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Milstead & Co.

June 25, 2012

I try not to go to Seattle.  To me, Seattle is like Porltand’s angry older brother.  The younger one is cuter.  The younger one is smarter.  The younger one has better coffee shops.  You get the idea.  But that’s not to say there are no good shops in Seattle.  That would obviously be insane.  There are two.  And recently I went to one of them, Milstead.

Milstead opened fairly recently as the love child of Andrew Milstead, competitive barista and latte’ artist extraordinaire.  I was in town the week he opened for Coffee Fest and my buddy Ryan Wilbur told us he was going to be working shifts there, so we went to check it out.  On that visit I got to interview Andrew a bit and I asked him some of the types of questions that haunt me at all times.  What did you do that you would totally recommend?  What did you do that you would absolutely not repeat?  What went the way you thought it was going to?  What was a huge surprise?  And so on.  His answers weren’t especially enlightening, and that’s not the point here.  The point is, after that experience I went back.  About six months later.

Andrew Milstead, of Milstead & Co.

On this experience I got to see what had evolved.  What he had stuck with and what he had changed.  He kept his slick little milk holder with near-by pitcher rinser right near the bar.  He kept his non-descript pastry case tucked over by the wall.  He kept his condiments near the back of the room where you had to almost have a day pack to get to them.  But I noticed he had changed a few things too.  He had updated the entry to make it more clear where to go when you enter.  He had some better signage.  And I wasn’t sure, but it seemed like he was working on updating his pour over process.  (I didn’t order a pour over so I can’t say for sure).  He had gotten some really nice art on the walls.  And so on.  I guess the point is, it was kind of cool to see the process continue to unfold almost in front of my eyes.  It was a unique experience.

And the coffee?  Well, I’ve wasted so much time with this little what-happens-when-people-do-a-buildout fascination that I won’t spend so much time on the coffee. But it was really good, and if you’re ever looking for a great shop in Seattle – especially if you can get over to the Fremont district (and I recommend that you do) then you should definitely check it out.  Andrew’s doing great work, and will continue to passionately pursue excellence in all ways.  Plus you can go hike on the trail underneath the bridge and look at houseboats.  

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