Don Francisco’s Coffee: A California Dynasty and American Success Story

Joel Eisenberg
Don Francisco’sPhoto byDon Francisco’s

Author's Note

Sources for this article include corporate postings, media reports, and direct interviews. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets: and

International Coffee Day

Today, October 1st, is International Coffee Day, an annual affair celebrated around the globe. International Coffee Day was launched in Milan, Italy, on October 3rd, 2015, by the International Coffee Organization (ICO), a United Nations concern formed to recognize the economic importance of coffee.

Though the United States officially withdrew from the ICO's International Coffee Agreement in June of 2018 and International Coffee Day has since changed to October 1st, the day is still nationally celebrated, in part for promoting fair trade coffee and recognizing the plight of coffee growers.

See for further information.

One such storied brand celebrated on this day is California's own Don Francisco's Coffee, the product of a family-owned operation spanning multiple generations and an authentic American success story.

About Don Francisco's Coffee

Don Francisco's Coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans and sourced from the world's most acclaimed coffee growing regions. The brand is available in several flavors, many of which you can see in the above image, and for distinct brewing methods.

The coffees, some single origins, can be purchased at most local California grocers,, and the company's Amazon store. Don Francisco's Coffee is California roasted and brought to you by California-based and family-owned The Gaviña Coffee Company.

The company's flagship brand is Don Francisco's Coffee, but they are also the makers of the Latin style espresso Cafe La Llave, in addition to Jose's Gourmet Coffee at Costco and Gaviña Gourmet Coffee.

A Gaviña Family Affair

In celebration of both International Coffee Day and Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th - October 15th), recognizing the contributions of the Gaviña family as it regards one of America's favorite beverages is a simple matter of necessity.

The Gaviña family has been in the coffee business for nearly 160 years as growers and roasters. In 2017, they celebrated their 50th anniversary as roasters in Los Angeles.

Today, the company is comprised of fourth-generation family coffee roasters, led by Lisette Gaviña Lopez, her sister Lilly Gaviña Glascott, and cousins Michael Gaviña and Frank Gaviña.

As the company partners with farmers who believe in a greener footprint and their packaging is recyclable at no cost for consumers via, following that ethos their plant is a zero-waste-to-landfill roastery.

The Gaviña Coffee Company has created hundreds of jobs, and it is fair to state they have helped grow the local economy. They give back to the communities they serve via coffee and cash donations to food banks and other charities, including during September 29th's National Coffee Day and today's International Coffee Day.

Don Francisco's Coffee pioneered in supermarkets whole bean coffee in bags. Their first customer was Louis Foods in South Pasadena.

Who Was Francisco Gaviña?

According to company website, and an interview with fourth-generation family coffee roaster Lisette Gaviña Lopez, the company's Chairman of the Board and Managing Director overseeing Sales & Marketing, the patriarch of the company who brought the product to Los Angeles had a storied history.

Born in Trinidad, Cuba, where his family had been growing coffee since 1870, Francisco Gaviña received his degree in the U.S. and worked at the Federal Reserve Bank before returning to Cuba to look after his ill father. During this period, he obtained a license to roast coffee grown and processed at the family farm.

Wishing to start over in America, Los Angeles specifically, Francisco was 60 years old when he arrived in California by way of Spain, where he, his wife, Anatolia, and four children lived in exile from Cuba after the communist revolution in 1959.

It took Francisco four years to find his way back into the family business, and nearly four years thereafter to establish F. Gaviña & Sons Inc., the original company name. Don Francisco's U.S. roasting business was launched in 1967. Initially, the company focused on roasting Cuban-style coffee, but later expanded into coffees for other ethnic markets including bold espresso blends to appeal to Middle Eastern and Vietnamese tastes.

From there, the company learned how Americans drank their coffee and Don Francisco's Coffee was born.
Francisco GaviñaPhoto byDon Francisco’s

Yes, I Drink This Coffee

As a California resident, I believe in supporting California businesses. As an avid coffee drinker, I've been drinking Don Francisco's Coffee for years but was not aware the company itself was California-based until recently.

I'm partial to the brand's dark roast and espresso varieties; my wife is partial to the medium roast.

For fellow Californians, I heartedly recommend this company's product, which is high-quality across-the-board and inexpensive compared to most major brands.

Readers can follow the company on X and Instagram @DonFranciscos, and on Facebook.
The Don Francisco’s Coffee Family TodayPhoto byDon Francisco’s

Special Thanks

Daniel Bellas of the De La Group called my attention to the California auspices of Don Francisco's Coffee and associated brands, and sent me various flavors to sample of which I was unfamiliar. I would also like to thank Lisette Gaviña Lopez for taking the time to speak with me for this article.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

Northridge, CA

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