roasted: zoka

an example of the “aesthetic” snapshots you can take at Zoka (featuring their new golden latte)

It is no surprise there are an abundance of coffee shops in Kirkland, being so close to one of the coffee capitals of the world in Seattle. Zoka Coffee is a Seattle-based chain with a location in downtown Kirkland, one of several coffee shops in that area. Zoka is frequented by students and adults alike, a spot for meeting, studying or socializing. There are many aspects to consider for a coffee shop, particularly the atmosphere, coffee quality, variety and pricing.

Zoka’s café is immediately pleasing to the eye, with its sleek marble tables and counters, complimenting the modern-rustic look with a large community table that looks like the cross-section of a tree. Zoka’s choice of using mainly windows for walls provides a large amount of natural lighting for those trying to study inside. The walls of the coffee shop are decorated with a rotation of different artists’ work featuring one artist at a time, sometimes an artist who works in the café. It definitely caters to those seeking the perfect Instagram of a latte against a white marble table. If you’re seeking the clean, bright white aesthetic with a hint of coziness, Zoka is a perfect fit.

“I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.”

louisa may alcott, little women

Zoka’s coffee itself is quite impressive, as they roast their own fair-trade coffee that can also be purchased in bags in their stores. One could be satisfied with their house drip, but customers are encouraged to try Zoka’s signature drinks such as the Gibraltar or the spicy Aztec Mocha. They also provide the standard coffee drinks, with variations of dairy-free milk and a selection of flavored syrups to add. Additionally, Zoka has a quality tea collection for those who prefer an alternative to coffee, as well as a comforting Spiced Chai Cider. They do not offer frozen beverages, which gives the café the air of an environment for “real coffee drinkers.” Clearly, the menu is built around the flavor of their coffee and to highlight the quality of their beans. They provide a wide variety of pastries, including bagels and sandwiches, which are displayed in the glass casing on the marble counter-top.

Personally, I frequent Zoka more than any other coffee shop for various reasons:

  1. It’s easy for me to get to
  2. The coffee is genuinely good
  3. They have a rewards system (you get your 11th drink free, and I’m ashamed to say I have earned 2 free drinks this year)
  4. I love all of the light
  5. They let me stay all day to work on my laptop and don’t make me feel bad for taking up a seat
  6. I now have my regular baristas who know me and my drink, and they’re all very kind and accommodating

There are cons to Zoka, being as it’s so popular it can get incredibly busy and loud, making it difficult to work at times. If you bring a good pair of earphones and are willing to wait out the rush, things will settle down and the environment will feel more relaxed. Pro tip: don’t go on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon expecting to get your own table. If you’re going there to work, later on weekdays are better, or morning and evening times on the weekend. Regardless, I have consistently good experiences there and highly recommend you pay Zoka a visit. You’ll probably see me there too, considering I practically live there now.

P.S.- Try their new Golden Latte, it’s delicious and great for when you want something comforting that isn’t coffee (which is rare for me but I still loved it).

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