Two Caffeinated Dudes Go Nuts for Nut Milks

He bought a vegan cookbook and happened across an entry for nut milk. And so it began.

Co-Owners Collin Crockett and Bradford Still of Fresh til Death
“It’s Not Mylk,” says Collin Crockett. “That’s what we’re calling it: ‘Not Mylk.’” And yet the Bushwick barista speaks of the “mylks” he makes with his business partner Bradford Still. The longtime friends have been grinding beans, pulling shots and texturizing milk from one café to another for over a decade.

But this past year they’ve eschewed mainstays soy and dairy in favor of a more novel addition to BK coffee culture: raw nut milk. Crockett and Still’s nut milk startup, Fresh ’Til Death Cafeteria, has been some time in the making. The two met 14 years ago in Phoenix, where Still was living in a souped-up ’70s-era Greyhound bus and Crockett was playing in bands. They caroused every now and again, they say, running into each other at “bars, parties and protests,” but it wasn’t until 2001 when they both landed jobs at the same Phoenix roastery and coffee bar, that their comradeship solidified.

In 2009, Crockett busted onto the Brooklyn coffee scene, helping open Café 474 in Park Slope. Soon after, Still followed (his Greyhound fizzled out along the way—“It’s sitting in a flea-infested, beer-can-littered front lawn of a party house in Austin,” he laments.) Reunited in Brooklyn, they helped launch Qathra, a café in Ditmas Park. Through it all, the two prided themselves on taking their coffee black, but that changed a year ago when Crockett got diagnosed with diabetes. “It all started when I got sick,” he said. “I was looking for ways to treat my diabetes with raw foods.”

He bought a vegan cookbook and happened across an entry for nut milk. And so it began. After mastering the basic method—soak nuts, blend, strain— Crockett introduced the concept to Still and the two began experimenting. They tested the mylks out at Kave, a café in Bushwick where Still works (and where the mylks are made). Customers wanted more. So they came up with a name, got a vendors license and formed an LLC. Last summer, upon teaming up with the folks from Skytown, a borough-based catering company, they brought their mylks to Smorgasburg, and then to Bushwick’s Vegan Pop Up.

Today they churn out a variety of blends: cinnamon walnut; cashew with fig; raw cacao and Brazil nut, just to name a few. The mylks are creamy. Textured, but not grainy. Rich, but not sweet. Mixed with cold-brewed coffee, the experience isn’t unlike good wine or beer. Each blend’s profile is subtle, and yet definitional.

For now, the goods can be ordered at Kave and Upright Coffee, and purchased along with house-roasted coffees at Red Lantern Bicycles, a bike shop in Fort Greene; by summer they’ll be available at And Coffee and Veggie Island, in the Rockaways. But the duo is dreaming big. “Eventually we want to open our own café,” says Crockett. “And we want to get that Greyhound back up and running,” adds Still, “for a cross-country coffee bus tour.”

From bros, for brews. Collin Crockett, left, discovered nutmilk in a vegan cookbook and perfected the recipe with longtime buddy Bradford Still. At Kave, a café in Bushwick, they blend soaked nuts into creamy-but-cream-free “Fresh to Death” elixirs.

Photo credit:  Shannon Sturgis.

Newsletter

Categories

Tags