Building from Here: Campos Coffee Roastery & Cafe

By January 22, 2019Ideas

On the surface, Australia and Utah may not seem to be cut from the same cloth. But to Damian Roche, owner of Australia’s beloved Campos Coffee, the community vibe and outdoor environment of Park City reminded him a lot of his home country. He and his wife particularly enjoyed the creative international crowd that converged around the mountains of Park City each winter, so they decided to become part-time locals. The natural next step was bringing Campos Coffee to the neighborhood.

Built on the simple concept of Quality Coffee, Cultivated by Good, Campos works hand in hand with coffee growers all over the world—investing in their communities and helping them nurture the best crops, maximize their incomes and care for their families. The Campos team puts their heart into everything from harvesting beans on the farms to roasting and tasting coffee in house, to serving customers the most flavorful, ethically and sustainably grown product possible. It’s exactly the kind of business Utah’s booming population of locals could get behind.

Damian invited his long-time Campos collaborator Ian Pope to oversee the development of a small Campos Café at the base of Park City Ski Resort in 2017. With the help of trusted contractor Brad Hansen, who also served as project manager, they had it up and running in a record six weeks. The café was so well received that they decided to build their North American flagship roastery and café in the central business district of nearby Salt Lake City.

“Once we shared what we were building and how it would contribute to the local economy, people really wanted to help,” said Ian, “Salt Lake City is emerging and changing, and the community came out and said we need this in downtown and the timing for this space at 228 Edison Street is just right.”

The Lloyd team dug in and created a pitch presentation for the building’s tenant-improvement fund, which included a 3D model of what the space could become. The turning point was an animated daylight study showing how a large skylight in the ceiling and massive windows along the front would allow natural light to move through the building over the course of a day. Everyone was sold on the project.

“We loved that there were no corporate guidelines or requirements from Campos for our design. We were given total autonomy to create something completely one of a kind, and just right for Salt Lake City,” said Warren Lloyd.

There were two sides to the 3,740-square-foot building, one built in the 1930s and one in the 1980s. The older side would become the coffee bar and café with a full commercial kitchen preparing hearty Australian fare. The smaller, newer side, which required an addition for green bean storage, would become the a full-operation roastery and training area. There would also be a rooftop terrace for seasonal use.

The team got the building permit in the fall of 2017 and started on the project in January 2018, demolishing the inside frame and exposing brick walls, wooden ceiling beams and other intriguing historical details. It quickly became clear that this wasn’t just a touch-up. It was a deep renovation. And the more of the building they exposed, the more they realized they’d have to put into it—much more than originally anticipated.

“Plans are one thing, but actually seeing it take shape and what they had to do to make this space habitable was incredible,” said Ian, “We basically had to tunnel to Australia to get the sewage system and the grease interceptor to the back corner of this place,” said Ian, “I think we went eight feet down. It was one hell of a trench.”

Upgrades involved structural stabilization like new concrete slabs in the flooring, as well as a new timber beam above the roastery to provide extra support for the rooftop. In addition, both sides of the building had to be insulated and re-roofed to improve drainage and reduce the urban heat-island effect. And the open-space floor plan and needs of the roastery called for a new VRF HVAC system to add high-efficiency, zoned temperature control throughout the building.

The team exposed and reused existing materials whenever possible, both for sustainability and to connect guests to the history of the building. So when health regulations required a slick wall that could be wiped clean behind the coffee bar, the team simply covered the exposed brick in clear glass to maintain its authenticity. In bringing to life the incredible natural lighting from the original pitch, they installed expansive, steel-framed hangar-style windows all along the front of the building.

“Those windows ensure that even on the gloomiest winter day, the café is flooded with natural light,” said Warren, “And on warmer days, they open up and inspire friendly pockets of indoor-outdoor interaction.”

From the street and the café you can see the large Loring roaster that highlights the processing of the coffee beans. Behind it is the cupping bench where new employees train and the Campos staff tastes the latest roast to ensure the highest quality and flavor. When the café gets full, the cupping bench becomes overflow seating. There’s even a custom-built indoor rack for customers’ bikes and a roll-up garage door nearby for use as needed.

“This is my favorite area of Campos Salt Lake City,” said Ian of the cupping bench, “It’s a co-use space — a meeting ground for wholesale and retail. When the café is really bustling, with training happening over here and customers sitting right there, there are no barriers between our customers and what we do. Just as we like it.”

Lloyd worked with interior design firm Root’d and the master craftspeople at Project Sunday to solve some of the building’s unique design challenges. Project Sunday ended up constructing a variety of unique elements like the custom hand-cranked cupping bench, point-of-sale counter, back bar, communal tables and window units that were key to making this a space like no other.

“It was the exciting level of creativity that drew us to this project,” said Kevin Jateff from Project Sunday, “It wasn’t run-of-the-mill, and really let us push ourselves while using our bread-and-butter materials of steel, white oak and plaster.”

On the wall next to the cupping station are a row of aprons that bring it all back to Quality Coffee, Cultivated by Good. They hail from Costa Rica, Colombia and Brazil—just a few of the international Cup of Excellence competitions Campos has been invited judge. Events like these help the Campos team discover exceptional coffee, reward farmers with a better quality of life and give employees a chance to connect with global coffee culture.

“I’ve never seen a company that puts so much effort into giving back,” said Ian. In fact, Campos maintains at least one social project in each region where they purchase coffee. So far they’ve built a school in Papua New Guinea, created student housing in Ethiopia, donated a tractor in Kenya and supported cardiovascular health initiatives in Rwanda, to name a few. In Colombia they pay an excise on top of the price of coffee that goes to farmers in support of better growing practices.

“We’re a local company with our roots in Australia. We’re self-sufficient. We pay our staff above-average wages. Our benefits are incredible. We’ve worked with locals on both our branding and architecture. We roast our coffee right here in Salt Lake City. Absolutely nothing about us is corporate,” said Ian.

Salt Lake City couldn’t be happier about all of that. After opening on November 19, 2018, the new Campos Coffee Roastery and Café instantly became a hub of local activity and excitement, offering coffee-related classes and other events, as well as some of the best brunch in town. Another inspiring example of Building from Here™.

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