A Lot of Artisanal Coffees in Los Angeles Lively Arts District

Dec 8, 2008
Melissa Pugash is a strategic marketing communications consultant based in Los Angeles. She has over 20 years experience in the specialty coffee industry and has worked with BUNN to expand its US and international public relations and marketing.

Its likely that 50 years from now, art historians throughout the world will look back at Los Angeles current art scene as a time of unprecedented vibrancy and exceptional creativity. Some of the most noteworthy activity is taking place in the citys Downtown Arts District, an area made up of stately old bank buildings and early to mid-Twentieth-Century office towers that have been converted into spacious residential lofts, artists studios and the citys most avant garde galleries. On the second Thursday of every month from noon to 9:00 pm the area comes alive with art enthusiasts from throughout Southern California for the citys increasingly popular Downtown Art Walk .

If you happen to be an aficionado of fine coffees as well as cutting-edge contemporary art, Lot 44 is one of the essential stops along the art walk route. Located in the Douglas Loft Building at 257 South Spring Street, the airy and open storefront boasts extra high ceilings with ample wall space for displaying large works of art. Behind Lot 44, the developer has created a beautiful atrium designed as a common space for all the ground-floor tenants to use for community events, concerts and exhibitions.

Drawing upon her more than 16 years of experience in the specialty coffee retail business and her life-long passion for art, President and CEO Ariel Graham has created the Lot 44 Coffee Gallery as a showcase for the visual arts as well as artisanal coffees, exquisite hand-crafted chocolate confections and exotic drinking chocolates. She notes, coffee and art have had a long history together beginning with the first intellectual and creative gatherings held in the early Vienna coffee houses. We are glad to reinvigorate that tasteful and artistic relationship here at Lot 44 Coffee.

On Thursday, November 13th, Graham, along with curator Lui Snchez welcomed Downtown Art Walk participants to the opening of Lot 44s inaugural art show featuring bold and colorful assemblages by photographer Adam Lewis Smith. The exhibition titled Palo Verde, showcases Smiths mosaic-like composites created from swatches of landscape photographs. Downtown Art Walk participants mingled and enjoyed tray-passed coffee and chocolate samples while chatting with Smith about his love of nature and listening to the disc jockeys rhythmic tunes.

Lot 44s guests can select from a vast and varied menu of premium quality estate grown beans and custom blends. Graham also offers off menu specials rare coffees that she shares proudly with the most discriminating customers. She explains, Lot 44 features a cup bar, the first of its kind in Los Angeles. We have a menu of the finest organic, Fair Trade, pesticide free, estate and small lot coffees. Coffees are available fresh brewed to order by the cup, with your choice of steamed milk, soy or rice milk. Our coffees are brewed by hand (not machine) and are custom made to your specifications. Offerings include Lot 44 Organic House Blend, Tanzania Peaberry Kilimanjaro, Heirloom Estate Puna, Yemen Mocha Sanaani, Ethiopia Misty Valley, and decaf organic Papua New Guinea Purosa. The drinking chocolate beverage menu includes Fair Trade Mexican Xocotal (a mixture of Mexican chocolate with chilies and cinnamon) and organic Ethiopian dark in 12 or 16 ounce servings. The stores small batch, Rainforest Certified, hand-made chocolates are infused with herbs, spices and extractions. They make for a heavenly treat or luxurious pairing with our fresh coffee beverages, Graham adds.

A specially designed metal rack holds several cones with paper filters, waiting to be filled with one of a selection of specialty coffees from Africa, the Pacific Rim, Latin America and other regions. Once the customer has made his or her choice, Graham or one of her enthusiastic and well-trained baristas grinds the beans and pulls hot water from the BUNN water dispenser into a large stainless steel pitcher and then methodically pours the hot water on to the waiting grounds, producing an aromatic customized brew. Graham notes, All of our coffees are roasted by a master roaster, in small batches to bring out the best flavor inherent in that particular bean. Thus, you will notice our coffees have different roasts unlike many of our competitors who are known for one similar roast on all their coffees.

In addition to for her talent for sourcing exceptional quality coffees and hiring coffee and chocolateobsessed baristas, Ariel Graham is a very savvy businesswoman who understands the importance of bringing creativity to every aspect of a successful business. For more information about Lot 44 coffees or upcoming events, visit Lot 44 Coffee.


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