). The stuff was supposedly liquid crack, and some of the best coffee on the planet. I have had Vietnamese coffee and Turkish coffee, so I was very excited to try. I found after getting the HUGE package from Cafe Bustelo folks that they have a particular blend made especially for the real Cuban espresso coffee – and the yellow can and bricks were just to be used to make coffee the normal way.

While Cafe Bustelo has lots of kinds of coffee, I decided to go with the standard bright yellow coffee beans first, that come in either vacuum packed bricks or in cans. Besides standing out, their hearken back to an earlier era, having a 50’s style clip art of their mascot, a lady sipping a cup of their coffee. Their fonts and color scheme also are designed to look like a can from the 40s or 50s.
There is a little slogan on the side, telling you how fantastic the coffee is and how delicious it is (pretty standard stuff) as well as brewing instructions. upon opening, It seemed to me that the coffee brick ground the coffee finer than in the vacuum pack, but that could have just been an illusion. They mostly tasted the same, although I liked the compactness of the brick much better.

Taste: 9 Buzz:8
For inexpensive coffees, this is now going to be the only brand I try. This arabica roast is stronger and tastier than all the other kinds I have had over the years, and that is saying something.
I should say, I did try this out for making regular normal drip coffee, not anything fancy like a french press or Cuban stovetop coffee cooker. And a drip coffee maker is perfect for brewing this up too. While the grind is finer than most canned coffees, my machine has no problems brewing through it. The coffee comes out dark and rich – with a very unique flavor. This is a very acidic flavor, leaving a real zest on the tongue and a slight sweetness in the aftertaste.

The flavor is very very strong, more flavorful and less bitter than a french roast, with a taste that is quite unique. Despite the color, the flavor came off very vivid and bold. The flavor of cuban coffee is very complex – with lots of flavors going on. I was surprised how tasty it was, as I normally don’t go for strong dark coffees in the morning, usually preferring a lighter breakfast blend. This drink will wake you up and get you moving for the day. Regardless of caffeine content, there is enough in this blend of coffee to get you going and keep you going and going for a long time.


Big Red Boots