First time for everything…
What a journey and what fun I have had at TNT. The first anniversary of Washington D.C.’s Thursday Night Throwdown is approaching and so many things have happened. This is my first contribution to the TNT blog. The first TNT held at a location other than the Counter Culture training center took place in July at Chinatown Coffee where Janet took home the cash (a first time win from a NY resident, though, Janet had lived in D.C.) Peregrine Espresso hosted the August event where a new first time TNTDC champ was named- Nick Cho won a bottle of beer and gave it away.(Pretty sure he kept the cash). Katie Duris, the primary player in the birth and nurturing of TNTDC has moved to New York. We miss you, Katie!
Well, here we are.
Back to Chinatown Coffee and the event in July. A first ever head to head match up took place as Chinatown boasts dual espresso machines, side by side with towering Robur grinders flanking to the right and left.
Here is the not-quite-champ-yet Janet behind the Robur E.
The head to head style was intense. Two competitors faced off with their own machine, own grinder and choice of cups to use. They steamed, they poured, the judges judged and the winner advanced while the loser picked up another beverage and enjoyed the rest of the party. Judging was done by three with a simple choice– A or B?
With bracket-style advancement, eventually it came down to the final two competitors. Up for grabs on this evening, Nick Cho presented a WBC Reg Barber tamper from the Tokyo competition- definitely a hot 1st place prize!
Here are a few more pics of the pours and the people… Then, the sweet ‘money’ shot!
These are just some of the great and fun pours. The judging was done based on ‘what the judges liked best’, not the traditional balance, color, aesthetics stuff which made the smiley face pour win in the head to head. Thank you, Mr. Jensen, for that happy cappuccino!
It was a great night. Thanks, judges, baristas and Chinatown!
on to August…
Another head to head match up was to take place at Peregrine Espresso, touting a big, four group machine and symmetrically placed Robur E’s- perfect for bracket style, 2 baristas enter, 1 barista leaves-in-your-face kind of stuff.
Only, this time, Ryan Jensen had a ‘twist’ up his sleave that he did not reveal to anyone until the face offs were to begin.
Ryan presented 5 vessels with which each competitor was to choose to pour into. The chosen vessel could be used by the competitor for one round only. If they advanced, they had to choose another vessel. Judging would be on overall impression which included pour and vessel used. Competitors going head to head did not get to see what the other was choosing. On hand were latte cups1(12oz), mach cups(3oz), Belgian beer goblets(big enough to hold a beer with a head) stainless steaming pitchers(20oz) and coffee bean sample trays(?oz) You will see what I mean…
The bracket turned crazy with an odd number of people and in the end, it was a three way match up for the prize and bragging rights. That nights lovely 1st place prize, on top of the cash, was a Maudite glass and a big beer to pour into it complements of Ryan and Jill Jensen and Peregrine Espresso.
Lets get to it:
The face off started with a lovely pour by Andy from Caffe Pronto
in the traditional latte cup. As pours go, I think it beat Grants attempt, but the judges favoured the complexity of the vessel. Grant advanced with the steaming pitcher.
This made everybody think twice or even three times before they chose what to pour into. The beer glass seemed most elegant and eye catching, but the tapering at the top caught me by surprise. Hence, I didnt even fill the glass with my pour.
Miguel from Peregrine went for the bean tray. Just a little on Miguel: He had been trained on the bar the week of this TNT and decided to throwdown! Nice going, Miguel!
Meredith answered with this beauty.
David NF was experiencing his last TNT in the states for awhile since he is on his way to Europe. He threw down against Allie and beat her mach cup pour with this rippley heart.
I started to meander about and lost track of some of the match ups and stuff, sorry. Here are some other great things…
Here is Nick’s winning pour…
and the presentation of the winnings…
I think that it was quite a night. Katie and David’s last TNT while D.C. residents, DNF’s last for a bit…
A big thanks to judges, competitors, Jill and Ryan at Peregrine and the TNT committee for making this awesome. I know I left out so much and will continue to work to make this site and the event great!
Next TNT is September 10th at the CCCDCTC!