Seattle adventures, life, home, and coffee—in no particular order
According to the people who know things about espresso, The Slayer is the shit. Apparently so, because the wet soy cap that I ordered today at Kirkland Zoka was perfection in a porcelain mug.
And yes, “The Slayer” sounds so decidedly un-eastside. And yet, it might be just the thing that the eastside needed.
Seattle Weekly’s Rose Tosti was skeptical about a Zoka in Kirkland. To Tosti, a Zoka in Kirkland—of all places—was just plain weird. She cheekily suggested what she perceived as a more fitting combination for Kirkland, and, better yet, an untapped niche: coffee shop/salon.
The Kirkland location is everything that the Tangletown shop isn’t. It’s sleek. It’s modern. It’s filled with tan, perfectly made-up Kirkland soccer moms (in addition to the usual mix of young professionals, students, and retirees).
But despite the eastside facelift, Zoka was still Zoka. And the espresso didn’t hurt either, thanks in part to The Slayer.
$14k for coffee
It’s no secret that Seattle loves its coffee. So much so, that Seattle is the birthplace of one of the world’s most ridiculous espresso machines: The Slayer. Manufactured in Georgetown, The Slayer is the Ferrari of espresso machines. It’s sleek. It’s silver. It’s worth a pretty penny. 1,400,000 pretty pennies, to be exact.
So what makes The Slayer every barista’s fantasy? All its bells and whistles add up to a machine that’s completely customizable—so the lucky barista has total control over the brewing process. Want to modify the pressure? Done. Care to adjust the temperature? Check. Sure, it might take a few seconds longer, but who won’t wait for perfection?
Even in the caffeine-crazed PNW, The Slayer is still a rarity, although we do hold a considerable share of the market. As recently as September of 2010, only about 20 of the pricey machines were in action worldwide. As of this summer, only four machines were pulling shots in the greater Seattle area: one at the Kirkland Zoka, two at the Bravern’s new VoVito Caffe & Gelato, and one at the Ballard Market’s Equal Exchange Espresso.
When you walk through the doors of the Kirkland café, you’re greeted by a massive chunk of wood. The rustic crosscut turned community table originated in Idaho, the result of four maple trees fusing together. It’s pretty awesome. (You can read more here.)
The rest of the café draws upon the wooden accent. The shelves are hewn from similar crosscuts, another enormous chunk—presumably a kid’s table?—rests in the center of the shop, and the register area is lined with slightly more tame slices of wood. All this is complemented by crisp, modern accents. Seattle grunge coffee this isn’t.
I met the work gals for espresso and an excuse to get out of the house and converse with someone other than Jasper the Dog. Somehow, this was my first visit to downtown Kirkland, and I surprised by how cute it was.
We discovered that the town of Kirkland is totally wired, even if the connection was spotty at times. The rustic community table was the perfect place to work and people-watch, and the floor outlets were an added remote-worker bonus.
The verdict? Zoka did the westside proud on the eastside. The place is hip; the espresso is, well, the shit; and the service was great. While I’m much more likely to return to OZ (or, the Original Zoka, as it’s apparently known), the Kirkland locale did not disappoint.
Change of plans
Tomorrow, instead of capping the week with another helping of Vita, I’ve decided to make the pilgrimage to the Mecca of Seattle coffee-shops: Victrola. Stay tuned!