We stopped at Black Oak Coffee Roasters while we were road-tripping through California and were blown away by their lavender lattes. This week they're teaching us how to brew their delicious Lovers Lane Latte.
How did you get started?
Black Oak started in December of 2012. Two partners, Jon and Keith (me), had been putting together a business plan for a coffee bar in downtown Ukiah after being disappointed by the quality of coffee in town. We found out about a café and roastery that was going out of business and we threw our plans out the window and jumped on this.
Where are you located?
We're located in downtown Ukiah, the heart of Mendocino County. We have delicious wines, beautiful oceans and beaches, majestic redwoods, and now a great coffee roastery and café.
What are your specialities?
Our specialties are treating coffee with a culinary approach, like a fine wine, with seriousness and respect. Our passion is sourcing small lots of coffees from individually named farms, and roasting them to showcase the aroma and flavor of the farm or coop itself, without putting too much roaster influence on it. We roast for sweetness, nuance, and balance. We also strive to provide a vibrant community space where you can experience great coffee minus pretension, be comfortable, stay awhile. We try to make the menu a second home for the Starbucks customer while simultaneously challenging the coffee connoisseur.
What's your personal favorite thing on the menu?
Currently my favorite thing on the menu is a coffee from Ethiopia called "Buna Beloya." It has all the things we love in these coffees: black tea, mango, floral notes. Just gorgeous. If I'm in the mood for an espresso drink I'll go for the Lovers Lane Latte hot or iced- a shot of espresso with textured milk, local wildflower honey, garnished with bee pollen. When we first developed this drink, I was shocked at how well the pollen complimented the espresso flavor, and the way it kind of dissolves into the textured foam on top...
What's on the stereo?
Our music selection is a mixed bag. We have a turntable, and if we can manage it, you'll hear some modern vinyl and vintage oldies oldies - from Dolly Parton to Bob Marley to Fleet Foxes. Depending on who is on shift, you might hear 90's indie-rock, stoner metal, modern pop, motown, Sigur Ros, or some really obscure stuff. It keeps the atmosphere interesting.
Where else should we visit in your area?
Go have lunch at the City of 10,000 Buddhas, just south of Ukiah. One of the best and least known restaurants in Ukiah. Go see Montgomery Redwoods. Go to Anderson Valley and sample some of the world's best Pinot Noirs. Go to the Ocean and the village of Mendocino. Go to the Apple Farm in Philo and see a beautifully manicured biodynamic farm complete with happy livestock, vacation rentals and cooking classes. Say hi to Tim, Sophia, and Karen for me. They'd love to show you around.
Do you host any special events?
Is there anything else you'd like us to know?
Do you have a favorite cafe, restaurant or bar in your town that we should feature? Send us a message!