Pouring in the Panhandle

Field Report No. 20160801KB

Topic: TNT NW
Conditions: Competitive


COMMENTS: It's a hot Thursday night in the panhandle of Idaho, and people from all over the Northwest have congregated at DOMA Coffee Roasters for an event well worth the drive. It's the Thursday Night Throwdown Northwest (TNTNW), an event centered around baristas and their heavily practiced latte art skills. This competition is a bracket-style face off where two baristas go head-to-head with a single latte pour. The goal: out-pouring one's competitor. The judging is based on aesthetic, contrast, and difficulty of the latte art poured. The bracket of 26 is full of competitors from Spokane to Sandpoint and beyond. 

The throwdown begins with Bobby Enslow from INDABA vs. Shelby MacManus; Bobby moves on into the second round. The next twelve sets of competitors consist of every level of baristasome showing very impressive skills, and some letting their nerves get the best of them. The panel of three judges were brought in from as far away as Minnesota: Joe Morocco (Cafe Imports), Michal Bennett (Coffe Roboto) and Anne Halsne (Synesso). Prizes include the buy-in cash pool of $130, with major swag provided by the sponsor Espresso Parts: a coveted hat, a custom espresso tamper, a Barista Magazine subscription, and much more. 

Before round two, spectator cups are refilled with Infidel IPA donated by DOMA's neighbor Selkirk Abby, and hungry bellies are sated by Mangia Catering Co. wood-fired pizza. Competitors push through 90-degree heat (inside) and nerves in front of nearly 100 competitors and spectators. The event continues long into the night and finally culminates when the winning pour is thrown by Joey Ozol, a DOMA employee. 

As a career barista, cafe owner (Spaceman Coffee) and TNT competitor, I want to say a personal thank you to the community and partners who made this amazing night happen. Cheers folks, and here's to drinking beautiful coffee. 

-Kaiti Blom, Revel77 and Spaceman Coffee