There was once a time in my life when I wasn’t attracted to the elixir of pitch black coffee.
I call these years the “Pre-Awakening” because during this point in my youth I started each day feeling groggy for extended periods of time, sometimes lasting a few days continuously.
It wasn’t until moving to Missoula, Montana in 2005, to attend university, when the first real caffeine buzz hit my system and had me hooked. Up until this point I had only sipped on coffee a handful of times, but never gave this beverage much of a chance. Early morning classes and simple access to on-campus caffeine pit-stops such as Just Chillin’ made picking up a quick brew a gradual morning favorite.
After a couple months in college I realized that coffee tasted pretty good. After one year I accepted the fact that this drink would be staying with me like a dark savory shadow. Two years of living on campus and many cups of coffee later, it soon became time to move off-campus with friends (Mark and Andrew). This represented a climactic moment to go and find places to get a caffeine buzz that existed in town rather than at school.
This was at first a harsh challenge, but my love of coffee forced me out of my comfort zone to pursue places that provided a haven to relax with coffee.
If you ever find yourself in Missoula, Montana and want a cup of delicious coffee, then these places are where you should visit:
Located in the heart of Missoula, on Higgins Street, Break Espresso is a bakery/cafe that gives one the sensation that they have entered a warm log cabin during the middle of winter. With comfortable lighting plus brick walls, this wide and open spaced bakery is filled with wooden tables and perfect for someone to read, have a conversation with friends, or study for an exam. All of these activities can be enjoyed over a cup of dark coffee or tea. During the cold and grey months of Missoula this establishment is perfect for warming up not only your hands but also your mind.
432 N Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT 59802 (406) 728-7300
Le Petit Outre
Le Petit Outre (French for The Little Outrageous) started in 1998 and offers some of Missoula’s finest tasting breads. Arguably one of the best croissants of my life was eaten here, and after my love for coffee started to fly, I discovered that Le Petit also brews some delicious espresso. Back when I lived in town it was only possible to order a coffee to go, as their space originally didn’t offer any place to sit. The last time I visited Missoula Le Petit installed a large communal table and a handful of individual ones, which is great. This place gets some bonus points because two really great friends (Megan and Lauren) happen to work there.
Le Petit Outre:
29 S 4th St W, Missoula, MT 59801 www.lepetitoutre.com
Walking into Butterfly Herbs which sits in the center of North Higgins Street, gives a potential shopper or coffee drinker a feeling that they have just transported to the set of a Harry Potter film. The walls are covered in shelves holding countless variations of teas, spices, and goods that might be from random places like Zanzibar. One can find chocolate, jewelry, books, greeting cards, and maybe even bibles there. Hidden behind the sensory overload that protects the front of the store exists a small cafe that is cosy and perfect for a cold winter Missoula day. Perhaps a hot cocoa or a steaming cup of Joe is in order when you walk inside this gem.
The emphasis of Bernice’s is food rather than coffee. In fact, they don’t offer expresso, simply drip coffee. Established in 1978, Bernice’s Bakery is well-known among Missoulian’s for its homely atmosphere, friendly staff, and quality products. Anyone needing a cake, pastry, or any assortment of sweets can count on Bernice’s to make something delicious. One of my favorite morning routines used to be visiting Bernice’s and ordering a black coffee with a coconut macaroon while reading the paper. They also offer some great lunch options but sadly I haven’t tried them.
Liquid Planet There was a time in my college life where I spent a great deal of time in the original Liquid Planet, which is located on North Higgins Street. It is a coffeeshop and intentional beverage market that started out as a project by a former University of Montana professor back in the 1990’s. One can find a massive wine selection, beer selection, and of course coffee/tea selection which makes it variety second to none. Too many memories are resting there. First dates, last dates, exam preparations, and countless meet-ups with friends took place during my seven years of Missoula residency there. Now that I’ve moved away from Missoula, part of me has moved on from Liquid Planet as well. It’s definitely a place to visit when some thirsty traveler is in town, but for now I doubt being one of them. Maybe one day I’ll go back, but until then I’ll continue to think back to those memories in fondness.
Black Coffee Roasting Company is a Missoula, based brand of organic, craft coffee that boasts products with a minimal environmental footprint. They recently moved to a new location in 2014 on East Spruce street. It looks like a converted half-dome auto repair shop but when you walk inside you automatically get good coffee vibes. Their products are flavorful, and the staff are nice, but I haven’t been there enough times to get a sincere verdict as to whether I like the place or not. Inside I know that it should be placed higher on my list, but I feel deeply loyal to the other more “old school” establishments already mentioned.
This concludes my list of where someone should drink coffee when they happen to stumble upon Missoula, Montana. It’s by no means a complete list, as dozens of coffee shops exist in town. This is simply an itinerary of places that I personally would recommend checking out. If you have any ideas for others places, feel free to leave a comment below!
Thank you for reading, you probably deserve an aromatic cup of recently brewed morning goodness 🙂
More posts will come sometime soon, but until then I wish you the best.