Next Stop For Cuban Coffee May Be Blue Bottle Coffee... Another Connection For Nestle

With it's majority-control purchase (reportedly US$425 million for 68%) of Oakland, California-based Blue Bottle Coffee, Nestle may have an additional distribution channel for its imports of coffee beans from the Republic of Cuba...

Nestle Nespresso

In 2016, the Obama Administration added coffee to the list of eligible imports from the Republic of Cuba.  

To be eligible for importation into the United States, a listed Cuban Assets Control Regulations (31 CFR Part 515) Section 515.582 product (in this case coffee) must be “produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs, as demonstrated by documentary evidence.”

From the United States Department of State: “Persons subject to US jurisdiction engaging in import transactions involving goods produced by an independent Cuban entrepreneur pursuant to 515.582 must obtain documentary evidence that demonstrates the entrepreneur's independent status, such as a copy of a license to be self-employed issued by the Cuban government, or in the case of an entity, evidence that demonstrates that the entity is a private entity that is not owned or controlled by the Cuban government.”

In 2016, New York, New York-based Nestle Nespresso USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle SA (2016 revenues approximately US$94 billion), purchased a container of approximately eighteen (18) tons of green coffee beans through London, United Kingdom-based Cubana Coffee & Roastery (, the established bar-restaurant and coffee roasting group, and London, United Kingdom-based The Cuba Mountain Coffee Company Ltd (  

The green coffee beans were sourced from the 2015-2016 harvest in the Republic of Cuba; the value was approximately US$5,000.00 per metric ton, or approximately US$90,000.00.  

The beans were roasted at Nestle Nespresso facilities in Avenches and nearby Orbe, Switzerland.  With approximately 20% lost during the roasting process, the result was approximately 180,000 capsules per ton- 3,240,000 limited edition Cafecito de Cuba capsules (approximately 5 to 6 grams each or .17 to .21 ounces).  The price for a limited-edition capsule was approximately US$1.10, so potential total revenue could be approximately US$3,564,000.00.

Nestle Nespresso USA, Inc., obtained additional green coffee beans from the 2016-2017 harvest in the Republic of Cuba and continues to produce capsules for distribution throughout the world, including in the United States.

Coffee beans from the Republic of Cuba could also become an ingredient for infused ice creams: Oakland, California-based Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Holdings, Inc., and Oakland, California-based Edy’s Grand Ice Cream are wholly-owned by Nestle SA; and Oakland, California-based Haagen-Dazs is distributed by Nestle SA.

Nestle SA is positioning itself to be an importer to the United States of confections, coffee, ice cream, beverages, and other consumables sourced in the Republic of Cuba.  

Nestle SA has a multi-decade interest in the Republic of Cuba.  The company has a representative office in the city of Havana.  Since the 1990's, Nestle S.A. has been involved with Republic of Cuba government-operated companies to develop the confection industry (a twenty-year joint venture producing ice cream); has investments in bottled water production (Ciego Montero) and beverage production; and imports products for sale at retail stores.  In 2014, Nestle Nespresso released “Limited Edition Cubanía; Inspired by the passion and intensity of Cuban coffee ritual” that did not contain coffee from the Republic of Cuba.  In 2016, "Cuban Nespresso Grand Cru Cafecito de Cuba" capsule (which would include coffee from the Republic of Cuba) was to be available outside of the United States, but with the 22 April 2016 changes in United States regulations, the opportunity was created to add the United States to global distribution channels.

In 2017, Nestle SA reported the company would invest approximately US$55 million to create a joint venture (of which it will own 51%) potentially employing 300 Republic of Cuba nationals to source ingredients for and to produce coffee, biscuits and cooking products.  Completion date is by 2019.  Other Nestle SA production facilities are being considered for expansion.