Sometimes You Just Need Strong Coffee

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by MilwVon on May 15, 2013

UPDATED 8/5/13: Note Alterra Coffee Roasters has changed their name to Colectivo Coffee. New branding to include logos is being implemented hroughout Milwaukee.

Alterra Coffee Roasters was founded about 20 years ago in the City of Milwaukee by three guys who just needed some strong coffee. What they have created is what I would call "Starbucks meets Panera Bread". Appearing in published top ten lists such as Forbes Travel Magazine's "Ten Hottest Coffeehouses" and GQ's "ten places to get the best coffee in America" Alterra Coffee has expanded throughout the Milwaukee area to bring folks great coffee and baked goods.

During our day out, the three of us decided we needed a bit of a light snack. Since the guys felt they needed a bit of a caffeine pick-me-up, the Alterra Cafe in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee was a perfect choice.

Alterra Coffee Roasters was founded in 1994. The original three founders literally traveled the world in search of the best coffee beans to bring to Milwaukee and their roasting process. Today, they feature coffees from Asia and the Pacific Rim, Africa and the Americas. Coffee connoisseurs can enjoy a fresh cup at a local Alterra cafe, or buy packaged coffee (whole beans or ground) to take home. There are also a number of retailers and restaurants that now feature Alterra coffee. Recently, they have launched an "in-office" coffee program to bring their wonderful coffee into the workplace.

A couple of their cafe locations also serve other purposes. The Humbolt location is their primary roasting facility and also houses a bakery. For those locations not physically large enough to have a bakery, the Humbolt location, along with the one we visited in Bay View provides enough production to supply the others.

It was neat to be able to watch them make breads and pastries during our visit. There was a large rack of their multi-grain bread ready for packaging. Later during our visit, they could be observed hand-making croissants. It was quite an impressive operation!

As for our dining options, I had a small fruit bowl consisting of melon, cantaloupe, pineapple, grapes and strawberry slices. David went with a freshly baked, still warm from the oven blueberry muffin, while our friend Jud had quiche. He made me promise to tell people . . . "yes real men to eat quiche!" David also enjoyed a cappuccino while Jud kept it simple with a large freshly brewed coffee.

David has become a bit of a coffee snob himself and unfortunately, Alterra Coffee Roasters does not carry products from Hawaii or Kenya (the two locales that he's really taken a liking to for his coffee). So we didn't buy any beans to go, although Jud did buy some for his home pantry.

One of the outstanding features of all of the Alterra Cafes is their commitment to the community and the recycling of resources. Each of their cafes have been built using recycled building materials and participate in WE Energies' "Energy for Tomorrow" program designed promote the use of renewable energy sources. Directly from the WE Energies' website: "Energy for Tomorrow directly supports electricity production from renewable resources such as wind, water and organic materials by charging you a slightly higher price for your energy." WOW . . . our energy prices are already high in Wisconsin. It takes a real commitment to the environment to be willing to pay MORE in support of renewable energy sources!

Anyway, Alterra Coffee Roasters is a good corporate citizen and and leader in our community. If your travels include Milwaukee or the surrounding suburbs, I hope you will enjoy a visit to one of their many cafes. They offer free WiFi at most locations, so what better option while out and about, than a stop for a snack & beverage while cruising the internet? For locations and hours of operation, check them out at

Alterra Coffee - Bay View
2301 South Kinnickinnic Avenue
Milwaukee, 53207
(414) 744-6117

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