I finally made it to Zoka, a much renowned coffee shop with two locations. I’m at the one in the U-District, which is next door to OmniGroup, and where Delicious Monster does 90% of their development work (or so they say). It’s crowded, there isn’t a seat with a table available, so I’m sitting with my laptop in my lap, on a throne by the entrance, and hoping a table opens up before my battery dies. It has an interesting atmosphere; I think Caffe Coccinella is a bit more welcoming, but Zoka has a much stronger feeling of industry; even the people just hanging out seem like they’re getting stuff done, and the rest of the room has their laptops out and are working or studying.
The counter is burlwood panelling, and the flooring is a dark hardwood, the color looks like cherry, but that has more to do with the stain than the wood, if the grain is any indication. All in all, it seems like it would be a nice place to hang out and meet people (several communal tables, for instance), if it wasn’t quite so crowded. There is a banner above the counter that talks up Phuong Tran, the 2005 US Barista Champion, who also serves as Zoka’s head barista trainer. Kudos to her. The Cafe Au Lait I bought is certainly tasty. If forced to choose between Zoka and Caffe Coccinella, I’d pick Caffe Coccinella, but it’s a hard call, and both are quite enjoyable.
More seating at Zoka would be nice, though.