|Photo | Anthony Sica
Philadelphias coffee cognoscenti held its monthly Thursday Night Throwdown (TNT),
a fast-paced latte art competition, on July 22 at Spruce Street Espresso
(1101 Spruce St.), and Meal Ticket was there to take in the event in all of its pulled, pressed and caffeinated glory.
This latest Throwdown brought together 28 competitors to try their hands at winning the monthly title and championship medal. Lovers and Madmen
, Ultimo Coffee
, 1 Shot
, Gryphon Café
, Café Clon
and the host café were among the shops that tasked their top baristas with representing. TNTs started in Atlanta
and have quickly spread up the East Coast, bringing together local, regional and national coffee communities. The Throwdown itself is a tournament bracket-style contest where one barista is pitted against another behind the espresso machine they each get 3 minutes to prep their espresso and milk, and one free-hand pour to demonstrate their loftiest interpretation of latte art. The meticulous judging criteria
Balance and symmetry: dividing lines are clean and even
Color infusion and definition: the contrast between the whiteness of foam and the darkness of the crema. and the intention of the design is obvious and clear
Use of space: the design fills the cup in an appropriate and pleasant way. The design neither crowds the cup, nor leaves it feeling empty or unfinished. there is harmony between the size of the cup and the size of the design.
Overall impression: drink is free of spill marks and cup is appropriately full of liquid. General aesthetic appeal and subjective appreciation.
|Courtesy of Betty Ortiz
"Mid-Atlantic Barista Mom" Betty Ortiz
of Spruce Street was a perfect host for the floating contest, which was sponsored by roasters Counter Culture
and presided over by judge Aaron Ultimo
of Ultimo Coffee (top pic, light blue shirt); he ultimately decided whose cups moved on from round to round. This time, Jonathon Amos
of Bodhi Coffee
(410 S. Second St.) won top honors. It's serious stuff the winner walks away with cash and coffee swag in addition to bragging rights. Above all else, though, it serves as an opportunity to hang with some of the most passionate, friendly food/drink people in the city. Augusts Thursday Night Throwdown will be held at Ultimo Coffee at 15th and Mifflin; keep an eye on TNT's site for more info.
Check out video of the latest TNT below, via ComplexEspresso: