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Moka drive thru coffeeIn a word: Pleases but doesn't wow.

The specs: #0701
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp; listing at Eat Drink Madison; official web site, Facebook.

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JM drank an oreo cookie shake.
Nichole drank a decaf mocha.
The bill was $7.50.
JM gave Moka a C-; Nichole gave Moka a B+ (see our grading rubric).

Moka was Java Detour until recently, but somehow it was under our list-radar until now. Their tagline is "Mochas so good we named our company after them," which is odd, but somebody who only just learned how to use a Moka properly (after her 3rd one) should keep her mouth shut. Unless it's drinking a mocha from Moka. Which is honestly very good: the cocoa flavor comes first and the espresso holds its own. They offered whipped cream but not a choice of milks (just fyi for you picky folks).

The man was not as cheerful about his oreo cookie shake. We're not capitalizing it because it didn't taste like Oreos - "Hydrox would be too name-brand," JM snarked. The shake was not very satisfying, best described as ice-milk-water with a grittiness similar to almond, rice or soy milk though we're not sure any of those were used.  The proximity of this shake to even a McDonalds "shake" is at best tenuous, as the latter may have some subset of flavors worth enjoying.

Cup holder

Some neato things - there's a small seating area but Moka is primarily a drive-thru, and it's on the morning-rush side of the street. The drive-thru could use better signage about the food options, however. We didn't see so much as a muffin on the menu, otherwise we would have tried the food. We noticed that they were selling water bottles to raise funds for The Road Home, which is pretty cool.

And as we returned to our own road home, we felt that Moka is a decent choice but not very Madison-y.  Now, if Espresso Royale (even though it's a chain) or Java Cat open a thoroughfare coffee stand, we might be talking the real deal.


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I agree with this, but we often go there before a drive to Milwaukee. That said, I did ask them why they went to Moka from Java Detour. Apparently the national chain was tanking, so the local owner bought it and changed the name, and they're now proud to be local. That said, they could do some tweaks, but maybe it fits for where it is and what it does?

Good coffee; that's enough for me. I never get specialty drinks.

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