Coffee Shops In Arkansas: Where To Go & Why

26 feb 2024

Adventuring with Cecilia

My mom and I have an ongoing debate about Dunkin vs Starbucks. But in actuality, both of these are complete and utter trash compared to the liquid gold offered throughout The Natural State, which is why this post must be included.

The list of “best coffee roasters and shops in Arkansas” could be nearly infinite, but we’ll keep it succinct to a top five–this is going to be hard! 

Retro Roasts

Website

With a motto of small town coffee, big city flavor, Retro has a lot of hype to live up to, and they don’t disappoint. Retro Roasts prides themselves on getting their beans to anyone who wants them, wherever they are in the world. They boast a rich Russellville-esque vibe and integrate our small-town history into each cup of deliciously brewed coffee and bag of intentionally roasted beans. 

Retro is located in Downtown Russellville, sharing their space with a local bookstore: Dog Ear Books, which makes their environment one-of-a-kind. If you’re looking to cozy up with a good book, great company, and a steamy latte, Retro Roasts is the place for you. 


Best drink: The Cyclone (Iced)


Midtown Coffee (Natural State Coffee Roasters)

Website

With a few locations popping up in the River Valley and a homebase in Russellville, Midtown Coffee is reaching as many people as possible, proving their Christian-based motto and mission of People First, Then Coffee, to be true. 

Midtown was ingeniously marketed to every type of coffee drinker. For those on the go, they have drive thru’s. For the slower, cozier vibe, their dark-interiored location in the Russellville City Mall is ideal. On the contrary, if you’re searching for a communal table and a bright, airy meeting space, their locations on North Arkansas and in Atkins are fabulous.

Inside scoop: In the summer of 2024, Midtown Coffee will cease to exist (duh duh duh!!!). Midtown Coffee started as a simple coffee shop and place for people to connect with one another. The Evants Family (owners) unearthed a passion for roasting their own beans in 2019, and in just a few short months, Midtown Coffee will make the full transition of rebranding to Natural State Coffee Roasters.


Best drink: Pablo Honey ~ cold brew, local honey, cream (or sub for vegan milk).


Level Ground Coffee

Website

Level Ground is an oasis in the midst of the vibrant hustle and bustle of downtown Conway–a literal beacon of tranquility! They are a non-profit coffee shop started by CrossPoint church, with 100% of their profits going toward local and global missions. 

The thoughtfully-designed floor plan, unique loft area, and inviting, genuine customer service keeps me coming back. With an abundance of different seating options, they’re the perfect spot for solo studying, group meetings, or general fellowship. Plus, they have really (really) good bean juice.

Level Ground is much more than a place to grab a coffee–when today’s society can feel so fragmented, they really stand as a pillar in their service to others. 



Fort Smith Coffee Co.

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Fort Smith Coffee Co., an artisan roastery, has two locations and is veteran and woman owned/operated. They strive to be an integral piece of the local community–a place that locals are proud of, and they have definitely succeeded. This emphasis makes you feel that they prioritize much more than the transactional side of business and they have done a stellar job at embedding themselves in their neighborhood. 


Although both locations are top-notch, the one located in the Bakery District of Fort Smith is my favorite. Tucked inside a repurposed warehouse, they have an enormously open layout, plenty of seating, lots of plants, and tall, lofted ceilings.



Olive Coffee Co.

Website

Olive Coffee Co. currently has two locations–one in Alma, the other in Barling (near Fort Smith), with a third on the way! Their bold mission proclaims, Coffee is our avenue. People are our destination., And they fully embody this biblical mission by being one of the friendliest coffee shops I have been to. Olive clearly lives their mission by curating an inviting atmosphere where there is no question of the Lord’s presence–it’s simply evident in who they are. 

In-house, weekly roasts? A given. To-go options? Of course. Olive takes it an extra step with their single-serve coffee pods, which put Keurig’s to shame. Olive Coffee Co. is worth the trip from Russellville to experience the sense of belonging as soon as you step inside–the seamless intertwining of faith, friendship, and really (really) good coffee is like a palpable embrace. 



——

Honorable mentions for other must-tries in the area: Fidel & Co. Coffee Roasters, Doomsday Coffee & Roasterie, Kennedy Coffee Roasters, 1677 Coffee Co., and Nexus Coffee & Creative. 

Coffee shops are basically buildings that give you a hug when you walk in the door. There’s so much depth to it: the intricacy of roasting and brewing–the history and innovation–the aroma, the coziness, the versatility of purpose, the individual and communal growth that can happen around a table. Coffee shops envelope a universal understanding of kindness and respect, and those in Arkansas are top-tier. 

Disclaimer: If a fabulous shop is unbeknownst to me in some obscure Arkansas town, please do let me know. 

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