Long nights are unfortunately a regular occurrence in college. My combined nocturnal study and coffee needs are what originally brought me to the steps of Cold Smoke Coffee — Bozeman’s only coffee shop that stays open until midnight seven days a week. When I visited Cold Smoke for the first time my only expectations were a half decent cup of coffee and a place to put my head into some textbooks until late at night. But what I found was a great coffee house that offers some interesting special drinks and an atmosphere that feels like authentic Bozeman. Cold Smoke has moved from West Main to Oak and 19th recently, so I went to see it for myself.
Cold Smoke is actually fairly new to the Bozeman coffee scene, having been opened in the Fall of 2012. According to its website, Cold Smoke was founded by Bozeman natives Caleb and Laura Walker in an attempt to open “a different kind of coffeehouse” in their hometown. And it certainly does seem to stand above it’s competition in several ways.
Firstly, Cold Smoke is very interested in sharing its profits with charity. Once again according to its website, they were able to raise enough money to dig six wells in Ethiopia as part of a project to provide more sources of fresh water to developing nations communities. The business now is now aiming their sights on another project in Nicaragua.
Also, Cold Smoke’s new venue rivals any coffeehouse in Bozeman both in terms of size and quality. The new store now offers 200 seats in a variety of styles. It also includes a music performance stage, a pour-over bar and a drive-through. The drive-through is especially notable — no other independent coffee shop in Bozeman has one. That means not having to rely on chain stores like Starbucks or City Brew to have good coffee in a hurry.
The coffeehouse also offers some drinks not found anywhere else in Bozeman. One of which is the eponymous “Cold Smoke.” It is comprised of two shots of espresso, foamed milk, maple glaze and sugar. The drink is poured in a way that the maple glaze and sugar sit at the bottom of the glass and slowly incorporates into the espresso and milk as it is drank. I think it is a very nice take on a traditional macchiato, and it certainly takes the edge off of the sometimes intimidating espresso flavor. It did leave me slightly dissatisfied — maybe because it exists somewhere between the sharp, bold flavor of an espresso and the sweet, satisfying flavor of a well balanced flavored coffee. I would, however, still recommend it, especially to those who skirt away from straight espresso drinks due to the strength of flavor.
Another specialty which Cold Smoke offer is “Turkish Coffee.” It is made by brewing the coffee directly with the grounds inside a 2.5 ounce cup while the edges of the cup are dusted with cinnamon and sugar. Because of the non-traditional brewing method, this tiny cup takes a full eight minutes to brew. I very much enjoyed this drink with one small caveat. I would only recommend this drink to someone who enjoys coffee purely for the sake of coffee. The long brew time brings out a flavor in the beans that is strong and complex but not as overwhelming as an espresso. However, flavor comes at a price, and after a few sips you will be confronted with the grounds at the bottom of the cup. I personally got a few grounds on my tongue, which is never that pleasant, but can be avoided if you’re careful. Also, I do disagree with the inclusion of cinnamon in this drink; a drink that is meant to draw on intricate flavor from the beans is only lessened by the addition of outside flavors like cinnamon.
Cold Smoke has also included the option of pour-over coffee — a method in which the coffee is brewed over the course of four minutes by slowly pouring hot water through grounds suspended over the cup. Though meticulous and time consuming, this method draws better flavor from the beans and produces a smoothness lost in traditional methods. But if you’re the kind of person who just enjoys a daily latte or something simple, Cold Smoke’s menu offers all the traditional staples, from cappuccinos to simple drip.
Overall, I very much like Cold Smoke’s new location and will no doubt be taking advantage of their unique hours over the course of the semester. I am very glad to be seeing an independent coffee shop doing so well, especially after only two years of business. It is a great addition to a great coffee atmosphere in Bozeman.
2051 West Oak Street, Suite 5, Bozeman, Mt 59718