The U.S. State Department added coffee to the Section 515.582 List, which identifies items allowed to be imported from Cuba into the U.S. in 2014. Since then, some have speculated what companies are pursuing actually doing it. An analysis piece published by the U.S. Cuba Trade and Economic Council Inc. is one example suggesting that Starbucks could do it. However, a spokesperson at Starbucks later denied the company was considering it to Politico, a political news outlet. And yet, when this news first broke, a report in the Boston Globe confirmed that George Howell had plans to go to Cuba.
When might Cuban coffee return as a specialty coffee product in the U.S.? A few issues stand in the way: what some consider the most productive areas for growing coffee became centers of resistance; and U.S. trade rules allow coffee sourced from independent suppliers to be imported, however, with the rise of communism in Cuba, the government nationalized coffee farms.
With low production and exports long diverted to other nations, odds are it will take years not months to redevelop the links in a supply chain from Cuba to the U.S.