After our stop at “Let’s Eat” in Alma, we hit the road once again and approached Little Rock. Something about the past few days of travel and the stay at Devil’s Den had caught up with me, though, and as we came upon the Arkansas River I felt like I was about to fall asleep at the wheel. Coffee was needed once again, and a bit of traffic gave us some time to find the nearest excellent cup of coffee, and find it we did!
When we arrived at Guillermo’s, we didn’t know what to expect. When traveling, you always take a risk when you try a spot you found on a map or Google search, and you just have to trust the reviewers, Yelpers, and whoever else decides to put in a good (or bad) word about a restaurant. We saw that Guillermo’s had great reviews, so we skipped a couple of other coffee shops that were somewhat closer to our spot on the interstate to check them out. It totally worked out in our favor.
We could smell the coffee the moment we pulled up, and when we walked in the first thing we saw was the beautiful coffee roaster (from Idaho, I think) that they use. When I first saw it, I actually thought it was just an older one that was on display, but they told me that it was the one they use regularly for their blends. Shows you how much I know; I just drink the nectar of the gods, I don’t make it.
I may have mentioned this in a previous blog, but if not, I’ll point it out now. Anytime I try a new food or drink, I always feel this compulsion to at least taste it in it’s most basic form. For example, when I try a new bourbon, I want to taste the bourbon straight before I start mixing it with anything. If we go to a new restaurant that’s known for a certain type of meat, whether that’s typical steak or something a bit more exotic like bison, alligator, quail, etc., I want to try that food as it’s cooked before I eat it as part of a burger or with some kind of extra sauce. I’m the same with coffee; I love white chocolate mochas, but when we visit a new coffee shop I want to at least take a sip of their most basic blend without anything added. If that’s my test to tell who has good food or drink and who’s just covering up a mediocre product with all “the extras,” then Guillermo’s passed with flying colors. I did end up with a white chocolate mocha, but their coffee was simply tasty no matter how it’s ordered.
Guillermo’s has a variety of blends behind the counter, and then you can use that blend to create a variety of different drinks. I love coffee shops with options pertaining to the different roasts instead of just one or two blends with the option to make 837 different drinks. You could visit this place 10 times to get a basic cup of coffee and have 10 different flavor experiences, and I think that’s what sets apart the good shops from the great. They also sell some small batch syrups and other ingredients if you’re one of those at-home baristas.
We didn’t spend a ton of time in Little Rock, but I would absolutely go out of my way to visit this place again if we find ourselves back in Arkansas’ capital city. The coffee was outstanding, the atmosphere was chill, and the baristas were very knowledgeable. Plus, it gave me the pick-me-up I needed to continue on through our other stops in Little Rock as we headed towards the Mississippi River! Bravo, Guillermo’s!