Milk Teeth Café & Stores

The Milk Teeth logo from the chalkboard just inside the door at Portland Square.Milk Teeth is one of a new band of speciality coffee shops in Bristol, opening in March last year following a successful Kickstarter campaign. It’s in Saint Paul’s, the area to the east of Stokes Croft, and is very firmly rooted in the local community, with the owner, Josh, who cut his teeth at the Boston Tea Party, living a couple of streets away.

Occupying a long, thin space facing the street, it’s actually just off Portland Square. It’s a friendly, welcoming space, which is open well into the evenings. Some have likened it to a social enterprise, but Josh dislikes the term, since he believes that all business can (and should) be carried out in a socially-conscious way. For Milk Teeth, this means using local suppliers and supporting local business, including using Milk Teeth to provide micro-finance to local start-ups.

Milk Teeth serves Extract’s Cast Iron blend on espresso, with rotating guest filter coffees on either bulk-brew or V60. Keeping it local, this includes Clifton Coffee Roasters, Roasted Rituals and Triple Co Roast. As well as coffee, there’s tea (Josh’s first love) and food, with concise breakfast and lunch menus. There’s also a range of local produce available to buy.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • While the address is Portland Sq., you'll find Milk Teeth around the corner on Bishop St.
  • The door is at the far left-hand end, opening into a small, internal porch...
  • ... which in turn leads to this small foyer. A helpful sign reminds you where you are.
  • Milk Teeth stretches off to the right, seats lining the windows at the front...
  • ... while the counter runs along the back wall.
  • A view back towards the door, where you'll find the first of the seating...
  • ... which stretches off into the distance.
  • There's a second wooden bench a little further on, with square tables this time.
  • Another view of the tables, looking in the other direction.
  • More seating runs around to the side of the counter: this was the only photo I could get.
  • Milk Teeth is full of interesting bits of decoration, such as this shelf...
  • ... or this pottery, which is near the door.
  • A brick.
  • Obligatory light bulb shot...
  • ... and here playing with the exposure.
  • Milk Teeth is about more than just coffee. There's a selection of soft drinks in the chiller...
  • ... as well as a range of provisions which line the left-hand side of the counter.
  • There's Ginger Beard's Preserves...
  • ... and a selection of spreads and loose-leaf tea, all sourced from local suppliers.
  • Moving along to the front of the counter, there's a tempting array of cakes...
  • .. and, while I was there, a basket of siced buns.
  • Talking of food, an interesting array of kitchen utensils hangs above the counter...
  • ... while on the wall above the door to the kitchen, there's the drinks menu.
  • The espresso choices: the Cast Iron blend and decaf, both from local roasters, Extract.
  • Talking of which, the espresso machine is at the right-hand end of the counter...
  • ... beyond which are the V60 pour-over filters for the guest single-origin.
  • I, however, was starting my day with a flat white, served in this lovely, handleless cup.
  • I also had some breakfast: porridge and toast.
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Although its address is Portland Square, Milk Teeth is just around its northern corner, the long, window-studded front facing Bishop Street. In all there are six large, square windows, with the door at the far, left-hand end. Inside, the layout is simple, a long rectangle, with the counter at the back towards the left, and the seating arranged in an L-shape around it.

A row of tables run from the door along the front of the store. There are two round two-person tables with a wooden bench right next to the door, then a four-person table, followed by two square two-person tables along another wooden bench opposite the far end of the counter. The remaining seating runs along the bottom of the L, down past the right-hand side of the counter. Wooden benches feature strongly at Milk Teeth and there’s a third along the right-hand wall, another pair of round, two-person tables in front of it. Then comes a broad, two-person bar with high bar stools, semi-enclosed in a delightful frame made of old pallets. Finally, there’s a cosy corner at the far end of the L, a two-person sofa and a few armchairs surrounding a coffee table, the ideal place to escape from it all.

Milk Teeth has a quiet, relaxed atmosphere, with subdued music playing in the background. While I was there, there were plenty of people in with laptops, and several folk were holding business meetings. What surprised me was the number of people asking for the Wifi code, which suggests that they were first-time visitors.

In addition to the coffee, there’s a range of tea from the Bristol Tea Company, something that Josh is just as passionate about, having, at one time, wanted to open a speciality tea shop before catching the coffee bug. The Bristol Tea Company specialises in fairtrade, organic tea, sourced direct from estates in India and Sri Lanka, a philosophy close to the heart of many a speciality roaster. Milk Teeth also proclaims itself a “café and stores” and while the provisions aren’t on the same scale as, for example, No 12 Easton, there is a small selection of supplies from a range of local producers.

The breakfast menu is simple, consisting of toast, porridge or waffles. If you’re looking for smashed avocado or various flavours of eggs, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Had I been feeling more adventurous, I’d have had the spicy spinach waffle, which intrigued me, but as it was I was still feeling jet-lagged and somewhat fragile after flying back from America, so I played it safe and had porridge and toast, both of which were excellent.

I should also have been more adventurous with my coffee. The mainstay is Extract Coffee Roasters’ Cast Iron blend on espresso, where it’s joined by Extract’s standard decaf. To liven things up, there’s a guest filter served via the V60. This is always from a local roaster, with Josh buying in two kilos at a time before moving on to the next one. While I was there, this was a washed Kenyan Ichuga from Clifton Coffee Roasters, but instead I plumped for my morning fallback, a flat white. This held no great surprises, a smooth, sweet coffee served in a handless cup that was the perfect start to my day.

21 PORTLAND SQUARE • BRISTOL • BS2 8SJ
https://milkteethportlandsq.co.uk
Monday 07:00 – 20:00 Roaster Extract (espresso) + Guests (filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 20:00 Seating Tables, Sofa
Wednesday 07:00 – 20:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 20:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 20:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 09:00 – 20:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:00 – 20:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 10th November 2017

Liked this? Then take a look at the rest of Bristol’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Bristol.


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