Kim and I moved from Portland to the Bay Area almost two years ago. One of the hardest transitions for us when we moved was finding consistent, high-quality coffee. Portland does that to a person. It spoils you beyond belief with its well-trained baristas and obsession with the perfect cup. And that artisanal mentality extended beyond coffee to all crafts, whether it was ice cream or salami. So it’s no surprise we were hunting for those same qualities in our new environment.
Instantly upon arriving back to our native California, we set out to try every roaster in the Bay Area for our coffee fix. We were happy to stumble upon Four Barrel one weekend, and we felt at home in their gorgeous Valencia shop with its wood trimmings and view of their roasting process. When we found out about a new shop they had just opened that would also include freshly baked breads, we had to pay a visit.
When an opportunity arose for baker Josey Baker (I still can’t get over the fact that his surname is Baker) to open his own space in collaboration with Jeremy Tooker of Four Barrel, The Mill was born. Watching Josey and his bakers knead dough and bake fresh bread was an amazing experience. The camaraderie was evident as it should be when you’re in close quarters long hours with early morning starts. The thought and care that I’ve come to appreciate in artisanal coffee can be clearly seen in his obsession with bread making. The Mill is all explained when you see Josey’s vintage mill in the back where they grind grains to make their own flour daily.
One of the lessons I took away from my stint in Portland was that there are people out there obsessed with all types of craft. I always like to tell the story of how when I get a cappuccino in Portland, and it’s not made right, the barista will instantly take it back and make you another. I’m happy to report that this has happened to me at The Mill before and I cannot stress how much I appreciate that. This is a shop I love to bring visitors to to admire its well thought-out interior. But beyond that, you not only get one obsessive in coffee, but another obsessive in bread. Many of us start our days with a cup of coffee and a piece of toast. It only made sense for those two worlds to collide in such high-quality fashion.
736 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117