Seattle: Milstead & Co.
Words by Joanna Han Photographs by Michael A. Muller
We asked Andrew Milstead a few questions about his highly praised multi-roaster coffee shop Milstead & Co.
Since opening in late 2011, Milstead & Co. has been bringing Seattle the best coffees from all over the country. In addition to local favorites such as Kuma, Milstead currently offers coffee from Bows & Arrows from Victoria, B.C., Heart from Portland and Wrecking Ball from San Francisco. Pulling shots from a Strada MP and brewing mainly with the AeroPress and Clever Dripper, the Milstead team seeks to provide the highest quality of coffee available with the highest quality service possible. “My hope is that we can contribute an environment that is welcoming and safe for people of all kinds—coffee neophytes, industry pros, etc.—to explore and enjoy the world of coffee,” says Andrew.
Tell us about how Milstead & Co. got started. We opened our doors on September 13, 2011. A lease was signed, tables and bars built, shelves constructed and stocked with the tastiest of coffees, and all for a simple and perhaps silly purpose: Coffee is an incredibly complex, enrapturing beverage, and we are crazy about it. There is always something more to learn, a new amazing coffee to experience, or an old favorite to remember. Having these experiences, and most importantly, having the desire to share them with others, is what we are all about.
Tell us about your background. How did you get into coffee? How long have you been in the industry? My roots take me back to Maryland, where I learned to appreciate coffee for its ability to deliver fuel to skateboard for a few extra hours or catch lightning bugs late into the night. My real passion for coffee began after I followed my big sister out to the Midwest to start college. Her boyfriend was kind enough to provide me with a barista position at the café he managed and it snowballed from there. The café sourced coffee and roasted in store, which meant that I was immediately exposed to variety and origin, how variations in roast degree would bring out very different flavors and it was these nuances that had me hooked. During these years, I worked in many roles; barista, roaster, trainer, consultant and participated in every coffee event I could in order to absorb as much knowledge as possible. When I finished college, I decided to seek new opportunities in coffee and packed my bags for Seattle.
What’s your favorite part about your job? Training new staff and teaching our guests brings me the greatest joy. It is always so rewarding to be a part of someone finding a passion for coffee.
Where do you hope the coffee scene in Seattle will be in five years? I look forward to a continued focus on service, the appreciation of quality coffees and a larger dialogue in general. As the specialty industry continues its course it will continue to face unique economic and environmental issues. With greater dialogue and awareness the better we will be equipped to navigate these issues and serve our guests. In the ten years that make up my coffee experience, the past six have been in Seattle and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have met a multitude of amazing people here, all of whom have helped shape and form my knowledge and skills, and ultimately have made Milstead & Co a reality.
Any exciting plans for Milstead in the near future? As we continue to grow we will continue to add new staff members. With each staff member added we have the ability to expand our program and offer more to our guests. We are hopeful that we will soon be able to offer greater assistance with home brewing skills and eventually offer public cuppings.
770 N 34th St
Seattle, WA 98103