An international team of specialty coffee professionals on a mission to support regenerative agriculture has planted a flag under the name Futura Coffee Roasters in the Montavilla neighborhood of Portland, Oregon.
In a fully remodeled 1,100-square-foot corner location formerly occupied by the roastery cafe Fillmore Coffee, Futura is selling coffees of its own that reflect innovations in processing, trading and environmental stewardship.
To open the shop, the Futura founders have planted a $5,000 seed for a soil regeneration fund, towards which 3% of sales from the Futura coffee bar will head.
The cafe space offers a bright, modern and tropical vibe, with sculpted archways, abundant leafy plants, high ceilings and small artistic details. Petal-like textile shades handmade in Colombia dress pendants that cast a gentle light towards sandy clay tiles handmade in California by McIntyre Tile.
Representing Portland in the Futura Coffee Roasters venture is CJ Speelman, the owner of Tanager Coffee and The Arbor Lodge coffee shop. Speelman is joined in the business by Colombian founding partners Sebastian Villamizar, Felipe Sardi, Elisa Madriñan, Laura Escovar and Camilo Reyes.
Villamizar is managing partner at Colombian coffee export company Equation Coffee. Futura founders are also involved with Creativa Coffee District, a producer and mill located in the Chiriquí province of Boquete, Panama.
Sardi and Madriñan are co-founders of the renowned Colombian coffee producer La Palma & El Tucán, while Sardi is also a cofounder of Libertario Coffee Roasters, a Colombian roasting company with three shops in Bogotá and one in Cartagena. Sardi and Madriñan are also at the helm of Biodiversal, a general interest and benefit corporation, known as Empresa BIC in Colombia, spun off from La Palma y El Tucán after the farm’s own transition to regenerative agriculture.
“Biodiversal’s mission is to build resilience among small scale coffee growers by helping them transition from a monoculture mindset to a regenerative agriculture production system,” Felipe Sardi told Daily Coffee News. “It operates in the rural region of Cundinamarca, in Zipacón municipality, where the first group of coffee growing families are engaging in new agroecological productive projects.”
Speelman said that at the end of each calendar year, money collected into the soil regeneration fund will be split in half, with 50% devoted to projects led by Biodiversal geared towards farmers’ adoption of regenerative agriculture practices, and 50% directed to regenerative soil projects among farmers in Oregon.
Green coffees sourced through Equation and roasted by Speelman on the Probat L12 at Portland’s Aspect Coffee Works are complemented within the Futura shop by all-organic greenery and flowers from local outfit Small Yard Flowers.
The pastry case is repopulated daily by fresh goods from local companies Tabor Bread and Shoofly Vegan Bakery. An on-site kitchen provides bowls, South American-inspired breakfast sandwiches and other made-from-scratch items composed of locally sourced seasonal produce and grains under the watch of chef Connor Martin.
“It is deeply important to us that our food menu reflects who we are as a company,” said Speelman. “We are committed to sourcing local ingredients from farmers who share our commitments and values to using regenerative agriculture as much as possible.”
With a website under construction and a wholesale roasting business in development, Futura’s retail service at the cafe soft-opened to the public last month. A series of small opening gatherings is being organized for the coming weeks.
“Our mission for soil regeneration requires us to get in touch with neighborhood associations and key input providers to share our vision and agree on a common agenda to drive local impact,” said Speelman. “Our plan is to ultimately have our own roastery, but we are grateful to Aspect for all of the work they have done working with small roasters in the Portland area and will continue to work with them as long as possible. We are dedicated to approaching wholesale from a well-rounded perspective, ensuring that each wholesale partner has their needs met… We also want to clearly communicate our regenerative mission as a coffee company, and that wholesale partners share those values as well.”
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.