When you head to Mammoth Lakes, you have exactly five (5) choices for coffee: The Looney Bean, Stellar Brew, Starbucks, Black Velvet Coffee, and the back of my XTerra.
I have been a long-time Looney Bean and Stellar Brew patron. Stellar Brew has great sandwiches and Looney Bean has their Black Diamond and Black Russian dark roasted coffee.
However, when you're looking for an absolutely exquisite espresso, there is no other choice in Mammoth Lakes than Black Velvet.
There's a lot that goes into a simple espresso and nothing for the average bystander. Yes, the espresso at Black Velvet takes longer than an average bar in Florence and yes, the line at Black Velvet is probably longer than other coffee lines in town, but when the outcome is near perfect espresso (because nothing is perfect), I'll happily wait in line for something this good.
Otherwise, I'll just head back to the Old Shady Rest Campground and make coffee myself.