L.A. TNT Series Debuts!

Runei's final pour ”sick!

When our friend Todd Goldsworthy of Klatch Coffee Roasters in Southern California approached Barista Magazine about sponsoring and supporting the L.A. TNT series of events beginning this month, we said HECK YEAH! We love this kind of initiative and enthusiasm. The USBC is great and all, but small events are where the initial passion for coffee and community brews, and we want to help folks every step of the way as they dive into an exploration of specialty coffee culture.


We sent tons of magazines for Todd and his co-organizers to give away, and we’re offering subscriptions to the winners in this series. For more information about the L.A. TNT events, go HERE. They’re taking place once a month through November!

I asked Todd to write about how this first one went and to send me some photos. So if you couldn’t attend, here’s the skinny on how it all went down…

Official Bracket
Official Bracket

Thursday April 18th Los Angeles kicked off its 2013 TNT series with a bang. Jones Coffee Roasters in Pasadena opened their doors for the L.A. coffee community with registration beginning at 6:30 p.m. and this event had no problems filling the 32 competitor spots before pours began at 7 p.m. With over 60 people there to compete, cheer on one another, or just drink beer, there was a lot of fun and excitement in the room.

Competition round one started off with heart pours in a single cappuccino, and for the couple of baristas that didn’t pay attention to the rules that round did not end well ”and no, a tulip does not count as three hearts.

The competition got tougher by the round with the top 16 pouring rosettas, followed by the top eight pouring tulips. When we arrived at our final four competitors, the real challenge began. These four competitors were given the challenge of pouring the design of their choice into an eight-ounce paper to-go cup. The two baristas who were knocked out in this challenge went head to head for third place pouring again into an eight-ounce cup ”but this time using soy milk. Our top two competitors got to choose their cup and their pour for the finals.

With great prizes from our sponsors at Barista Magazine, Espresso Parts, Klatch Coffee Roasters, La Marzocco, Natvia, and Verve Coffee Roasters, our top 3 did not walk away empty handed.

Of course, though, you want to know who the winners are: first place went to Eugene Lee from Cafe Dulce. Our second place winner was Runei Matsumoto from Coffee Tomo. And third place honors went to Michael James from Cafecito Organico.

Top three! Runei, Eugene, and Michael.
Top three! Runei, Eugene, and Michael.

Eugene will automatically move forward to the November finals where he will be competing for the 2013 LA TNT championships and a trip to San Francisco to battle against the winner from the Bay Area Coffee Community’s series of TNTs in the ultimate LA vs Bay Area throwdown.

Thank you again to our host, all our sponsors, and the great volunteers that put this event on. Our next throwdown will be Thursday May 9th at FIX Coffee in Echo Park. Registration will begin at 6:30 p.m. ”$5 to throwdown. Pours will begin at 7 p.m. See you all there.

About Sarah 934 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.