Given that coffee is essential to the survival of most college students, I’ve always wondered why the University of Utah wasn’t surrounded by off-campus coffee houses. But when I heard about the uphill climb former U of U film student Ben Lanoha faced when he set out to open Coffee Noir, just a few blocks down the hill from the U, I got a bit of an education. Suffice it to say, some really whacked zoning laws were getting
in the way of his plan to renovate the forlorn Merit Market. But Lanoha is a smart, friendly guy. He persevered, made some friends in city planning, and made his coffee-house dream come true. Coffee Noir—the name reflects Lanoha’s love of film noir—is a small, clean, well-lighted place that not only draws students and neighbors, it has also become a favorite of regulars from a nearby senior center.
While Lanoha deserves extra credit for enhancing the neighborhood, he’s also introduced a terrific new coffee supplier to Salt Lake City. After training in the art of coffee at the American Barista & Coffee School in Portland, Lanoha followed his taste buds and his convictions and selected PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. of Topeka, Kan., as his supplier. Winners of Roast Magazine’s 2009 Roaster of the Year award, PT’s sources artisan, organic and sustainably produced beans (grown under a shade canopy, thereby preserving habitat for all manner of creatures) and engages in Direct Trade—a system that exceeds the Fair Trade price by a minimum of 25 percent for any coffee scoring above an 88 on its 100-point scale.
Bottom line: Coffee Noir’s brewed coffee and espresso drinks are as rich and complex as they are politically correct. Good work, Ben.
1025 E. 200 South