This is a public service announcement for all Australians who are seeking a real cup of coffee in the USA. Make your way immediately to the town of West Yellowstone in Montana. There you will find the true secret of happiness. An elixir that you will recall with fondness for many months and bad coffees to come. It is here that you will find Morning Glory Coffee & Tea. The home of the flat white.
I don’t consider myself a coffee snob but like most Australians these day, I do enjoy a good cup of coffee. I’m not talking about the light florals of Geisha beans which are one of the most expensive beans on earth. I’m not talking about cold drip, single origin beans that have been picked from an east facing slope and brewed by a Millennial hipster. No, I’m talking about a relaxing cup of coffee at breakfast or morning tea. Whilst I drink espresso when I go out, at home and most days at work, it’s plunger coffee. I have a plunger that I travel with in both Australia and overseas as whilst I’m not seeking perfection in every cup, I am seeking consistency. This unfortunately is not something you are going to get as you travel through Midwest of America.
Some research on places to eat in West Yellowstone turned up Morning Glory Coffee & Tea. We visited one morning on our way to Yellowstone NP and knew we were onto a good thing when we saw the coffee roaster. Imagine my surprise when I was able to order a flat white. As I looked around the cafe, I noted a coffee bean bag with a kangaroo on it. As I struck up a conversation with owner Chris Bourke, the scales fell from my eyes. Chris had spent some time in Australia and had even considered emigrating at one point. In particular he had spent time around Byron Bay, working with a local coffee company. After spending time in Australia, that close to coffee beans, of course he knew what a flat white was!
Though dining in, our coffee came in the requisite takeaway cup that is such a part of coffee culture in the US. What a tonic it was to enjoy a simple flat white with the coffee/milk mixture all the way to the rim, without half of it comprising foam or limited to one espresso shot in what is clearly a two shot cup. A word to those who live in the metric world – think twice before ordering the ‘medium’ or 16 oz cup as I did on auto-pilot. That’s nearly 500ml or half a litre of coffee! A more reasonable 12 oz or 350ml will probably see you right.
Morning Glory do all of their roasting on site in small batches. They have a range of blends including the evocative Hellroaring Espresso, named after Hellroaring Creek, the headwaters to Yellowstone NP. A specialty coffee was on offer in the form of Montana Huckleberry. Huckleberries grow wild in the Pacific Northwest and only in mountain regions. They are much beloved by Montanans who go on picking expeditions to berry patches that are in locations that have been family secrets for generations. Huckleberry Coffee seemed like a fitting souvenir so I purchased a small pouch to bring back to Australia. It’s berry/raisin scent and medium roast were the perfect thing to get me through the mornings in those first long days back at work after Christmas.
As I said, any Australian who is in need of a decent coffee and is in the area, should be seeking out Morning Glory Coffee and Tea. If you’re not in the area, I’d ask, why not? West Yellowstone is a great town, with much better facilities than the options inside the park. There’s heaps of accommodation, an old fashioned soda fountain, laundromat and a couple of supermarkets as well as plenty of restaurants. They also have an amazing Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Centre which I highly recommend. Did I mention there’s a good coffee shop?
Morning Glory Coffee & Tea
129 Dunraven St
West Yellowstone MO