On April 22, 2016, one of US President Obama’s efforts to relax restrictions of the Cuban embargo included the removal of an import restriction for HTS 0901, otherwise known as coffee, originating from Cuba.
It didn’t take long for coffee entrepreneurs to understand the branding potential of an island nation with a long history of coffee production and consumption.
Café Cubano is a type of espresso that originated in Cuba after espresso machines were first imported there from Italy. Sometimes known as Cuban coffee, Cuban espresso, cafecito, Cuban pull, Cuban shot, it refers to an espresso shot sweetened with demerara sugar as it is being brewed.
Nespresso SA announced today that it will sell Cuban coffee in the US starting this fall. “Cafecito de Cuba” will be the first import of Cuban coffee since the embargo started more than 50 years ago.
Nespresso is the brand name of Nestlé Nespresso S.A., an operating unit of the Nestlé Group, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Cafecito de Cuba aims to deliver on Nespresso’s mission to deliver “exclusive, unique coffee experiences,” Guillaume Le Cunff, Nespresso USA president, said.
Leni Gas Cuba Limited
Leni Gas recently announced it has acquired a 10% interest in The Cuba Mountain Coffee Company Ltd (“CMC”) for an investment of £27,300.
CMC is an English company founded in 2013 to promote, on a worldwide basis, single-origin gourmet coffee from Cuba’s famous Guantanamo Region, both as green beans and also via CMC’s own bespoke coffee brand, “Alma de Cuba”.
CMC has signed a Letter of Intent, in April 2015, and an International Economic Association Contract (“IEA”) has been discussed and is going through the various stages of Cuban government approval with Grupo Agro Forrestal and Empresa Procesadora de Café Asdrúbal López Vazquez (“AL”) for green bean coffee supplies. AL is a part of the Ministry of Agriculture/Grupo Agro Forrestal, which controls the majority of the green coffee processing in Cuba.
CMC is working towards formalising a definitive ten-year (extendable) IEA with AL in the Guantanamo Province that will provide, over a five-year period, capital and equipment to improve the processing and quality of green beans from the region. In return, CMC will obtain the rights to an increasing proportion of this production for global marketing. CMC is working towards finalising the definitive IEA by the end of this year.
Through the planned investment over the course of the next 10 years, CMC aims to work together with coffee processors in arguably Cuba’s most ideal coffee growing region, the Guantanamo Province, to provide processors with modern techniques, technology and resources.
As the quality and quantity of the green coffee harvests gradually improves each year, CMC aims to increase worldwide distribution of both green Cuban coffee to Commercial and Independent roasters and roasted Cuban coffee under our own brand, “Alma de Cuba”.
CMC has already established an E-commerce website for its coffee brand, “Alma de Cuba” and retails its coffee through major retail outlets.
The IEA is designed to implement a program of monitored ecological sustainability in conjunction with AL and increase trading of green beans in the UK, Europe, Asia and potentially the USA if and when the circumstances allow. The IEA envisages that CMC will provide AL with machinery and technology over five years to improve the quality and quantity of beans in return for rights to purchase premium Alto Serra coffee.
In addition, the IEA sees AL providing commitments for exclusive supply of coffee from the Guantanamo Province. The final IEA will cover trademarks, pricing, micro-region designation and other points.
David Lenigas, Leni Gas Cuba Limited Executive Chairman commented, “The Cuban Coffee Industry will benefit from the latest agricultural techniques and expertise that CMC can bring to improve this famous agricultural sector. Although there is still a lot of work to be done to formalise the contractual relationships between Cuba Mountain Coffee and the Government, we are look forward to being a valued contributor to CMC’s efforts in boosting Cuba’s coffee production and exporting this valuable premium product to the world.”