Zoka Coffee Roasters & Tea

Overall Rating: 8.150

Address: 129 Central Way
Cross Street(s): Lake St. & Lake Washington Blvd.
City, State ZIP: Kirkland, WA 98033
Phone: 425.284.1830
Hours: M-F 6:30am-10pm; Sa-Su 7am-10pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 8.20
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 9
Presentation: 8
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 8.10
Aroma: 8
Body: 7
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 1.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Zoka Coffee Roasters & Tea
Cup Manufacturer: Le Porcellane d'ANCAP
Price: $2.50
Last Update: 05/16/2010
First Reviewed: 05/16/2010
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales; Outdoor Seating

This is a large corner café in Kirkland with a lot of seating inside on various tables and chairs, including a giant communal long wooden table and even the sawed-up midsection of a giant tree stump. Outside there is a lone metal table along Central Way near bronze public sculptures of wrestling rabbits in front. The laptop zombie factor is heavy here, as even this spacious café with its tall ceilings is packed with people who don't appear to work for a living. They use Mazzer grinders, a Hario Buono drip kettle with Bonmac drippers, and the wall sells everything from beans to Bodums to Chemex. They had a two-group Slayer machine when we visited, but they were packing it up to ship to an alternate Seattle location because of "underuse" here. (It's a three-group La Marzocco GB/5 instead.) The signs proclaim "19g of espresso extracted for all espresso drinks," and they use their Espresso Paladino for pulling shots (ours was from a five-day old roast). The shot has a mottled medium brown crema of average thickness. It has a smooth and simple flavor of blended spices, herbs, a touch of molasses, and runs very fruity (stone fruit). Combined with a little bit of chocolate on the finish, there's a bit of chocolate-covered cherries going on. But clearly this is no brightness bomb. The flavor is blended well and somewhat understated - almost too understated compared to the shots of Paladino we used to have at SF's defunct Cafe Organica. There is definitely an Old World dimension to the working espresso blend here.