Colectivo Coffee Roasters

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Colectivo Coffee Roasters is a specialty coffee roaster based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Until July 2013, the company was known as Alterra Coffee Roasters. Colectivo roasts its coffee and makes all its food products in Milwaukee and is known nationwide as a wholesale coffee supplier.


The company was founded in 1993 by Lincoln Fowler, Ward Fowler and Paul Miller. There are currently 16 locations owned and operated by Colectivo in the Milwaukee & Madison metropolitan areas in Wisconsin, and 3 kiosks licensed to the company SSP America at Mitchell International Airport.[1]

Alterra Baking Company (now Troubadour Bakery) was created in 1999, and in 2007, moved to a new location on Humboldt Boulevard in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood along with the roastery. In 2012, a new bakery was built in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood. Colectivo's roastery and headquarters remain on Humboldt Boulevard.[2] In 2010, Mars Incorporated acquired the rights to the Alterra Coffee Roasters name. Mars uses the brand on its single-serve coffee packets for Flavia office brewers. The Milwaukee-based Alterra itself remained local while continuing to use the name and acquired resources to expand.[3]

Name Change[edit]

In 2013, the company changed its name to Colectivo Coffee Roasters. The Alterra name is no longer associated with Colectivo, and is used exclusively by Mars Drinks.[3] The name Colectivo is taken from the “artful and funky buses used for public transportation across Latin America... and the iconic part of everyday life they represent for everyday people.”[4] The owners and a few employees traveled to Guatemala and bought a vintage restored 1958 colectivo, which is to make appearances in Milwaukee beginning in 2013.[5]


The company has been recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for its extensive efforts in expanding green power awareness. It was listed as an EPA Green Power Partner in recognition of its 100% use of green energy sourced from wind power, biomass decomposition, solar energy, and small hydroelectric plants.[6] In 2004, it won the Green Power Leadership Award.[7] In 2008, the Humboldt Boulevard location won Best Environmentally Friendly Project from the Milwaukee Business Journal Real Estate Awards.[8] It was also awarded the Heart of the Community Award by Wisconsin Commercial Real Estate Women.[8] The 2008 Building Blocks Award from State Farm Insurance MANDI Awards also went to the Humboldt cafe.[8]

In 2013, the Bay View cafe and bakery received the Real Estate Award from the Milwaukee Business Journal for its "impact on the Milwaukee Area."[9] Complex City Guide named Colectivo one of the best coffee roasters in the US in 2013.[10] OnMilwaukee awarded Colectivo "Milwaukee's Best Coffee Shop/Cafe" of 2013, with the company winning both editors' choice and readers' choice.[11] The company has been sending baristas to compete in the United States Barista Championship events since 2007. Barista Trainer Scott Lucey placed 3rd in the 2008 United States Barista Championship and was the 2009 Great Lakes Regional Barista Champion.[12] Josh Wismans of Colectivo became the 2013 North Central Regional Barista Champion at the Big Central Regional Barista Competition.[13]


Colectivo is known for its community presence, sponsoring and partnering with many local businesses and events. Notable partners include the Pabst and Riverside Theaters and Turner Hall, the Florentine Opera and the Urban Ecology Center.[14] It is a member of Local First Milwaukee, a network of more than 200 local businesses and non-profits that emphasizes the importance of buying local products.[15]


  1. ^ a b Colectivo Coffee. "Colectivo Cafes". Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Alterra Through the Years."". 
  3. ^ a b Romell, Rick (August 3, 2013). "Mars banks on Alterra name and symbolism". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 
  4. ^ "Colectivo Coffee: About". 
  5. ^ "Laasby, Gitte, and Rick Romnell. "Alterra name change to Colectivo has customers buzzing." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 29 July 2013. Web. Retrieved 23 Sept. 2013.". 
  6. ^ Green Power Partnership
  7. ^ "Green Power Partnership". 
  8. ^ a b c "Alterra Coffee Headquarters" (PDF). Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Remediation and Redevelopment Program. February 2010. 
  9. ^ "Milwaukee Business Journal". 
  10. ^ "Complex City Guide". 
  11. ^ "OnMilwaukee". 
  12. ^ Alterra Coffee Press Release: "Alterra Barista Scott Lucey Wins First Place at Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition in Chicago!"
  13. ^ "Sinclair, Llewellyn. "Josh Wismans and Tyler Rovenstine Are Your 2014 Big Central Champs!" Sprudge". 
  14. ^ "Colectivo Coffee: Community". 
  15. ^ "Local First Milwaukee: Members".