Sorry, Cuba, Starbucks Can’t Bring You Pumpkin Spice Lattes Just Yet

By Mike Pomranz |


Last week, the Obama administration further reduced restrictions on U.S. companies looking to do business in Cuba. Since we’re deep in the heart of Pumpkin Spice Latte season, surely someone at Starbucks must have started dreaming of the chance to continue the brand’s global takeover by bringing PSLs to the island nation and finally allowing them to get their basic bitch on. But Reuters actually did their research and, alas, the Cuban dream of sucking down 400 calories of whipped cream–topped, pumpkin-flavored goodness at a Starbucks across the street from another Starbucks, is still far from a reality.

First and foremost, even though the U.S. has loosened some laws, plenty of restrictive regulations are still in place. And of course, any new businesses looking to enter the Cuban market would need approval from the Cuban government as well. For a company like Starbucks, the results can be confusing. As the rules are now, the coffee company could do business in Cuba, but they wouldn’t be able to sell drinks prepared on site; instead, they’d only be able to sell packaged coffee, according to John Kavulich, president of the US-Cuba Trade and Economic Council.

“You don’t just go down to Cuba and hang up your shingles,” Kirby Jones, who heads Alamar Associates, a company that has been providing businesses with advice on Cuba for decades, told Reuters. “That’s not how it operates.” For its part, Starbucks representatives said the company has no plans to open up shop there.

So could this be a chance for some other coffee brand to get the jump on the world’s best-known coffee shop? Come on, Tully’s. Here’s your chance!

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