12. Milstead & Co., Seattle


Owner Andrew Milstead has been praised for taking the most difficult approach to the coffee shop model -- the multiroaster model -- and excelling at it. That means Milstead & Co. balances a slew of different roasters, from roasters as big as Stumptown to as small as Heart Roasters in Portland, Ore., to put forth the best coffee possible -- and that's not always as easy as it looks. Writes Jordan Michelman in Seattle Met, "Coffee professionals regard the multiroaster model as the most difficult to pull off. It's akin to a chef who works with different purveyors from week to week, a bartender who never sticks to the same base bourbon, or a band that plays a different set every night. The target is always moving, the parameters steadily shifting."

But it's Milstead's dedication to the coffees he serves that makes it rank so highly on our list for its quality. With more than 30 different coffees on the menu to sample at a time, you'll never get a better education about coffee than at Milstead & Co. Stop by for a single-origin espresso or an Aeropress or Clever drip coffee, and consider yourself schooled in the art of coffee. Said Milstead in an interview with Seattle Coffee Gear, when explaining why they don't serve Venti-sized coffees or decaf coffee, "We're doing things a little differently ... we're totally quality coffee-focused. The coffees that we have are of the utmost quality and intended to be enjoyed on their own ... and we seem to have a basic clientele that seems to enjoy coffee on its own."

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