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.
Former bookkeeper Gertrude Popp founded Poppinjay's Cafe more than 20 years ago, eventually recruiting her son and daughter to help oversee the expanding enterprise. Today, chefs at four locations across Bellevue and Kirkland craft creative breakfast and lunch items, mixing pastries from scratch and toasting fresh sandwiches piled with deli meats alongside ample vegetarian fare and healthy smoothies. They also load catering trays with enough snacks, full meals, and desserts to quell the hunger of dozens of revelers or one visiting mastodon.
Poppinjay's Cafe regularly supports its local community by making frequent donations to charities and organizations and hosting monthly meetings for All Women Empowered, an association dedicated to bettering the lives of women and children across the globe.