BUTTE, MT - Chai. Espresso. Milk. Ice.

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When these four things come together correctly and passionately, they form a drink nothing short of incredible. It's what I order every single time I take my poor butt to a coffee shop, and I have no regrets. Many seasonal, classic, or sworn-by coffee-based drinks have tried to sway me, but none of them have succeeded. Nothing will ever keep me from saying these six words anytime I approach the coffee counter: "Medium iced dirty vanilla chai, please." Not even the hurtful and derogatory accusations of being a "basic white girl" will deter me. In some ways, aren't we ALL basic white women?

Let's veer away from the potentially charged conversation I'm starting to bring up (jokingly) and steer towards something that made me proud to be a citizen of Butte. It involves those four key ingredients listed above but also contains a few more that are essential to mention. And before you ask, yes, one of them is love. :)

I can't tell you how many times I found myself traversing the world, craving a cup of coffee, and found myself disappointed by the quality of the beverage. In fact, one of the experiences I had was so terrible that I swore off paying over $6 for a cup of Joe—or a cup of what tasted like a cup of coffee-flavored water with a hint of misery and about two metric ice cubes. As you could've guessed, I did end up going back on my promise to myself, especially since that experience was pre-Covid and now it's impossible to find a cup of coffee under $6.

That is until I found a low-key spot here in Butte. Ever since my coffee-seeking eyes laid their dirty gaze on the joint, they've noticed that this shop is always popping. Notice how I didn't say busy, because "busy" implies "good luck ever getting in and out of the place before you have to go to work." No, I said popping, as in "whoa, there's always people there but they seem cool even though I don't know them"—and, come to find out, I'm always in and out of there before I can blink.

I'm talking about one of my new favorite coffee shops, She Brews Coffee off of Harrison next to the highway. That's the other really solid part: their location should be nowhere as efficient as it is. With a whopping duel drive-thru, a walk-up window, and a parking lot, it should be as congested as my dad's nose when he tries to explain something important to him. But nope. The shop is a freakin' breeze every single time I awkwardly walk up to the window looking like Justin Timberlake in public after his recent run-in with the po-po and ask for my chai latte. I'm not embarrassed, I swear.

On top of all that, they actually have really solid coffee (and chai). Anthony Bourdain taught me a while ago that any place that is always popping usually means that it's pretty darn good. She Brews is no exception. I even went out of my comfort zone (or into it, I guess) and ordered a normal drip coffee to really get a feel for the place. It was so good that my proceeding heartburn was well worth it. Plus, the under $6 price tag made me very happy.

What's really cool—as clever readers might have picked up from the name—is that the place is entirely female-ran. Managers, employees, and the presumable owner(s) are all female, and they aren't afraid to show it. In fact, every employee at every one of their locations—Butte, Anaconda, and Helena, with Three Forks and Bozeman soon to follow—is female. For me, it's very refreshing to see.

I could sit here and talk about my appreciation of She Brews all day (especially their breakfast food and treats (get the cinnamon roll (triple parenthetical))), but I have other things to do than sit here and gush over one of my new faves. Like going and getting another dirty chai.

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