Caffeine diplomacy: Nespresso to bring Cuban coffee to US after sanctions eased

A Cuban worker picking coffee beans at a plantation on the Sierra Maestra Mountains, in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, in 2010.
A Cuban worker picking coffee beans at a plantation on the Sierra Maestra Mountains, in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, in 2010.PHOTO: AFP

NEWYORK (AFP) - Nestle-owned Nespresso announced onMonday (June 20) it will reintroduce Cuban coffee to the US for the first time in more than 50 years following the easing of United States sanctions on Cuba.

The Swiss food giant's company plans to sell Cuban coffee under its individual-capsule Nespresso brand, initially as a limited edition, starting in several months.

"Nespresso is thrilled to be the first to bring this rare coffee to the US, allowing consumers to rediscover this distinct coffee profile," said Mr Guillaume Le Cunff, president of Nespresso USA, in a statement.

"Ultimately, we want consumers in the US to experience this incredible coffee and to enjoy it now and for years to come."

A spokesman for Nespresso said the coffee has "wood notes" and a "light caramel finish".

In April, the US Department of State in April updated its list of goods that could be imported into the US from Cuba to include coffee.

Nespresso said it planned to work with the non-profit development organisation TechnoServe to establish financing and technical assistance to improve sustainable practices among Cuban coffee farmers.

The announcement comes as more US businesses, including film producers, hotel chains and cruise companies, take steps to re-enter Cuba following a series of moves by the Obama administration to ease the US trade embargo.

The United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations in July 2015.

On June 10, the US Department of Transportation granted licences to six US airlines to fly up to 90 round-trip flights per day to cities in Cuba, excluding the capital Havana.