Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet
1994
July 1994: The beginnings of Coffee By Design.  Co-owners, Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Spear, in front of the Congress Street coffeehouse.
today
Coffee By Design's Congress Street coffeehouse's new facade, after a Downtown Facade grant program enabled us to update in 2010.
 



 

 

 

Coffee By Design
Portland, ME

Coffee by Design is dedicated to changing the world one cup of coffee at time.”

When we opened the doors to our first coffeehouse in Portland, Maine in 1994, we started a community coffee company as a husband/wife team with this belief at the heart of everything we do.

Part of that commitment is our goal to become 100 percent sustainable. We work hard to protect the environment— buying only sustainable coffee, using compostable cold cups, and donating grounds to local farmers for compost. Our micro-roastery is run by solar energy, thanks to the recent installation of 44 solar panels with help from Revision Solar, another Maine-based company.

The solar panels are expected to produce about half of the power used in the facility, offsetting roughly 18,000 lbs of C02 emissions from conventional electricity sources.

Our mission is simple: provide the best quality coffee, educate our customers about specialty coffee, and use our power as a small business to support our environment and our community – locally and worldwide.

Today, we employ 46 people in four retail locations in Portland and Freeport, Maine, and a coffee micro roastery, which roasts more than 30 specialty coffees.

Building Community Connections
We started our business with our two passions in mind – coffee and the community. We are proud to take a leadership role in improving our community – along with the international community where we purchase only the top 1% of Arabica coffee beans. All Coffee By Design coffee has 100% traceability – back to the exact farms where it was grown. 

We’re all about relationship coffee. That is why we travel to different coffee regions to build relationships with the farmers and growers we do business with. We only work with the co-ops and growers who share our standards and beliefs in environmental and economic stability. 

One of the relationships developed in our travels inspired us to create the Jardin Project, where we funded the construction of a kitchen and dining facility at a school for underprivileged children in Jardin, Colombia.

We’re also dedicated to seeing our Maine community thrive. From serving on the Downtown Portland Corporation Board to co-founding Portland Buy Local, Coffee By Design has been active in strengthening the local economy. We created “Community Coffees” to help raise funds and awareness for area organizations and we provide annual grants to Maine artists and organizations from the sales of our best-selling Rebel Blend coffee.

Using the Green to go Green
As a coffee company dedicated to the community and the environment, we’re both humbled and honored to be among the nominees for the People & Planet Award. If we are fortunate enough to receive the award funding, we would follow our passion of sustainability to make major retail upgrades, while supporting another green Maine business: Beachstone.

The award would allow us to replace our existing countertops made from particleboard and Formica as well as badly worn tabletops with Beachstone Sustainable Surfaces. Beachstone countertop products are made of recycled glass and seashells.

Beachstone products divert post consumer glass and seashells from landfill deposits and is good for the environment because the manufacturer avoids wasteful use of water in the polishing process and the manufacturing facility is day lit and highly insulated. We can think of no better way to improve our business than by supporting another Maine-owned company dedicated to sustainability. 

Thank you!
Mary Allen Lindemann & Alan Spear

renovations Coffee Beans

Coffee By Design co-owners, Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Spear, during the Washington Avenue roastery building and office renovation in 2009.  Photo was taken for an article which discussed how we were renovating our space using eco-friendly products and energy-saving features.

Alan with a coffee farm owner at La Pastora in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Guatemala
Alan in Costa Rica with children of migrant coffee pickers during harvest.

Mary Allen in Guatemala with Paula Cruz, farmer worker, at Santa Felisa Farm.

La Manita Panama

Mary Allen picking coffee cherries at La Minita Estate in Costa Rica.  

Mary Allen and Alan with indigenous coffee farmers in Panama.  One of our early and most favorite journeys!

Cupping Maya
Alan cupping coffees in Brazil. 

Alan meeting on a coffee farm with the Maya Ixil Co-Op members in Santa Avelina, Guatemala.