They've been there since 1991, apparently. It would be easy to tag this as a counterculture shop, but it's not so. The owner sez he gets an amazingly diverse demographic, and although I was in there during a lull, the few folks attending to their PCs or books at the time lent credence to that claim.
Anyone planning a stop coming through the state could enjoy a brief respite from travel at Falls Park, just 5 minutes off I90, and this shop is only 5 minutes further into the city. The shop's probably only 5 minutes from I29 as well.
I'll be getting my usual road drink for the drive back to Chicago tomorrow; a pair of doubles in something big and full of ice, plus some (but not much) half & half. My samplings there today were just fine.
Is anyone on these boards even from, say, within a hundred miles of Sioux Falls?
Posted Thu Mar 15, 2007, 11:29am Subject: Re: Black Sheep Coffee in Sioux Falls, SD
I grew up in Sioux Falls and tried Black Sheep on a visit once a year or two ago. The coffee was good so I gave their espresso a try and was dissapointed. The barista had the grinder doser over half-full when the shop was mostly empty so as expected the espresso had virtually no crema and was pretty dreadful. My folks, who now live near Alexandria, MN, still pick up roasted coffee when they are in SF. Next time I'm in town I'll have to give them another try.
I will say I'm spoiled from PT's Coffee in Overland Park, KS and Kopplin's in Saint Paul.
Posted Thu Mar 15, 2007, 10:00pm Subject: Re: Black Sheep Coffee in Sioux Falls, SD
Actually, on a subsequent visit I noted a few things that suggested to me that the staff may be a bit, well, isolated from the rest of the coffee world.
I don't understand that. I really don't. How can a shop with free WiFi be out of touch?
I also noticed one of the PBTC's tamping technique, and was a bit surprised at how careless it seemed.
They've been in business since 1992, I believe, and I have to contrast them a bit with Four Beans of Batavia (mentioned in another thread in this section). 4B is totally new. However, the owners did their homework, traveled around, took in the best training available anywhere, and this shows in their work (though I think they'll be tweaking their signature espresso blend for some time to come -- not that it's bad).
Of course, Starbucks has been open a LONG time, and things haven't gotten consistently better with time. Maybe it's unrealistic to expect projects well-begun to endure for long.
Black Sheep roasts a bit dark, too. They're a bit closer to the west coast than I. ;-)
I have been to both. The first (and last, I am sorry to say) time I visited Black Sheep in Sioux Falls was about two years ago. Their coffee is very reminiscent of Starbucks, in terms of degree of roast, which I do not prefer.
Black Sheep in St. Paul is the diametric opposite, in my opinion. It is specialty coffee at its best, and you know it the minute you walk in and spot the Synesso. The espresso is outstanding, the cafe is spacious and comfortable and beautifully done, and the pastries are made on site and are wonderful. My wife - a non-coffee drinker - gives Black Sheep her imprimatur as an overall enjoyable experience, and if you knew my wife you would know that this is a high compliment. We do a lot of cross-country driving, and we have been to a number of the better known coffee shops, ranging from Simon's in Boston to Caffe Luxxe in L.A. As far as both my wife an I are concerned, none is as good from an overall perspective as Black Sheep, and only Simon's can compare in terms of attention to detail on specialty coffee preparation.
St Paul is actually blessed (!!) with two comparable shops that serve outstanding specialty coffee and provide a great overall experience. Kopplins, like Black Sheep, has a Synesso. Kopplins also has a couple of Clovers. The shop itself is smaller than Black Sheep, but similiarly well done. Talk about serious coffee people!
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