Winner of Roast magazine's 2008 Macro Roaster of the Year, Zoka has its brewmasters travel throughout Africa, Asia, and South America in search of the richest coffee deposits. And in-store customers get to sample them all, whether cuddling up with a 12-ounce mocha ($4) inside the dark-wooded walls of Zoka's Greenlake District location, having an intellectual debate with a muffin ($2.50) at the student-filled University of Washington location, or headbanging to the new Slayer espresso machine in the heart of Kirkland. Zoka's pro-level baristas make sure each cup of java juice is fresh and potent by serving it mere minutes after it's roasted, rather than minutes after it's emerged zombie-like from a vacuum-packed plastic tomb. Otherwise, indulge in a pot of tea ($4.25) paired with a scone ($2.50), or find a heartier, bread-based drinking buddy in a breakfast sandwich ($5). Each Zoka location treats customers to two hours of free WiFi and assorted Internet skateboarding.
Heels click on concrete underfoot and stainless steel reflects nearby lamps in hazy halos. With its industrial design materials, muted color palate, and low lighting, Urban Coffee Lounge evokes a city at night—albeit a city populated by pastries and overcast with clouds of espresso steam. Beans from Stumptown Coffee Roasters populate espresso shots and lattes, which the café's expert baristas crown with foam swirled into popular shapes including leaves, hearts, and silhouettes of Lyndon Johnson. Pastries from more than 10 Puget Sound artisan bakeries—including Mighty-O Organic Donuts and Finales Gourmet Desserts—fill glass display cases with bagels, scones, and macaroons in flavors such as salted caramel and dark-chocolate raspberry. Urban Coffee Lounge tempers the zing of its coffee with mellow pints of La Fin Du Monde and Scuttlebutt amber ale and wines from 14 Hands Winery and Lo Tengo. Plush leather couches and complimentary WiFi invite guests to stay as they please, and a small stage hosts local bands for evening music performances.
Local artwork adorns the walls within Java Zombie, a Kirkland café with an ambience as cozy and comforting as a pantsuit sewn from deconstructed teddy bears. Baristas here brew Vivace espresso, steam milk for lattes, and top rich hot chocolate with dollops of whipped cream.
In the morning, patrons can sink teeth into breakfast sandwiches and burritos. Later in the day, the focus turns to gourmet sandwiches made with Boar's Head meats and artisanal breads from The Essential Baking Company. The menu also includes vegetarian and vegan options and gluten-free pastries from Stone Layne. Free WiFi signals drift through the air, and bands play live music during special events.
Cold Stone Creamery's ice cream, which is made fresh in stores every day, inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its super-premium quality as it glides over taste buds. Choose your favorite ice cream from among dozens of silky flavors, such as irish cream and butter pecan. The ice cream generously welcomes dozens of toppings as traditional as crumbled cookies and chopped nuts or as quirky as granola, black licorice, and pieces from magnetic poetry sets. Sufferers of premature brain freeze who are unable to invent a creamy concoction can try a Cold Stone Signature creation ($3–$5), such as the almond-studded and caramel-slathered Coffee Lovers Only or the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection with Reese's peanut-butter cups and fudge. The Frankencream you desire will be scooped cold off the grill into a freshly made waffle cone or bowl. Ice-cream creations are priced from $3.50 to $4.50, depending on size.
Great Harvest specializes in baking tasty delicacies and healthy, homemade breads ($4.50–$8.50 per loaf) that are high in fiber, free of preservatives, and crafted with freshly milled flour every day. The bread selection changes each day of the week according to a monthly schedule; previous offerings include golden honey wheat and Dakota bread. Gluten-free and high-protein breads are available in a variety of flavors, including gluten-free cinnamon-chip bread. For carb connoisseurs that prefer breaded delights that are easily juggled, Great Harvest bakes scones, muffins, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and bars.
Emerald City Smoothie's menu showcases a variety of frosty cups of drinkable fruit blended to order. Smoothies come in couture 16-, 24-, and 32-ounce containers and prices range $4.25–$6.25, depending on the number of add-ons. The peanut passion is a popular option, bringing baseball's chosen legume to bat with a team of bananas, strawberries, and protein. Acquaint innards with antioxidants as you sip the sambazon smoothie, which deploys cold açai berries, cranberries, and strawberries to fight the hand of time's middle finger. Kids’ options ($3.95 each) include the chocolate champ, a chocolate, peanut butter, milk, and protein mishmash.