Nerd Fuel: Cafe’ Bustelo – Espresso Style

Today, I’m going to share my thoughts on a coffee that I’ve been eyeing for some time; Cafe Bustelo. This distinct yellow box caught my eye the very first time I saw it on the grocery store shelf, but I was always a little hesitant to try something so obscure. Finally, I decided to take the plunge and bring the box home.

Cafe Bustelo is an American coffee company based out of New York. The owner was a Cuban immigrant who decided to bring his unique style to the American market. Even though Cafe Bustelo is a regular coffee, it’s traditionally prepared using espresso machines. This helps to give the coffee a very dark, bold flavor. The K-cup presentation preserves this “espresso style” method.

To start, let me be clear that this is a STRONG brew. It’s a dark roast coffee and it’s pretty intense. It ranks right up there with Green Mountain’s Dark Magic in terms of strength. The aroma of the brew is heavy with a hint of char. The taste is not much different. It’s bitter and dark, very burnt tasting. But there is a nice woody/chocolate undertone that’s actually pretty pleasant if you can get past the initial slap in the face. Unless you’re a real coffee grind warrior, you’ll likely be loading this down with a lot of cream. (I certainly did).

The first few sips turned me off, I’ll be honest. But I found that the deeper I got into the cup, the more I started to enjoy it. Personally, I’m a big fan of those skinny “Double Shot” cans that Starbucks sells in the grocery stores, and this coffee could easily match those if prepared correctly.

In a nutshell, this is not a coffee that is for everyone. In fact, nine times out of ten, it’s a little too much for me. But, it’s certainly a quality product. It’s perfect for those early mornings when you just can’t seem to get going and need a little kick. That’s what I’m saving it for anyway. Espresso fans and lovers of dark roasts might find a new favorite here.

Score: 3 out of 4

Would buy again?:  No. While I can appreciate the product for what it is. It’s a little too strong for my personal tastes to be an everyday buy. This is a good quality brew with a rich flavor. But again, this is a bit stronger than I usually enjoy.

Old Game Hermit


2 Responses

  1. You’re right, Bustelo is a bitter- burnt-tasting coffee no matter how you make it.

    I make it in my Moka pot when I’m out of my more expensive Italian grocery store espressos that are ground medium-fine for the Moka: Bialetti Perfetto Moka Espresso, Lavazza Crema e Gusto, Lavazza Qualita Rosa, Lavazza Espresso Italiano, Kimbo, illy Classico Espresso for Moka, illy Intenso Espresso for Moka, etc.

    But Bustelo tastes good when I make Latte or Cafe con Leche or Mocha with lots of sweetener and hot milk because the extra ingredients cancel the bitterness.

    I follow the Bialetti instructions for the Moka pot and the Brikka, so I get perfect coffee every time. I don’t need the hacks promoted by social media, my coffee is never burnt and it’s not bitter unless I use a bitter coffee, like Bustelo. I’ve heard La Llave is a smoother espresso sold in Hispanic areas.

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