There’s a new brew in the neighborhood: Atypical Coffee of Little Rock, which sources its beans directly from coffee growers around the world and roasts them locally. It’s a small-batch coffee company whose products currently are available only at the Hillcrest Farmers Market and online, AtypicalCoffee.com.
David Withrow and Kyle Hookstra are the co-founders. The two friends met at Sterling College, a small liberal arts school in Sterling, Kansas, in 2000. When Withrow, now a lawyer for the state of Arkansas, moved to Little Rock about a year and a half ago, he moved into a house backing up to Hookstra’s.
They shared an interest in coffee, an interest they had developed independently of each other, and after becoming neighbors they began talking about starting a business. Hookstra has worked in the coffee industry for years and has done everything from serving as a barista to roasting coffee.
Their goal: a good cup of coffee that isn’t outrageously priced. “We’re trying to make specialty coffee approachable,” Hookstra said.
Recent offerings came from Honduras and Uganda. Coming up are coffees from Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Myanmar and another Honduran coffee. The business partners want to showcase coffees from “atypical origins that you don’t necessarily see in the U.S. market very often,” Withrow said. They have their sights set on “hidden gems.”
Atypical Coffee engages in direct trade, buying straight from coffee growers. Withrow and Hookstra want to grow their company, but they’re also looking to help as many small coffee growers as possible through direct trade.