Is coffee something to die for?
French captain Gabriel De Clieu sure was willing to make more than a few sacrifices for a great brew. It all started back in 1723, when De Clieu either conducted a midnight raid of Paris’s Jardin des Plantes to steal a seed from the king’s coffee plant or hired a prostitute to convince professor Pierre Chirac to sneak him the plant, depending on what legend you subscribe to.
With the precious plant on board, De Clieu set sail for the Caribbean. Just out of port, Tunisian pirates attacked De Clieu’s ship, but the Dromedaire was able to repel the attack and the voyage continued across the Atlantic. It was smooth sailing until one of the crew, rumored to be a spy, was caught trying to sabotage the coffee plant. This forced De Clieu to guard his precious coffee day and night, which did not help when Mother Nature also attempted to crush the plant with a severe tropical storm, followed by a crippling series of windless and hopeless weeks. the Dromedaire was left with little water, so each member of the crew had tiny rations.
With a dedicated commitment to the coffee cause, De Clieu actually shared his water with the plant. In his journal, he wrote: “I would have died of thirst to keep alive the plant they had given me. But listen, you know what glory this precious little plant promised me! If I died, then so be it! But I knew coffee held a glorious destiny for me.”
After an arduous journey, the ship made landfall in Martinique. Still a bit paranoid, De Clieu planted thorn bushes around his sacred plant and with enough labor and time yielded a great harvest. Seeds from the famous plant started a plantation, and the rest is history. By 1777, the island of Martinique had over 18 million coffee plants, and continues to be an important player in the coffee trade to this day, due to one man with a plan.
In the spirit of the Frenchman’s valiant sacrifice, I reviewed some local coffee shops that are close to campus so that you don’t have to fight pirates or cross the Atlantic to enjoy a good brew.
International Coffee Traders
Right across the street from campus, with a variety of coffees from around the world, International Coffee Traders (ICT) is aptly named. Their beans are consistently fresh and the staff is very knowledgeable and helpful.
The big windows let in plenty of natural light which contributes to the inviting atmosphere. Cody Hall, a student at MSU, feels that “Everything, from the student vibe to the free lemon water, makes this place my favorite in town.”
With people talking and studying, activity buzzed throughout the cafe. The seating is decent, but the great coffee and unique space make ICT a very pleasant coffee shop indeed.
The Daily Coffee Bar
Almost hidden in a suite of office buildings, The Daily’s secondary location is favorite of students and professors alike. In short, the coffee is fantastic and the ambiance and seating are average and decent respectively.
Although there are no places to sit back and relax on a couch, there is plenty of seating with your standard table and chair setup. The metal tables are surely something from a 50’s diner but The Daily has everything you would expect in a 21st century coffee shop.
Rockford Coffee Co.
Just a short walk from campus, at the corner of 7th Avenue and Main Street, Rockford has a variety of tables, nooks, bar style and couch seating. It is a great mix of personal and group spaces. Although the coffee isn’t as tasty as you might find other places in town, Rockford is somewhere that you could accidently spend a few hours — or days — avoiding your roommates.
The big windows that face Main Street allow you to witness the hustle and bustle of Bozeman in your own comfy space. Every Sunday through Thursday, drip coffee is free from 6 p.m. -8 p.m., the best happy hour deal for coffee you can find anywhere.