Ahhh…the smell of fresh roasted coffee and homemade baked goods…that was the welcome we received upon entering the Zenzero Bakery & Café in Coppell. The second round of the DFW Coffee Hunters search for great coffee was underway! I hesitate to opine so early in the game, but after all is said and done, I would not be at all surprised if Zenzero (pronounced “ZEHN-zeh-roh, which is Italian for ginger) ranks near the top of my personal favorites. Why you might ask? Let’s start with the owner of this sublime establishment. Ginger Blazek is passionate about baking. A graduate of The Culinary School of Fort Worth with a degree in Pastry Arts, I am certain she was at the top of her class. You can see it in her attention to detail with the simplest of tasks such as icing a fresh batch of cookies or baking their own bread for the burgers they serve up in their kitchen. Other coffee shops may offer baked goods or snacks of some kind, but this is on a completely different level. The shop itself, a narrow affair squeezed into a small stretch along Denton Tap Road, offers inside and outside covered seating. They were doing steady business on the morning of our visit but lunch the next day (yes, I went back with Donna) saw a string of hungry patrons lined up out the door awaiting their chance to order from the solid menu. Dinner is available on Friday nights and Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays with a completely separate and enticing menu. “What about the coffee?” you say. I’m glad you asked. As Mark Roberts mentioned, I will order a Cortado at each coffee shack we visit in order to level the playing field. Presentation is a bonus. But for me, it is all in the smoothness of the pull, the correct consistency and proportion of milk, and the richness of the flavor as it makes its way across my palate. Put a fancy heart on my foam if you must, but does the drink itself have heart? The clear answer at Zenzero is yes, it certainly does. Served with a sidecar of Topo Chico mineral water to cleanse the palate, this Cortado was exceptional. Parker, our barista, was both knowledgeable and skilled at his art. Offering a slow bar as well as espresso drinks, Zenzero showcases a number of coffee beans from Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters and a guest roaster (currently, Sweet Bloom Coffee from Lakewood, Colorado). They use a professional La Marzocco Strada MP espresso machine. These espresso machines are still made by hand just outside Florence, Italy. Does that make a difference? You bet your beans, it does. B.B. King once said, “I don’t do chords”. At Zenzero, while they don’t do flavors, they will do soy milk in addition to whole. They believe that simplicity and clarity lead to an exceptional cup of java. So don’t come to Zenzero if you want a “tall, skinny, two-pump vanilla, cup of waste-o-time”. Come to Zenzero if you want a smooth, fragrant, flavorful cup of coffee…and a cinnamon roll. Don’t forget the cinnamon roll. Brew on, fellow coffee hunters! p.s. the specific mineral water used as a cleanser is becoming of interest to me, so stay tuned for a home experiment I will be conducting in the near future!