Greetings, latte art enthusiasts! Philly's Thursday Night Throwdown is back this Thursday, September 4th. While HubBub has hosted TNTs in the past, this competition will be held at Square One Coffee on South 13th Street. Here are the details: participants will put in $5 each for a chance to throw down their dankest drinks on Square One's 3 group La Marzocco GB5- winner take all. The results will be judged by Crystal Weaver (of Passenger Coffee Roasters), Lori Zaspel of OCF Coffeehouse, and Emily Rupert, a local non-industry coffee enthusiast. As with all good TNT's, spectators are welcome and local beer will be available for swigging.
Philly is just one city of many across the country to boast a righteous Thursday Night Throwdown scene. TNTs began in March 2008 when Ben Helfen and M'lissa Muckerman, two baristas at Atlanta-based Octane Coffee, created the event as a way to pull the burgeoning local coffee scene together (find more info in this Barista Magazine blog post). The idea spread to other citites like D.C., Chicago, Brooklyn, Raleigh, San Francisco and LA.
There is something special about the combination of competitiveness and community that TNTs help to foster. We can't think of a better way to sum it up than what Richard Sandlin, co-founder of Bay Area Community Coffee, said in a recent story in the SF Chronicle:
There's an interesting subculture, which is competitive and collaborative: Who can be better, and how can we raise one another to be better? It's very skateboard, very punk rock, very hip-hop. It's a very millennial happening.
Less formal than a big latte art competition, and loads of fun, TNTs allow baristas to show off the results of their hard work, dedication, and passion. It's a really cool 3rd wave tradition, and we're lucky to have such a vibrant version of it here in our city.