The Little Montana Guide for Coffee Lovers


The Little Montana Guide for Coffee Lovers

By James Rahr

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Introduction

With only 1,023,579 (2014) people in the 4th largest state in the U.S., it’s hard to imagine that in a place like San Francisco, with 852,469 people (2014), there are some bazillion coffee houses pulsing throughout the peninsula. This guide examines the top 15 coffee houses in the treasure state.

 

Geography

Let’s take into account of the space of Montana for a second. It’s pretty big-meaning that if everyone got their own piece of land, it would be 6.8 miles square. So it is difficult to navigate a coffee scene that is divided by this much space and not buildings.

Roastery

We also gave brownie points to brew spots where they had roasted their own coffee. Montana has a small intimate economic environment and so it’s no surprise that the roastery business seems like nurturing a relationship rather than performing business. A lot of coffee shops examined were using similar beans and similar espresso machines. The key diffferences between coffee shops then become softer and less factual than geography and roastery. In researching our sample size, which included 70+ coffee shops around the state, the cheeky question of ‘on average, what quantity of espresso beans do you use each day for crafting espresso drinks to drink on site?’ was asked. Some were reluctant to reveal this number, others felt no pressure, and for some it is difficult to estimate. However the specificity of this question can be referenced to provide a general inference for how much revenue is made with those beans, kind of like through-put in a manufacturing plant.

Coffee Connoisseuring

“To recognize, develop and promote specialty coffee.”

After accounting for the coffee shops location, and the to roast or not to roast question, the ability and efforts of the cafe to include the community and share coffee knowledge was taken into consideration. Some cafes or roasters do not have the capacity to utilize traditional coffee engagements, but other forms of community involvement were taken into account based on the audience of each individual organization and their geography, again.

 

The Best of the Last Best Place

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Polebridge Mercantile-Polebridge

This cafe is a weird one. It is a jack of all trades by far. Nestled over the river and through the woods, literally, this little shack is the place of gathering over a good espresso for many. There are plenty of specialty coffee spots around the state but this one tops the list for being geographically located right next to Glacier/Waterton National Park. Canadians and Montanans enjoy lattes and, the local favorite, a bear claw whilst gazing at the iconic scenery. The espresso machine is a bit old, like the character of the building, and the town, and the park, but that is what makes it so infinitely beautiful. Give the latte a try and breathe in the freshest air in the state and try and tell me you hate it. Just try.

 

 

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Coffee Factory Roasters-Redlodge

This tiny ski town is similar to those trickled along the continental divide. The powder falls and the mountaineers crowd the area. This little roastery becomes a port to skiers and boarders alike, fueling them for the day’s new runs. The tourists that arrive in the summer for the idyllic drive up the mountain and nearby pig racing attraction often stop and chatter about with the locals. In the winter, after the mountain warms and the ice melts and the lifts stop, the crowd slowly and sometimes sorely, saunters back to the coffee shop for a warm up.

 

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Rock Creek Coffee Roasters-Billings

Rock Creek Coffee Roasters is one of the older roasters in the area. It has a perfect location in the heart of the downtown of Montana’s largest city. Inside, the roasting is done right next to where the drinks are served. Bags of beans, roasted and not, are scattered throughout the cafe making a meaningful impression on those who visit. The company has stayed true to its italian roots in keeping drinks simple and not adding all the ‘loaded extras.’ If coffee isn’t your best friend, but after this place it might be, they offer a small selection of bottled beverages and light snacks. If anything, stop by, grab a latte, and shmooze with the barista over that week’s upcoming concert next door.

 

 

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Rockford Coffee Bar and Roasters-Bozeman

Cyclists and coffee experts gather at this local watering hole. Rockford coffee bar is a mecca for integration of roasts and espresso drinks. The roaster boasts the nickname ‘Bozeman’s coffee of choice.’ This is a true statement based on the number of people in the coffee bar at any given time of day. The roaster sells their beans online so those traveling or those who stopped in and fell in love with their techniques-like I did-can have the fresh roasts delivered straight to their door just after roasting has ended.

 

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Wild Joe’s Coffee Spot-Bozeman

Wild Joe’s sounds like a safari or something not related to coffee other than the word Joe. But do not be fooled by the name. WJ’s is spot in the heart of downtown Bozeman and is sure to ignite a curiosity for coffee in anyone. The interior features a coffee bar structure as you order from the barista and further along the cafe are a wide variety of seats  expanding all the way to the back of the building. In the back, is the best area. The cafe features local coffee information and new updates on brew methods and where their coffee source is currently. I read a fascinating article about the history of coffee  from 1974 while waiting for my latte. While the store doesn’t roast their own beans, their impeccable coffee knowledge and adoration are something to be admired. I highly suggest stopping in after a snowy day on the mountain.

 

 

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Sunrise Coffee-Missoula

While this coffee picture wasn’t from the actual cafe it still represents the attention to detail at Sunrise Coffee. Pat, the owner, and coffee specialist has dedicated a day once a month to sharing coffee expertise. The Coffee Lab, as he calls it, is a workshop like orientation to explore variations and brew methods of coffee. This cafe is a hidden gem and rightly so for the treasure state. Not too many locals know about it, but the cafe is slowly joining the local coffee hype.

 

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Off The Leaf Coffee Company-Billings

Anyone and everyone seems to know of Off The Leaf in Billings. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone that hasn’t gathered at the 819 location. Started in 2008 and still going strong, the company uses profits to help fund nonprofits, both local and those pertaining to coffee growing. The bar is also home to a pay it forward board on which locals pay in advance for others drinks. Thus many firemen and policemen can be found reading the newspaper with their morning cup. If you ever have time, try out their new location just down the street for a more intimate feel. This new location also has a drive through, so if you’re on your way out of town it’s a quick minute for one of the best coffees around.

 

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Morning Glory Coffee-West Yellowstone

When I spoke to the owner of this wayside cafe located just feet from the oldest National Park in the country I was enamored with his affection for the industry. In such a rural area, but also highly trafficked during seasonal periods, it is rare to find such a commodity. The owner was extremely aware of the coffee scene nationally and has been in past years a member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. The coffee house also features Montana Made goods and Teas. It is the ultimate spot for Yellowstone visitors, souvenir hunting, and coffee lovers.

 

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International Coffee Traders-Bozeman

International Coffee Traders  is the perfect study sanctuary. Located less than a block away from Montana State University, this roaster and cafe is a picturesque sample for any prospective student magazine or publication. But don’t let their demographic fool you, their coffee is just as in top-notch as any Blue Bottle-esque cafe. While they don’t offer any cupping classes they do encourage coffee passions and anything related to the nearest ski hill.

 

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Gil’s Goods-Livingston

Gil’s goods is a one part to a menage a trois of entrepreneurial endeavours. The coffee part comes from the restaurant slash bakery. The building is part of an old hotel, The Murray, and is definitely a must see if you’re ever in Livingston. The small town encourages tourism and travel, especially being on the gateway to Yellowstone National Park. This shop provides the perfect pick me up and one of the best lattes in the area. You might even be lucky enough to bump into Kesha or Leonardo, like some of the locals have.

 

 

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Colter Coffee-Kalispell

Colter Coffee is the epitomy of western when it comes to a cup of Joe. The coffee collective of Kalispell knows too well that Colter Coffee is the center for good coffee. If you’re looking for a true western experience and happen to be near Glacier National Park, I highly encourage going here. The company was one of the firsts in the area to integrate light roast coffee. The friendly barista’s will always tell you about the weather, what activities are going on that  weekend, and always, always share their love of coffee.

 

 

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Montana Coffee Traders-Whitefish

Montana Coffee Traders roasts their own beans making it a highlight of the Whitefish downtown scene. The company has locations across the northwest region of the state. Since 1981 the company has been roasting beans out of its iconic farmhouse. A fact the company likes to share is that the beans are roasted at the same altitude as they are grown. The company also sells to multiple coffee houses and retail organizations across the state. Polebridge Mercantile, a middle-of-no-where-place we will see later, is a recipient of the beans.

 

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Black Coffee Roasting-Missoula

Quonset huts are corrugated galvanized steel structures that usually aren’t utilized as coffee houses. But when Black Coffee Roasting Company expanded it seemed like the perfect design for a unique experience in sharing coffee. The shop now features other beverages other than their homemade beans but with local ingredients. The simplicity and minimalism is the perfect interior to harbor a specialty coffee crowd. The shop does not offer wifi to explicitly create a more meaningful and intimate environment.

 

 

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Revel Coffee Roasters-Billings

The most hipster of the selection of coffee shops in the state. You’ll be fortunate to find this one if you have time in Billings, MT. The craft coffee connoisseur and owner of the biz is Gary Theisen. He’s been featured in Sprudge and noted in numerous local publications. His goal is to change the perception of coffee and roasting strategies. He began roasting when he was fifteen and continues to share his passion and insatiable curiousity with customers frequently. His operation is small but no less in quality. His coffees are featured around the community in various restaurants, retail locations, and other coffee houses.

 

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Cold Smoke Coffee-Bozeman

Fairly new into the coffee scene, Cold Smoke arrived in Bozeman, MT in 2011. The coffee house was started from a passion to share coffee. The roaster and cafe  promotes awareness of where the sources come from. The roastery is off site, but I’m sure with a nice smile and little conversing about the love of coffee, owners Caleb and Laura would let any coffee aficionado in for a tour. With regular cuppings and various other community engagements this little cafe can easily boast being, if not number one,  in the top five coffee house around the state.

 

Conclusion

While this coffee shop list is not exhaustive, the shops in here were specifically looked at for the three above engagements. This survey was conducted only on studies basis and was not paid for by any organization. Photos taken from Instagram accounts of businesses or related location tags.

 

James Rahr is a Marketing Major at the University of Montana. He anticipates graduating in the Fall of 2016. Coffee is a passion of his.

18+ reasons why you should go on exchange!


18+ reasons why you should go on exchange!

18Look, exchange semester/year is just like a life, accelerated on a whole new speed! You never cry about yesterday, you never plan tomorrow and as for today – you just live it! To the fullest! Everything happens with the speed of light and sometimes people do not pay attention how they change while on exchange. They don’t appreciate all the “perks” of it. I as an                                       “experienced” exchange student, will try to give you 18+ reasons                                why you should  go on exchange.

 

So here we go:

  1. You get to explore new culture. Who cares – ‘Murica!images
  1. You live with a host family. But you always wanted to move away from your family, well now you have 2 families to move out from.family
  1. You get to learn and practice new language! Eurekaaa! – now “uno” has a whole new meaning!12166209_980282798695572_1462687737_n
  1. You get to experience different education standards, as well as different learning techniques – no more flashcards.metric
  1. You start being concerned about global issues. As if any of those were up to you to decide.sun
  2. You travel! Ok, that really is exciting…
  3. You get out of your comfort zone. Dude, it’s called COMFORT zone because it’s comfortable, why would you get out of it?comf
  4. You become more responsible. Now you feel even more concerned about global issues, but still none of them are up to you to decide.
  5. You get to try traditional food. Don’t go to Italy, it is not too different from food back home.pizza
  6. You make life-long friends! Exchange ends soon, but your friendship stands strong – in skype.skype
  7. You learn about awesome career opportunities and you start planning your life accordingly. But then you find out that 99% of the jobs are restricted to national citizens.permit
  8. Now your friends back home have new inside jokes. And no, they will not share them with you, instead they will laugh at you after you go back.
  9. You drink a lot of beer, but not too much. But unfortunately, you can never accurately measure how much is “too much”.beer
  10. Semester abroad will look great on your resume, but 99% of the jobs are still restricted to national citizens.
  11. You fall in love.love

 

  1. Everything is so much cheaper. So now you buy expensive stuff.
  1. You make memories that matter. You will tell about them to your friends, family, kids, dogs and cats back home. They will all hate you for talking about exchange all the time. ALL THE TIME.
  2. You get to go to your favorite band’s concert. But they never show up(that’s what happened to me).Show-Cancelled
  1. You get to have a new roommate. Of course you love each other.room
  1. On exchange you stop judging the book by its cover and realize that 18+ in the title above is just another way of saying “more than 18.”

P.S University of Montana is where I am doing my exchange. It has shortly become my favorite place. I enjoy every single day here and try to get as much out of my exchange as possible. In fact, I work at the international center specifically in study abroad department. I strongly recommend every student to go on exchange and use this incredible opportunity of finding himself/herself through the adventures of living in a foreign country.

My little piece of advice: Go to American University in Bulgaria – Great school with great people!

Post by Omari Lomiashvili, Junior at University of Montana, School of Business Administration

 

 

 

Slow Computer? Here are 4 Tips to Increase Your Computer’s Speed.

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Get on better terms with your computer today.

We’ve all been there, continuing to click the mouse in attempt to load the application faster or unfreeze a program. Unfortunately this does not work 99% of the time and often leads to more frustration and wasted time waiting on your computer. If you’re in the same position as me you’ve had your computer for a few years now and it’s starting to become slower and applications freezing up are becoming more frequent. I decided that I was done putting up with my slow computer and you should too.

The good news is… YOU DO NOT NEED TO BUY A BRAND NEW COMPUTER TO HAVE IT RUN LIKE A NEW COMPUTER!

If you’re on your last straw with your computer there’s still hope.

Below are four tips from a Missoula computer repair expert Justin Ovenell, owner of TechNellogic that will increase your computer’s speed. 

1. Update your computer

Having an updated system cuts down other system errors and compatibility problems. A vast majority of user’s problems with computers can be solved by simply updating the computer, which will also increase its speed. Keep in mind the biggest reason to update your computer besides speed is for SECURITY! Think of it as “preventative maintenance.” The typical update only takes about 20
minutes. By staying on top of these updates you won’t have to spend hours of your time in the future.

  1. Virus Protection

Having a virus not only slows down your computer but it can completely shut off usability. Whether you get a paid version or free version it’s important to have some kind of antivirus protection. In my experience, I’ve used Panda and Avast antivirus software. These are both free programs with excellent customer reviews. I would highly recommend either of these to my clients. In addition I recommend running a full scan every one to two weeks. It takes about an hour to complete and well worth the time and money it could save you later on.

3. Clear out cookies and cache in web browser

 Neglecting to clear out your cookies and cache will definitely slow down your computer. I recommend that you go to your website browsers and clear out your cookies and cache at the very least once a month. Cookies and cache are little files that your computer stores when you visit a website and overtime they can start to build up making your browsing experience slower. The cookies collect data on your browsing habits. For example, Facebook uses cookies to show you advertisements based off your web browsing history.

4. Organize your files

It’s important to periodically sort through what you have saved on your desktop and throw away what you don’t need. Remember to empty out your trash bin/ recycling twice monthly. Keeping up with file management will cleanup excess files on your internal hard-drive which will increase your computers speed. I know this sounds obvious but save things where they should be saved. For example, if you have a weekend trip save the photos in the designated photo section instead of having a few saved in documents, downloads, desktop, etc., to avoid creating duplicates. Spending a little time in the beginning organizing files will save you lots of time later on when your looking for that file you saved a year previous. 

About TechNellogic
At TechNellogic, they strive to provide the best computer repair service to the Missoula area through efficient repairs, genuine customer care, and service that fits your needs. They specialize in repairs for both Mac’s and PC’s providing you with the technical support you need at home, for school, or to run your small business. They know that you are busy enough each day as it is, and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding a fix on your own for your desktop, laptop, printer or home network. TechNellogic takes care of the hassle for you by providing fast, friendly and professional solutions to the technical problems you face.

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Image Attribution

10 Struggles Every College Senior Knows to Be True

By Katie Sears


It’s that time of year: College graduation. For three and half years all you’ve wanted to do is get as far away from campus and school-related responsibilities as possible;  now you’re crying yourself to sleep worried that the ‘real world’ might be a little bit too real for you. Staying focused in school while simultaneously trying to figure out the rest of your life seems damn near impossible, and no amount of ‘You can do it!’s from mom will help.

If it makes you feel any better, we’re all in the same rickety boat.


  1. Finding a job is a Catch 22.
    You’re trying to find a job so that you can make money, but you need money to get to the job. Moving out, storing your stuff, and finding a new place to live all require a significant amount of cash..cash that you probably should have started saving as a freshman, but instead blew on BeatsByDre headphones and 3am Taco Bell runs.
    confused
  2.  Student loans have to be paid back. Like, now.
    Financial aid is great while you’re in school, but the day you graduate marks the day you will forever be indebted to the government and to your university.
    bullcrap
  3. You realize you may never, ever see your college friends again.
    It seems like everyone you know is moving to a far-away state, country or continent. The friendships you’ve fostered over the last four years will abruptly end, and it’s one of the saddest things about being a senior.
    cryingg
  4. Senioritis.
    Imagine the senioritis you felt in high school and multiply it by ten million. Then add 40. I wouldn’t wish the last five weeks of senior semester on my worst enemy.
    living life
  5. Final Exams.I’m not just talking about the exams during finals week that cover the last semester; I’m talking about CapStone classes, major field tests and other exams that will likely determine the rest of your life, like the MCAT, PCAT and the bar exam. It’s even worse when the test costs money. I thought paying to take a test in a classroom was called tuition?
    hate everything
  1. Not being confident about your degree.
    That moment you realize you actually hate your degree and it’s not what you really want to do. And then the moment you realize you are really passionate about your degree and don’t want to work in any other field. The daily back-and-forth is exhausting.
    exhausting
  1. You have a lot of stuff. And only one car.
    While you’ve spent the last three years decorating your home to better resemble the one you left behind, you never really considered the massive amount of space these things take up. Combine that with the fact that you only have one car, and moving becomes a lot more daunting than it already was.
    imdone
  2. Your dream job most likely won’t be your first job.
    You start accepting that your dream of changing the world and becoming one of Forbes’ 40 under 40 might have to wait a couple of years. Suddenly, just being an assistant doesn’t sound so bad if it means you’ll have a paycheck at the end of the month.
    pay day pickitup
  1. Time is running out.
    There are still a million things you haven’t done on campus/in town/ in your state and suddenly you want -no NEED- to do all of them, like that popular hike you passed up on because you were hungover or that weird restaurant that sells avocado-flavored ice cream. FOMO starts to seriously set in at this point.
    nap
  1. We see articles like this:
    Why Millenials Have a Tough Time Landing Jobs – CNBC
    Millenials Have Nothing to Celebrate When it Comes to Employment – Forbes
    40% of Unevmployed Workers are Millenials – MarketWatch
    drinking

All. The. Time.

The 5 Best Coffee Shops to Study at in Missoula

Whether you’re a student at the University of Montana, an entrepreneur working to get a proposal together, or a business professional who needs the perfect place to meet with clients, these are the 5 best places to get whatever it is you need to get done in Missoula. Based on quality of coffee, Wi-Fi, and overall environment: Is your favorite coffee shop on the list?

Liquid Planet

7:30am-9:00pm, Everyday

Picture of the Liquid Planet storefront in downtown Missoula
Photo Credit: Liquid Plant

The first place I ever “studied” at in Missoula was a wonderful place called Liquid Planet. I think the name speaks for itself, and while the Wi-Fi connection has thankfully increased in reliability and strength over the years, the beverage selection has always been top quality. Great coffee and tea for any taste bud, and a wide variety of other beverages to shop around for, all make Liquid Planet a must-frequent venue if you are a Missoulian. Plus, there is a secret area in the back corner you can reserve for meetings or for studying in peace.

Market on Front

7:00am-9:00pm, Monday-Saturday
8:00am-7:00pm, Sunday

A visual of the unique seating area in Market on Front
Photo Credit: Market on Front

Relatively new and closer to campus, the Market on Front offers more than just coffee and a place to sit. It’s a one-stop-shop with a little grocery section and delicious prepared foods. Great quality Wi-Fi with limited seating makes a fan of this place hope that they are looking to expand in the near future. If you are looking to impress a client from out of town, this is the place to do it. And if you’re lucky, the owner may be around to deliver your mouth watering Chicken Florentine sandwich to you within minutes of ordering (this has happened to me on more than one occasion.)

City Brew Coffee

5:30am-9:30pm, Monday-Saturday
6:00am-9:30pm, Sunday
Downtown location closes at 9:00pm

View from the outside of the City Brew Coffee downtown Missoula location
Photo Credit: City Brew Coffee

Before conducting my research, City Brew Coffee never crossed my mind as a place to study in Missoula because honestly I had never been there before. Considered one of the coffee shops with high quality of coffee, City Brew will literally keep your mind (and your taste buds) happy. The variety in seating, relaxing music, and calming decorative colors will keep you focused for hours. If you find that it is difficult to get a parking spot downtown, try their new location off of Brooks! Plenty of room to park and an amazing fire place to cozy up by. Not to mention a very friendly staff.

Break Espresso

6:00am-10:00pm, Everyday

View from the outside of Break Espresso in downtown Missoula
Photo Credit: Sabrina Huang

This seems to be everyone’s favorite place to “get stuff done”. Break Espresso’s main selling point is not it’s coffee, but the seemingly unlimited amount of seating, reliable Wi-Fi, and baked goods are it’s irresistible combo. This place is always busy, so bring your headphones, grab a piece of pie, and get your productivity on!

Zootown Brew

8:00am-8:00pm, Monday-Friday
9:00am-8:00pm, Saturday
1:00pm-8:00pm, Sunday
Open until 10:00pm during Finals Week!

View of the outside of Zootown Brew in downtown Missoula
Photo Credit: Zootown Church

I went through a phase where I would only meet for group projects at Zootown Brew. There is plenty of seating (as well as comfy couches), and it’s so spacious that there is enough privacy to actually discuss your work with a group. Quality Wi-Fi and a hot coffee will keep you happy while you work. And when the caffeine finally runs out, you’ll have a perfectly comfy couch to go and relax on. After all that hard work you put in, you deserve it!

Honorable Mention: Florence Coffee Co.

6:00am-6:00pm, Everyday

View from the outside of one of Florence Coffee's locations
Photo Credit: Florence Coffee Co.

Technically, you can’t sit at the drive through and do your homework. The person behind you may get mad when you don’t move after 5 minutes. But I couldn’t create a list of Missoula coffee shops without mentioning the best coffee in town. If you’d rather study at the library, at home, or at work, swing by one of Florence Coffee’s three locations in Missoula and get a coffee on the go. My suggestion for coffee lovers with a sweet tooth: The Heaven Latte. The name says it all.

 

Did I miss your favorite study spot? Let me know by commenting below. Now, go get stuff done!

Photo Credit: KeepCalmomatic
Photo Credit: KeepCalmomatic

 

A special thanks to everyone who provided their input in my research, and most especially: Jessie Rogers, Savannah Witt, Paytyn Wheeler, Katherine Vincent, Brooke Moody, and Joelle.