I'm a cappuccino junkie. Been hooked on them for over 40 years; have my own Pavoni expresso machines and whip up a pretty good one if I do say so myself. Before the ubiquity of Starbuck's, I'd do road trips with my Pavoni machine safely stowed in the trunk, until (decades later) Starbucks' crazy idea was realized and there is one on every corner. Only trouble is, they can't make a decent cappuccino. Ever. I like to go out for a coffee; it's social and fun. So imagine my surprise when, in autumn of 2013, the best coffee house this side of Italy opened a few miles down the road from my house. It's Black Oak Coffee Roasters. These folks have done it right: technical mastery, perfectionist staff training and performance, on-site roasting, purchasing expertise, environmental awareness, and homey local atmosphere. I can't count the coffee houses I've visited the world over, from a Communist meeting house in Buonconvento, Italy, to the Cafe de Flore in Paris. Black Oak's coffee is in the world-class category. The owners, John and Keith, have created a welcoming atmosphere that has become a major meeting place in Mendocino County, with a great cross-section of people. There is food for breakfast, lunch, or snacks, which is pretty good but not my focus. I now buy their roasted coffee beans exclusively. Locals love the honey or lavender latte---not my style, but very aromatic. Try it!
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