Ultimate Ranking of Local Coffee Shops

Multiple local coffee shops are put head to head in rigorous ranking to determine the best coffee shop for Central Students.

By: Caden Lefler & Eli Oyler

Several coffee shops have been popping up all over Rapid City providing Central High students quiet places to study filled with a roasted bean aroma and free Wi-Fi. We have compiled a list of several popular coffee shops in Rapid City, South Dakota. We hit the town and ventured out to these coffee shops and rated them based on atmosphere, the taste and presentation of their caramel latte – which we feel can make or break a coffee shop -, price, and distance from Central providing the ultimate ranking of coffee shops in Rapid City.

  1. Scooters – Overall rating: 1.4 stars out of 5


Scooters drive-up coffee stand finds itself at the bottom of our list due to their unwelcoming drive-up window and to-go cups filled with overpriced bland coffee. Not to mention the five-minute drive up 5th street that undermines the convenience and ease for Central students and staff.

  1. Black Hills Blend – Overall rating: 1.6 stars out of 5


Another drive-up coffee stand, Black Hills Blend lands just short of last due to their long distance and to-go cups expected with this type of coffee shop. Although their coffee doesn’t taste bad at all, it’s probably not the best place for students to study.

  1. Starbucks on Mt. Rushmore Rd. – Overall rating: 2.2 stars out of 5


The legendary Starbucks is set way down on the list solely because of its overpriced coffee and plain “corporal” atmosphere. Starbucks holds very little individuality and screams “chain business”. Every Starbucks across the country has at least 1 piece of similar artwork. Atmosphere aside, Starbucks does provide moderately fast Wi-Fi and a quiet place to study.

  1. Dixon Coffee Company – Overall rating: 2.4 stars out of 5


Serving the average caramel latte, Dixon Coffee Company really pulls through with its conveniently close location to Central. Being only three minutes away from the school Dixon is able to provide another typical drive-up window experience.

  1. Revel, Essence of Coffee, Alternative Fuel – Overall rating: 3.2 stars out of 5


Although Revel, Essence of Coffee, and Alternative Fuel all find themselves in a three-way tie for fourth, they are not at all equal. Revel took over the old Dunn Brothers and has since given the place a new chic and modern feel. The price is low, but you are getting what you pay for. Though the coffee is a dollar cheaper, the coffee itself isn’t even worth that. For $3.50 you are practically paying for the water they washed the beans with. You can only taste the coffee for a split second as an aftertaste, once all the water has gone down.

Alternative-Fuel-red-for-web.1c232cb59deb878163a2927d0b8797b8Alternative Fuel on the other hand, with good coffee and a good atmosphere, deserves their number four place, their biggest downfall simply being distance.


The last shop to call fourth place home is Essence of Coffee. A wonderfully crafted cup of joe, Essence serves up a nice Australian roast in a stylish and cozy atmosphere. The only thing dragging them down is the price. They are quite spendy at $4.73 a cup and don’t even think about ordering food without spending over $20 in total.

  1. Dunn Brothers Coffee, Pure Bean – Overall rating: 3.6 stars out of 5


Surprisingly, everyone’s two favorite shops don’t find themselves at the top of our list. Both personal favorites of ours just fall short when it comes to price. Dunn Bros and Pure Bean both serve up delicious coffee that just comes with a higher price tag that may deter some students looking for a cheap place to study. Pure Bean, however, takes the cake in best atmosphere. A beautifully designed café with Instagram ready light fixtures, and comforting fireplaces to warm the soul along with their warming coffee.


Dunn Bros. has incorporated more industrialized and modern vibes into their new space which has really given them a facelift. Biggest personal downfall, no booths! However, their good coffee and long hours make up for it.

  1.     Harriet & Oak – Overall rating: 3.8 stars out of 5


Harriet & Oak, a newer coffee shop in town moved into the old Tire Muffler Alignment building on Main St. not too long ago. Switching oil for coffee, the little shop has gained quite the following, mostly of the middle-aged population, less so of the students. However, there is a lot to love in the quaint little place. You can enjoy your brew in their Volkswagen bus, or just sit above and watch the people below in their overhead balcony. Their atmosphere is great, and so is their price. With Caramel lattes for only $3.00 its practically a steal. For this cheap you’d expect coffee worse than Revel, but Harriet & Oak earn their number one seat by serving you coffee, not bean water.


Coffee shops have become a very important part of the Rapid City community, and that’s the very reason we thought you deserved to know which was best. If speed is your prime directive, the little drive up shop, Dixon Coffee Company, only 2 minutes from central takes the win. But if you are looking to have a quiet place to sit and study while enjoying a good cup of coffee for a cheap price, Harriet & Oak is the way to go. Although, if money is not a problem, you can enjoy a better cup of coffee with an equally pleasing atmosphere at either Dunn Bros or Pure Bean.