Through a joint venture named with the portmanteau of Castella LLC., the Rose City compatriots have pooled their resources to invest in a privately shared 2,750-square-foot production facility in an industrial building in Northeast Portland featuring ample floor space, rack shelving and an 18-kilo US Roaster Corp machine.
Spella Caffè, the senior company of three, was founded by Andrea Spella in October 2006 and continues to rely primarily on “Rossalina,” its beloved 5.5-kilo US Roaster Corp machine in its own Southeast Portland roastery. Andrea Spella told DCN his company will utilize the new roastery for occasional larger projects and future wholesale growth. The sole Spella Caffè retail bar remains temporarily closed.
“I came up with the idea for us three to join forces for the new roastery project,” Andrea Spella told Daily Coffee News. “Both [Sterling and Cascadia founders] are close friends and they both apprenticed with me years ago to learn the roasting trade.”
All three companies bring a slightly different approach to coffee and roasting within the space, making for a dynamic mix.
“What Spella does is revere and continue the art of Italian Espresso, married with American ingenuity and techniques,” Spella said. “I have been a lifelong student of the art, growing up with it as part of our daily life. As the coffee world moves forward heavily with the ‘Third Wave Movement,’ we’re here to keep the origin of espresso intact and relevant.”
An early force in the Third Wave tsunami that helped characterize Portland’s coffee scene today, 12-year-old Sterling Coffee is excited for the substantial step up in its own roasting capacity after previously roasting on a 6-kilo machine in a small space elsewhere in town.
“We all wanted to lower our cost of production and increase our capacity because we grew dramatically during the pandemic,” Sterling Coffee Co-Owner Adam McGovern told Daily Coffee News. “A larger roaster also makes reasonable wholesale pricing possible. Finally, we all have worked together in various capacities for over a decade, and enjoy each others’ company.”
Sterling, which operates one cafe in Northwest Portland, and Cascadia, which operates two, have both shifted the entirety of their roasting operations into the new facility, which also houses Cascadia’s increasingly in-demand instant coffee production line.
Cascadia Coffee Roasters was founded by Jason Thomas roughly seven years ago as the roasted coffee supplier for Coffee Time, the decades-old Portland indie coffee institution bought by his wife Susan Thomas in 2011. It later opened the Cascadia Coffee Pub in Northwest Portland and has recently started working with a co-packer to manage its exploding 1,200-gallon-per-month cold brew business.
“My favorite part of the whole thing is that even though technically you might say we’re competitors against each other, we’re very different companies offering different things to our community, and by collaborating we actually make it a better city with better offerings,” Jason Thomas told Daily Coffee News. “I consider these guys friends, and having a production facility where our teams are in here working at the same time, we’ve figured out how to make it work. [There’s] enough separation that we keep our operations different, but then enough collaboration that there’s always a great vibe in the space.”
With the increase in space and roasting capacity, all three companies anticipate growth in their wholesale roasting businesses.
Tell DCN’s editors about your new coffee shop or roastery here.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.