6 Coolest Coffee Shops in Montana!

America’s treasured and most delicious stimulant, coffee is increasingly-important in the evolving economy and increasingly-popular in society. Whether as a means to clear a foggy head or enjoyed with a pastry and newspaper, or as an antidote to the afternoon lull, this deep brown elixir fuels the everyday. Myriad shops dot Montana’s university towns, gas stations and rural outposts. Here are the 6 best.  

Montana Coffee Traders, Kalispell & Whitefish, MT

For over 35 years, a farmhouse in rural Whitefish has been home to Montana Coffee Traders’ roasting operation. And unlike most coffee houses in the nation, these beans are roasted at the same elevation they are harvested—maintaining more essential flavors of the raw product. The Beall Family succeeds in maintaining a friendly, intimate process that respects the coffee bean and ensures a happier environment for employees (which, in turn, produces an excellent product for customers). Not only is the coffee as fresh and local as possible, the shop exhibits an impressive selection of global varieties— experiment with a well-balanced Montana Blend or a slightly sweet Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. 

Loose Caboose, Missoula, MT

With five rotating locations throughout Missoula, these eccentric coffee spots are hard to miss. And the shop’s name is on the nose: They’re bright red retired cabooses of varying size providing tasty espresso and coffee—no frills whatsoever. A talented and engaging staff slings a long menu of caffeinated items, hot and cold: lattes, mochas, chai, teas, frappes and more. And if time is of the essence, the full menu is available for call-ahead orders.

Fire Tower Coffee House, Helena, MT

Especially given the demographic influx from Carroll College, the state’s capital has a plethora of choices for coffee joints. But Fire Tower is worth checking-out. This Helena coffeehouse has an unassuming exterior: A few panes of glass beneath a humble awning. But inside, customers usually comment on the comfortable, mahogany seating and the smell of roasted beans that fills one’s head. The friendly, down-to-earth service and laid-back atmosphere belies a great food menu—favorites include breakfast, the turkey and BLT sandwiches, and locally-made ice cream. And the homemade bagels are great accompaniments to an excellent latte, artfully signed with a design in foam.

Rising Trout Cafe & Bookstore, Lewistown, MT

Even though its population hardly scratches 5,900, Lewistown is an oasis in a relatively barren area, smack-dab in the middle of Montana. The Rising Trout is similarly a wellspring for coffee drinkers. The spot for great brew, pastries, and the cozy atmosphere to sit and read. A simple chalk board usually sits outside, quipping about coffee, the beans for which are organic and freshly roasted, of the highest quality and locally-sourced when possible. And the cafe also hand-makes coffee’s soulmate: pastries and breads. Particularly, customers rave about the scones, bagels and cinnamon rolls. 

Glacier Perks Coffee House, Lakeside, MT

Glacier Perks is found in a large, wood-paneled building, beneath an “espresso” sign and Ice Cream written in neon. Along the southern shores of Flathead Lake, the mountain air and small-town hospitality saturate this coffee shop. It brews a great espresso and coffee—just hot enough, not too bitter, and affordable. In addition to the chocolatey roasted beans and gorgeous mountain setting, this house serves excellent breakfast, lunch and pastries: quiches, sandwiches, scones, cookies and cinnamon rolls, all made in house with local ingredients. 

Sweetwater Coffee, Dillon, MT

Rather than the hip and modern, or sterile and pretentious, Sweetwater is no-frills. It’s the casual coffeehouse where you meet up with a friend, and sip on coffee and nibble scones while the minutes melt in to hours. The exterior is that of tall, narrow brick, a high-rise of the Old West. The interior is immediately welcoming: the rectangular space is softened by warm woods on the floor and ceiling, and it’s given a nostalgic-neighborhood feel with exposed brick and hanging lightbulbs. The coffee is tasty and comforting, and as opposed to most, this shop doesn’t let food fall by the wayside: they’ve a simple green salad, a decent Reuben sandwich and cookies that are baked every morning. 

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