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The History of Café Bustelo Coffee

Gregorio Bustelo arrived in East Harlem, New York from Spain and started Café Bustelo in the 1920s after being inspired by a trip to Havana, Cuba. Using a proprietary blend of coffee beans, he created a Latin espresso-style coffee roast and began selling his hand-ground blend to local East Harlem theater patrons. In 1928, he used the funds he saved while working at the Hotel Pennsylvania’s restaurant to open a storefront on 5th Avenue called Bustelo Coffee Roasters, where he catered to Latino communities. In the 1930s, he began to sell his Café Bustelo blend to Latino-owned bodegas and independent markets within his New York City community. He married his wife Angelina and together, they grew the business even further, expanding into Miami and eventually selling their blend at bodegas and markets all across America. Today, the emblematic yellow, blue, and red tins are available at many grocery stores and the brand is considered one of the foremost Latin-style coffees on the market.

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