Cafe Bustelo iced coffee

Review of Café Bustelo Espresso-Style Iced Coffee

The release of Café Bustelo’s espresso-style iced coffee adds a solid coffee punch to refrigerated coffee selections. Even if you haven’t tried Café Bustelo coffee, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the packaging. It’s hard to miss the bright yellow colors and clear vibrancy. Alongside this fun packaging, the company offers what it calls a “timeless taste” that has become a beloved coffee for many, especially those with Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Spanish roots.

Before the release of this espresso-style iced coffee, Café Bustelo came in whole bean, ground, pods, capsules, and instant varieties. The store-bought iced coffee is the newest to join this lineup. Being a lover of all things iced coffee, I eagerly volunteered when the opportunity to sample Café Bustelo’s new product arose. With Café Bustelo’s release package in hand, I got to sampling to see if this should be your next purchase for ready-to-drink coffee. Though there are other flavors included in the lineup, I only had the opportunity to try the unsweetened version. This gave me a clear understanding of how the other offerings might layer on top of the basic option.

Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer. 

What is Café Bustelo Espresso Style Iced Coffee

Café Bustelo Iced Coffee

In addition to the unsweetened variety, this espresso style iced coffee also comes in a sweetened version as well as one with vanilla flavoring. All choices are sold in 40 ounce plastic bottles that hold three and a half official servings in 12-ounce sizes.

One of the most fascinating parts of this coffee is that in each 12 ounce of these servings, there is a whopping 270 milligrams of caffeine. However, when you break that down into espresso shots, it becomes more reasonable. Since an espresso shot is typically an ounce and a half, you could say there are eight espresso shots per serving. Separating out the caffeine for each shot, there’s a little more than 33 milligrams of caffeine in each espresso shot serving size when poured from this container. My advice is to treat this like iced espresso in your drinks, not iced coffee. Though it may be a little obvious to treat the coffee this way since it’s labeled as an espresso style, I can also imagine this being an easily missed detail if you’re just perusing the grocery store aisles, searching for an iced coffee.

Where to find Café Bustelo Espresso Style Iced Coffee

Café Bustelo Iced Coffee

If you do happen to be looking for these on your next grocery run, head to the refrigerated section of the store. There, you’ll find these appropriately greca shaped, moka pot type plastic containers. You’ll be able to find the sweetened and unsweetened varieties at many grocery stores, but the vanilla flavor is exclusive to Target. At home, remember to store the coffee in your refrigerator rather than the pantry. Since many iced coffee bottles are shelf-stable until opened, this could be an easily missed directive.

Currently, you’ll find the bottles at Target stores, but it seems that Walmart and Kroger stores will follow after. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, I could not locate the coffee at a store in my area, but it’s surely only a matter of time before it begins popping up near you. You may need to exercise some patience, but the coffee will soon be widely available.

How much does Café Bustelo Espresso Style Iced Coffee cost?

Café Bustelo package

Dani Zoeller / Look

Though I couldn’t find the coffee for sale at retailers in my area, I was able to ask the representing public relations group what the cost of the coffee would be. The 40-ounce containers come with a suggested price of $5.99, which works out to just shy of 15 cents per ounce, or roughly 22 cents per shot of espresso when you break out the calculator.

RECOMMENDED:  Delicious Iced Coffee with Cold Foam and Malted Milk

Comparatively, this is on the higher end of iced coffees available in ready-to-drink containers. SToK, for example, sells its coffee at 14 cents per ounce, and Starbucks sells it at 15 cents. It’s also worth noting that the 40-ounce container is on the smaller size when it comes to the ready-to-drink market. SToK and Starbucks are both offering 48-ounce containers rather than 40-ounce, like Café Bustelo.

Taste-testing Café Bustelo Espresso Style Iced Coffee

making iced coffee

Dani Zoeller / Look

To taste test this one, I prepared it as I typically do with my morning iced coffee, which is something like an iced cafe bonbon. Like I normally do, I simply added sweetened condensed milk to the coffee, frothed it, and poured in ice.

I noticed that the coffee had a strong smell to it, immediately identifying it as something a little more robust than a typical iced coffee. Keen noses will sense a deep, espresso-type roast.

Though I sampled the unsweetened variety, I did feel that the coffee all on its own had a nice flavor to it that was pleasant with some enjoyable chocolate notes in there. Opening the bottle releases those smells right away, and I found it quite promising with how highly scented it was. Though I prefer my coffee made quite simply, this coffee’s flexibility in flavor makes it clear that it is just as tasty simply paired with ice or something more complex like a coffee syrup, for example.

Café Bustelo Espresso Style Iced Coffee vs. Iced Coffee

Café Bustelo top down

Dani Zoeller / Look

The biggest difference between the Café Bustelo Espresso Style Iced Coffee and other iced coffees is that this one is very much an iced espresso over an iced coffee. The difference really comes in terms of the caffeine content and the potency of the coffee. The caffeine content is much higher than I was expecting. On the other hand, SToK’s bottled espresso cold brew is nothing to sneeze at, with 195 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce serving either.

Another major difference with Café Bustelo Espresso Style Iced Coffee is the way you’ll want to use it. While bottled iced coffee and cold brew are often just used as iced coffee, you can use Café Bustelo Espresso Style Iced Coffee in any of your iced espresso drinks instead of choosing hot espresso. In a mocha, for example, use this in place of that hot espresso and add cold milk and mocha to it to make that tasty iced mocha. Alternatively, add in the iced espresso and cold milk with ice to prepare an iced latte. It certainly will help your drink remain cooler over using hot coffee.

Is Café Bustelo Espresso Style Iced Coffee worth it?

Café Bustelo Iced Coffee

Dani Zoeller / Look

Yes, it is. This is a quality bottled coffee beverage that tastes simultaneously fresh while not losing any of its vibrancy as the iced melts. I enjoyed how it integrated right into my coffee habits while still offering flexibility for the different types of drinks I can create. The price is pretty comparable to other coffees on the market, but if you use it as more of an espresso substitute and less as simply an iced coffee, you’ll get even more bang for your buck.

The only issue you might face is availability, with it both making its way to the store for the release as well as the company expanding where the drink is sold. I may not get overly distraught if it’s not immediately available at the grocery store next time I visit, but I will be watching for it to arrive at my local stores.

Our Experts
Our Experts

Look's editorial team comprises seasoned writers and editors who specialize in the food and drink, hospitality, and agriculture sectors. We also collaborate with external experts to ensure the delivery of accurate, current information and unique recipes.

Our goal is to publish informative and engaging articles, offering readers the content they seek, from daily news to cooking tips, tricks, trends, and reviews. To maintain the highest standards of comprehensiveness, currency, and accuracy, our team continually reviews and updates our articles as needed.