May TNT – Big Bear Cafe

I’m going to be honest, when Denman and i first talked about me covering the last TNT for error-vizion i wasn’t totally thrilled. Not because its not cool. Quite the contrary. Besides the social anxiety and being real lazy I already spend about 30 hours a week behind an espresso machine, so the idea of going to an event that is centered around coffee makes me a little queasy. But fuck it, time to be adventurous! From the moment I stepped out onto the street and ascended upon the glorious BIG BEAR CAFE I was very pleased. Lights were down low, occupancy reaching its limits and booming bass and hip hop beats spilling out of every orifice. My kind of a latte art competition.

The coffee glock is cocked.

So lets back it up a couple steps for those of you who aren’t familiar. TNT (Thursday Night Throwdown) is a latte art competition held once in a month in our beautiful nations capitol. A different shop hosts every month. Courageous baristas from all over the area are encouraged to come pour. $5 entry fee, winner takes all. Each work of caffeinated art is judged on three different categories if I’m not mistaken: Appearance, definition and contrast. Some baristas can get pretty nutty and creative but the designs seen most are the poignant heart, the timeless rosetta and last but not least the unholy behemoth known as THE TULIP. When these first started going down (3 or 4 years ago) when i still worked at Murky; TNT’s were a totally different beast. Typically lasting an hour, maybe 20 people would show up. Someone would throw on an ipod and there would more than likely be a couple six packs shared. NOW… shit. When i stepped into BIG BEAR last thursday it was poppin’, at least 75 people.

A long bar stretches most of the length of the establishment. On the left, facing the wall a GB5 is being used to pull shots and steam milk: The two ingredients needed on this night to walk away with a fist full of cash. Beside that the staff was taking drink orders, in the middle facing the best MC in the game: mike sala sit three judges, with olympic like score cards waiting to judge and critique the next round of art. What the is this.. Not the TNT I remember.

To the right of the judges a bartender from the passenger (or maybe gibson, can remember… i was on my own concoction that night) was manning the other end of the bar making mixed drinks. Needless to say I was impressed. Behind, in front, to the left and right of me were… people. Lots of people. Something that would normally make me feel very uneasy and require my departure. Not tonight though. I was surrounded by friends familiar faces and some people I might not know, but everyone was united under this roof for the same goal. To get fucked up, dance catch up with friends and watch people make art with coffee… yes. Julie from galaxy hut. Craig from Mt. St. Adrianna from the passenger. Everyone from the Chinatown crew posting up hard (props to lauren, pat and andrew for holdin’ it down…. don’t think i didn’t see that 4 tear tulip andrew). Maura, Jewdith and Brian from Peregrine. Skinny Andrew. Christy. Did I die and go to Heaven…

Craig's new tattoo by Cricket Cemetery headstone holder Myles Karr.

No I went to TNT.

32 cappuccino combatants went into the thunder dome, i mean cafe. And only one emerged. I can’t remember his name cuz i was totally fucked by this point but i can tell you that andrew shields got fucking robbed with fourth place. Second place victor was awarded a bunch of free schlitz swag courtesy of the lovely lucas.

The only ingredient missing from this night was Denman and I DJ ing, but that will happen soon enough…. I’m talking to you TNT coordinators. See you guys at the next TNT. And no, i will not be pouring.

1 Comment

  1. best tnt recap ever.

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