The coffee options couldn’t have been more on point, with the 1994 Blend and the Diamond Street Blend being served at Coffee By Design’s 25th anniversary open house June 30 at the Diamond Street shop and roastery. The six-hour event featured a coffee blending competition, a coffee tasting, a nonprofit fair and performances by singers, dancers and drummers from around the world.

“Coffee By Design goes out of its way to be inclusive and inviting in a way that makes it more than a coffee shop,” said Katie Tomer. “I see it as a community builder and as a catalyst for social change.”

Alina Lindemann Spear, left, with jazz singer Viva.

Coffee By Design has three locations in Portland, one in Freeport, a cafe at Idexx’s headquarters in Westbrook and hundreds of wholesale accounts, employing 65 Mainers. It all starts with coffee beans procured through socially responsible business relationships with farmers and co-ops in Brazil, Burundi, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras and Indonesia.

“It has been great since the beginning to be part of both the local community and the global community,” said co-founder Alan Spear.

“It’s almost like something started that is bigger than us, that other people are taking it and moving it forward,” said co-founder Mary Allen Lindemann. “To see the diversity of Portland here today, everyone celebrating together, is amazing.”

“I love what Mary Allen does, not only helping coffee growers but helping people here in the immigrant community and also just her generosity – with coffee and with herself,” said Shari Shambaugh of Portland.


“Coffee By Design is a company that gets involved in the work we do, bringing people together,” said Alain Nahimana, executive director of the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, where Lindemann serves on the board of directors.

“They are supportive to so many different nonprofits,” said Jeanne DiSciullo of Gorham. “And they have good coffee too, so it was a good place to come after church.”

Mana Abdi, who is originally from Kenya, came from Lewiston to see the Burundi dancers and the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, honoring the country where coffee was discovered.

“This is very American, the fusion of cultures,” Abdi said. “In Africa, we don’t really do coffee runs.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at [email protected].

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