Seattle TNT Rocked! Panda is My Spirit Animal! Throw Your Own TNT ”Here’s How!

Do you ever feel a little blue? Maybe you’re not having a great week at your shop, or some rude customers are getting you down. Next time that happens, I encourage you to do what I do: Think of Panda.

Panda is Michael Fernandez, the really amazingly wonderful, hilarious, enthusiastic, tireless, coffee pro you might recognize for his huge smile and white glasses frames. Or for the thick, lustrous mane of hair he had until a few days ago when he shaved it all off. He works at Espresso Parts. He volunteers and helps throw Thursday Night Throwdowns all the time. He is awesomeness embodied.

This is Panda, hair supplied by NW Regional Brewers Cup Champ Brandon Paul Weaver of Slate Coffee in Seattle.
This is Panda, hair supplied by NW Regional Brewers Cup Champ Brandon Paul Weaver of Slate Coffee in Seattle.

He was posting a bunch Thursday night from the TNT that took place in Seattle, and it sounds like it was a huge hit, as always. I asked Panda to share some photos, and for some deets on the event. But I thought besides posting that, I’d post about the mad props Panda deserves.

Panda says that #TNTNW (follow that tag, yo) attracted a crowd of around 75 people ”that’s awesome! Was it because people love coffee? Love Panda? Love each other? Probably all three of those things, but also how about the fact that the host ”the fantastic Visions Espresso folks ”were giving away an espresso machine as the prize! I’m sorry, whaaa? That’s crazypants!

This was the second #TNTNW that Visions has hosted, and the second machine they’ve given away! Bananas! “I can’t say enough good things about that company or Cole McBride [who works at Visions], who was my main man,” says Panda. “Slate Coffee supplied food, Visions got a keg, and we helped with social media and back end stuff.”

I hope some of you readers are inspired by this share from Panda: what I hope you come away with is that it’s just not that hard to throw an awesome coffee event and/or TNT yourselves. Just ask a local cafe to open their doors for an evening (and it’ll go a long way if you tell them you and a crew of your barista pals will clean up afterwards). Ask around for some folks to help with the evening’s events (i.e. organizing the latte art throwdown schedule, cleaning up beer spills, making sure the winner gets his/her prize), and ask some local cafes and maybe your favorite town brewery to donate money for a keg, some plastic cups, and maybe some snacks.

Then, email ME at to ask me to donate prizes for you to give away at your TNT — tote bags, certificates for a one-year subscription to Barista Magazine — as well as a pile of Barista Mag issues for you to give away to attendees. Ask other companies, too: they will likely be more than happy to donate a tamper, or a tshirt, or even something as big as a grinder. It’s good business for them to support your event, and you may have noticed that in the specialty coffee industry, we like to support baristas.

Last thing: run off some flyers and pass them around at your local cafes. Or just start telling people and talking about it on Facebook and Twitter. People will come. Your local coffee community will get stronger. You will all have a great time together. Simple as that.

And Laila Ghambari? Congrats on being the big winner at the Seattle TNT!!

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