5 Cent Coffee at Wall Drug

Eric Faust / Heavy Table
Eric Faust / Heavy Table

Finding a cup of coffee for under a dollar is nearly impossible unless you are willing to go to a gas station where a tank of gas or a reusable mug can get you a cup for 59, 69, or 79 cents. Finding a cup of coffee for a single coin is a thing of the past unless you happen to be driving across South Dakota.

It doesn’t matter if you come from Minnesota or Wyoming — the signs for Wall Drug begin as soon as you cross the border. Situated in the small town of Wall, Wall Drug is a necessary stop for anyone passing through South Dakota. If you have never been, there is a good chance you have seen a bumper sticker or heard rumors of the signs advertising Wall Drug hundreds of miles away. Boasts of homemade pie, cowboy hats, free water, and homemade ice cream are displayed on the signs, which repeat over and over again as you get closer.

5 cent coffee is one of the signs’ most prominent topics. For honeymooners and veterans, the coffee and a doughnut is free, they note. But for the common traveler a cup will cost you a nickel.

Eric Faust / Heavy Table
Eric Faust / Heavy Table

The 5 cent coffee is located in multiple places within Wall Drug. There is no cashier — the customer serves herself. Dropping a nickel into a wooden box is all that is needed to pick up a ceramic mug to fill up.

The coffee is tea-like, yielding a thin body with a classic coffee taste, reminiscent of Folgers made with a less than generous dose of coffee. There are no particular nuances or flavors that make the cup extraordinary.  It is a classic cup of coffee — you can drink two or three cups before the caffeine kicks in. The constant traffic through Wall Drug keeps the coffee flowing so it is fresh and hot. It isn’t particularly high-quality coffee, but for a nickel, it’s a steal.

If coffee snobbery has written off cheap coffee, or lattes and cappuccinos are the your drink of choice, the Mocha Moose is across the street. The Mocha Moose is a full coffee shop with full prices. Using coffee from Dark Canyon Coffee Company in Rapid City, SD, the Mocha Moose serves a better cup of coffee than Wall Drug… but it’ll cost you a handful of nickels.

Wall Drug

Roadside Oasis in Wall, South Dakota
510 Main St.
Wall, SD 57790
Winter 7am-5:30pm; Frontier Town Mall and Restaurant closes at 5pm
Summer 6:30am-9pm; Frontier Town Mall and Restaurant closes at 8:30pm

Mocha Moose

Coffee shop in Wall, South Dakota
511 Main St.
Wall, SD 57790
Daily 8am-8pm

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