Colorado Springs Does TNT Right

BY DON NIEMYER
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE

It was a Thursday night along the front range of the Rocky Mountains, and I was making my way to downtown Colorado Springs. I had only been in town a few days, but already figured out that the coffee scene had jumped forward light years since I got my start in coffee here back in 2001. Back then, our conversations centered around the delicate nuances to be discovered between a French Roast and an Italian one. Or how to properly create enough foam for a 20 ounce œcappuccino.  Not to mention a few good scraps over how many times we could re-steam a giant pitcher of milk that had been sitting on the counter since the last customer was here 15 minutes ago.

But that was then, and this is now. In my short re-introduction to all things coffee in Colorado Springs, the topics of conversation had taken on a decidedly higher quality of tone: La Marzocco vs. Modbar; $7  espressos using Intelligentsia‘s exotic Takesi; the extended extraction time of a single origin espresso. And of course, latte art! So when I learned there was going to be a throwdown down-town, I knew I wasn’t about to miss this front row seat for the collaborative event which would bring some of the Springs’ best practitioners together in one room. The event would be held at The Wild Goose, a year-or-so-old œgathering place  featuring the Springs’ first Modbar, an excellent pourover offering, great food, wine, beer, and lots of great energy. The coffee for the competition was provided by local superstars SwitchBack Coffee Roasters. The prizes were from the likes of Denver’s Huckleberry Coffee Roasters, and local breweries Pikes Peak, Red Leg, and Paradox. And the fun was provided by every last person that walked in the door. What was it like in that room? Let’s take a look at some pictures!

Thank goodness I arrived a few minutes early because the place was already JAM PACKED, and it's a pretty significant space!
Thank goodness I arrived a few minutes early because the place was already JAM PACKED, and it’s a pretty significant space!
Competitors would be working on a sweet Modbar setup, presenting their work to judges Eric (The Principal's Office), Bevin (Switchback) and Alex (The Wild Goose).
Competitors would be working on a sweet Modbar setup, presenting their work to judges Eric (The Principal’s Office), Bevin (Switchback) and Alex (The Wild Goose).
It was a classic head-to-head matchup format, with winners moving on and losers, well, losing. But even the non-advancers got a great parting gift from one of the sponsors!
It was a classic head-to-head matchup format, with winners moving on and losers, well, losing. But even the non-advancers got a great parting gift from one of the sponsors!
Bear down, Seth!  The competition's riding on THIS POUR!!!
Bear down, Seth! The competition’s riding on THIS POUR!!!
And bear down Seth Fuller (The Principal's Office) did, pouring this excellent tulip that scored him the first place trophy, in the form of cash, coffee and lots of beer! Second place went to The Wild Goose's own Jame Peng, and finishing third, also from The Principal's Office, was Jacob Scott. Nice job, guys!
And bear down Seth Fuller (The Principal’s Office) did, pouring this excellent tulip that scored him the first place trophy, in the form of cash, coffee and lots of beer! Second place went to The Wild Goose’s own Jame Peng, and finishing third, also from The Principal’s Office, was Jacob Scott. Nice job, guys!

Folks, when it comes to excellent coffee culture, I’m here to tell you Colorado Springs is officially on the map! This TNT wasn’t just a one time thing, but something that’s hosted more or less monthly at different shops around town. As always, the collaboration, sportsmanship, and camaraderie are part of what made the event so much fun, and I can hardly wait for next month to do it up again ¦.Colorado Springs style!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AuthorDon

Don Niemyer lived in Portland, Ore. for the past 8 years before he moved into a tiny RV with his wife and two daughters (almost three years now!), sold his coffee shop, and hit the road, visiting over 200 shops, traveling over 20,000 miles, going to over 44 states (OK, it was 45), and writing about his adventures here on the Barista Magazine blog. You can keep up with Don’s ongoing shenanigans at www.DonNiemyer.com.

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