How to Make Cafe Bustelo Like a Pro – Full Recipe!

Being able to make your own Cafe Bustelo at home is becoming more and more popular these days. So, do you know how to make Cafe Bustelo? 

Affordable and delicious, this Cuban coffee goes in a variety of recipes, from Cuban latte to Cafe Bustelo cold brew. And the best part is that it’s possible to make Cuban coffee without an espresso maker! 

Learning how to make Bustelo coffee may become a new hobby or at least make one gloomy morning less daunting. Either way, Cafe Bustelo is never a bad idea.

Woman drinking coffee

What is Cafe Bustelo? 

So, what is Cuban coffee? 

Known mostly as a Cuban coffee brand, Cafe Bustelo has gained its reputation for having a strong taste of chocolate and a rich aroma that comes out in various ways. Thanks to its affordable price, Cafe Bustelo has become one of the most loved coffee brands in America.

The History of Cafe Bustelo

The Cafe Bustelo origin started in 1928 when a young entrepreneur Gregorio Bustelo founded his coffee company in The Bronx, New York City. 

Bustelo assembled the knowledge and skills he had gained during the journey through Latin America to create a new brand of espresso, which destiny was to become one of the trademarks of the 20th century.

At first, Gregorio specialized in selling his hand-ground coffee, the recipe of which stayed a secret. East Harlem was the first to have a taste of Cafe Bustelo. But back then, Gregorio could only dream about opening his own roaster. 

Luckily, he was industrious enough to save money and open Bustelo Coffee Roasters – the first coffee roaster in New York with a Latino accent. In the 1930s, Bustelo was already selling Cafe Bustelo coffee to independent stores. And would this coffee taste as good as it did if its secret ingredient was not loved. 

The success of Cafe Bustelo found Gregorio after he met his wife, Angelina. Together, they started a thriving coffee brand that preserved its high reputation until 2000, when Rowland Coffee Roasters of Miami bought it. 

Having become especially popular among Cuban immigrants, who preferred making coffee through espresso coffeemakers when it was more common to use a coffee “sock” at that time. Eventually, the Cafe Bustelo coffee had become part of classic coffee recipes, such as Cuban latte, Cafe Bustelo cold brew, Cafe Bustelo iced coffee, and many more.

How to Make Cafe Bustelo – Original recipe

Making a cup of Cafe Bustelo may seem a little stressful if you really aim to get a strong fragrance of espresso before going off to work. The questions start to arise, especially after making the first attempts and not getting the desired effect.

The original Cafe Bustelo recipe combines rich espresso taste and creaminess. This is the formula of real Hispanic coffee. 


  • 15 minutes


  • The Bustelo coffee 
  • Water
  • Milk 
  • Sugar

Equipment Needed

  • Espresso maker


  1. Pour one cup of water into the espresso maker. Wondering how much Cafe Bustelo per cup should be? The tip here is to add one tablespoon of Cafe Bustelo to six ounces (177 milliliters) of lightly cold water.
  2. Add a half-cup of nicely brewed and strong Bustelo coffee into the coffee maker. In case there is no filter, one may put a filter on the coffee maker’s grinding basket. 
  3. Prepare the espresso maker for work and put the cup or mug below. In around 10-15 minutes, an aromatic cup of Cafe Bustelo is ready.
  4. Finally, depending on personal preferences, one can add sugar or stir the coffee with hot milk.

But as was mentioned earlier, the Cafe Cubano recipe has evolved to allow some originality to the classic formula. Some optional mix-ins may include chocolate syrup, cinnamon, caramel sauce, and even whipped cream.  

Coffee splash

How to Make Cafe Bustelo Cold Brew?

Cafe Bustelo cold brew is yet another recipe one can try as an alternative to a hot cup of this drink. Although the drink is rather simple to make, it takes some time to perfect while you’re sleeping.

  1. Prepare Cafe Bustelo coffee using the classic recipe. Notably, it is becoming popular to prepare coffee in jars, which are usually bigger than regular mugs. 1 ½ cups of cold water is better to use in this case. The rule of six ounces (177 milliliters) applies as well. Cover the fresh brew and let it rest for 12 hours.
  2. After 12 hours, strain the coffee through a filter. Pour it into a tall glass or jar filled with ice. Mix two equal parts of coffee and water, or adjust to your taste. Milk is also an option.

How Much Caffeine in Cuban Coffee?

Bustelo Cuban coffee is known for its strong taste and aroma. No wonder it is considered about twice as strong in comparison to a regular cup of American coffee. 

If prepared according to the recipe, a cup of Cafe Bustelo contains around 0.004oz (120mg) of caffeine and is thus considered stronger than other types of coffee. 

The reason why Cafe Bustelo is so strong is that the brand uses Robusta beans, which are quite a strong type of coffee beans. This is why one may like to try using less of Cafe Bustelo in case it is too strong at first. 


How to Make Cuban Coffee Without an Espresso Maker?

Three affordable options for making Bustelo Cuban coffee without using an espresso maker are a Moka pot, a French press, and AeroPress.  

How Many Calories Does Cafe Bustelo Have?

The calorie intake of a regular cup of Cafe Bustelo is around two calories, as the drink contains no carbs, fat, or protein. Hence, most calorie intensity falls on flavor characteristics of Cafe Bustelo and sugar.  

Is Cafe Bustelo Espresso or Coffee?

Cafe Bustelo is espresso-style coffee, also known as Cuban-style coffee. The dark roast coffee is a trademark of the brand.

How Many Cups Does a Can of Café Bustelo Make?

A regular can of Cafe Bustelo makes around 40 cups of coffee.

Making coffee on a machine

Parting Thoughts

A cup of Cafe Bustelo is a great way to start a day. And when one knows how to make this coffee in the right way, it boosts the mood and confidence for the following tasks. 

This article proves there is no need to be a professional barista to make nice coffee. Just a little patience and a couple of failed attempts, and one morning the perfect cup of Cafe Bustelo will see the world. Or maybe even two cups, if there is someone special to share the coffee morning with.