Milstead & Company Takes Up Residence a Short Stroll From Fremont's Troll"/>
It is a whirlwind time of year for Seattle. As weather begins to bluster, days become shorter, clouds roll in, and leaves begin to hint at changing colors, Seattle gets busy preparing to ward off the urge to hibernate with our homemade sunshine substitute: coffee.
Andrew Milstead, brewing a Clever cup of coffee at his new cafe in Fremont.
If you follow the coffee world, this time of year feels a little "all coffee, all the time." Events can get tricky to keep up with. Next weekend is Coffee Fest; within the past week, new roasters sneaked into town, the 2010 World Barista Champion casually "dropped by" our city to pull shots for a couple of days, and--oh, yeah--Milstead & Co. finally opened its doors in Fremont, with what was possibly one of the most thoroughly tweeted cafe openings coffee has yet seen. And deservedly so, as the cafe brings a surprisingly fresh concept to Seattle's coffee scene.
Andrew Milstead, the shop's owner, is well known in the local community as both a former manager (for the Urban Coffee Lounge) and a nationally competitive barista. He knows his coffee, and he's setting out to educate others about it as well, via a cafe with a varied coffee menu.
One of the questions people seeking to learn about coffee love to ask of people who supposedly know something about it is "What is the best coffee?" Or variations on this question. Which roaster is your favorite? Where is Seattle's best cafe? . . . It can make you want to stamp a Facebook status on your forehead: It's complicated. Or, as more gracefully put by Milstead in an interview with the Fremont Universe, "The simple fact is that no single coffee roaster has access to every phenomenal coffee out there."
There just isn't a best coffee. Espresso is complex, varied, better on some days than others. Regions of the world suffer drought or see especially good crops. One defective bean in an otherwise award-winning bag of Rwandan holds the potential to ruin the entire bag. Not all coffee is created equal for every brew method. And sometimes, coffee drinkers themselves possess incredibly pronounced preferences.
Milstead & Co. will be one of only a handful of cafes in existence thus far to address the diversity and complexity of coffee through consistently carrying a menu featuring several roasters, including Intelligentsia, Stumptown, and Coava Coffee Roasters out of Portland. Expect to find drastically different espresso options on bar simultaneously, existing alongside a pour-over menu accentuated by more than one pour-over method.
Morning espresso at Milstead & Co.
Don't look for drip coffee, or for any other beverage not brewed to order. Expect a dearth of flavored syrups; try unadulterated coffee! And surprisingly enough, don't bother expecting to get snubbed. You will find plenty of professional baristas from around town lingering by the bar here on their days off, but Milstead's staff (and Andrew Milstead himself) are almost shocking in their genuine desire to share good coffee with the rest of the world.
Milstead & Co. is located just down the street from the Fremont Troll, at 770 N. 34th St. Currently in "soft open" mode, and scheduled for a grand-opening party this week, the best way to get the scoop on the goings-on is by following their Twitter feed.