As someone who cannot accomplish anything in the comfort of my own home, in the last four years I’ve become well acquainted with Missoula’s coffee shops. Fortunately, there are plenty to choose from and each has its own distinct vibe and perks.
#1 – Liquid Planet
Liquid Planet offers inventive coffees in a relaxing environment. The booths in the back are one of my favorite places in Missoula to buckle down and get work done and the tables provide a nice gathering place for meetings. Liquid Planet’s retail area is also one of my favorite places to purchase gifts for friends and family.
#2 – Butterfly Herbs
Butterfly Herbs was established over a quarter century ago and sells whole herbs and bulk teas. It also boasts Missoula’s oldest Espresso Bar and a warm, cozy place to work or meet with a friend. According to Breshia Hardy, senior accounting major at the University of Montana, “Butterfly Herbs is my go-to on cold days when I want to cuddle up in a booth, enjoy some good coffee or tea, and get some homework done.”
#3 – Zootown Brew
Zootown Brew recently updated their look, resulting in a more spacious environment with plenty of comfy seating. Zootown serves traditional, high quality coffee drinks and a variety of teas. I’m sure I was not the only one excited to learn that they recently brought back the good ‘ole tomato soup and grilled cheese, served on Birdman Bread (another Missoula favorite, from Le Petit Outre). Zootown Brew is where I go when I want to study in a “living room vibe,” but also need to get more done than I would in my friend’s actual living room.
#4 – City Brew
As a Billings native (where City Brew originated), no list of coffee places for me would be complete without City Brew. This statewide favorite offers a variety of traditional coffee drinks and teas as well as a selection of tasty treats and snacks. I personally believe that you haven’t lived until you’ve tried a Winter Coffee (available only during the winter season, much to my dismay), however, City Brew’s always changing list of seasonal drinks keeps me coming back year-round.
#5 – Break Espresso
The exposed brick and wooden tables make you feel like as though you’ve stepped back in time. Break Espresso is a go-to for meetings and group projects among students and Missoula’s general population alike thanks to the ample seating and large tables. With an in-house bakery and outstanding coffee, you can never go wrong choosing the Break.
#6 – Starbucks
No one was happier about the opening of the Starbucks on Brooks Street than Spencer Sheehan, a senior accounting and management information systems student, so I figured he would be the best one to argue its position on this list. His very thorough response did not disappoint:
“All the Starbucks’ baristas on Brooks Street know my name,” Sheehan claims. “Every time I go up, they know I’m going to pay with the phone app because every 12th drink I get is free. Unlike many other coffee shops, the large windows let in a lot of light. The large common-area table by the entrance reminds me of the one in Starbucks across the street from Twitter in San Francisco and makes me happy. Also, the baristas are so unbelievably polite and knowledgeable–no matter how complicated my order is, they always get it right, and realize that I’m there for a highly customized and premium drink, not some burnt, bitter hipster espresso or coffee and disgustingly overpowering flavors. I once decided to get one of their banana-strawberry smoothies that has protein powder in it. I wanted to know what kind of protein powder it was, so a barista literally took 3 minutes digging through boxes in the back room to tell me it was whey. I felt silly–but it was a no-brainer to them and they were happy to do it.”