Inland Empire TNT Takes Riverside, Calif., by Storm

Torch Coffee Roasters was the generous host of last week's Inland Empire TNT event.

The SoCal Coffee Community Keeps Building, Thanks to the Inland Empire TNTs

Our pal Andrew Oliveros ”a super terrific photographer as well as coffee lover ”has been great about keeping us up-to-date on the cool happenings going on with the Inland Empire TNTs (IETNT). The second-to-last one of the inaugural IETNT season took place last week, and to say the excitement is building for the season’s grand finale ”scheduled for April 2 at Klatch Coffee’s new roastery ”would be a serious understatement.

Check out what happened last week, and join us in getting pumped for the April 2 event. It’s gonna be huge!

REPORTING & PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREW OLIVEROS

March 12 was our second-to-last event of the first IETNT season. Hosted by Torch Coffee Roasters in Riverside, Calif., the event filled the space with what felt like a good hundred people gathered for coffee, food, live music, and a throwdown. During sign-ups, Torch offered a bar service where our audience and competitors could sample a range of drinks as made by IETNT founder, Gabe Venegas. We were fortunate to also have, throughout the night, food courtesy of Wahfles Desserts & Coffee in LaVerne, Calif. Before the competition began, local band, the Vast Alps performed a short set to get everyone excited for the night. Running a bracket of 20 led to rounds moving very fast. However, the event had a very intimate feel ”not because of number of people, but because it felt more like everyone was participating in some way. It wasn’t just an event we’d organized, but an event that belonged to all of us who were there, if that makes sense.

Gabe Venegas of IETNT and Stephen 'Stevie' Hasemeyer of Torch Coffee Roasters preparing for bar service.
Gabe Venegas of IETNT and Stephen ‘Stevie’ Hasemeyer of Torch Coffee Roasters preparing for bar service.
Attendees gathered inside as well as outside of Toch's awesome space.
Attendees gathered inside as well as outside of Toch’s awesome space.
But inside was where the latte art action was going down...
But inside was where the latte art action was going down…
Collin Barrett of Restoration Roasters in Corona, Calif., submits his pour.
Collin Barrett of Restoration Roasters in Corona, Calif., submits his pour.
Jessica Rodriguez of Klatch Coffee and Josh Rivera of Starbucks compete, while Collin Barrett and Alex Arocha look on from behind.
Jessica Rodriguez of Klatch Coffee and Josh Rivera of Starbucks compete, while Collin Barrett and Alex Arocha look on from behind.
In the end, Matthew Henderson of Lift Coffee Roasters in Riverside won 3rd place.
In the end, Matthew Henderson of Lift Coffee Roasters in Riverside won 3rd place.
Brandon of Hide Out by Tea Lane in Rowland Heights took 2nd place.
Brandon of Hide Out by Tea Lane in Rowland Heights took 2nd place.
And top honors went to Jessica Rodriguez of Klatch Coffee in Ontario, Calif.
And top honors went to Jessica Rodriguez of Klatch Coffee in Ontario, Calif.

For information about the upcoming finale Inland Empire TNT event, visit the organization’s official Facebook page.

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