Matthew Kalmus was the victor of New Orleans’ Inaugural Thursday Night Throwdown, held January 15, 2015. You can find Matt working at Mojo Coffee House on Magazine Street.
Where are you from?
I’m from Chicago.
How did you get into coffee?
I got into coffee working at a Rwandan coffee shop in DC called Bourbon Coffee. I still have a soft spot for the Rwanda/Burundi/Tanzania profile! When I moved back to Chicago I worked at one of the several Intelligentsia stores.
What do you love about coffee in Nola?
What I love about Nola coffee is that you can do anything. It is such a fertile ground for ideas. The environment of the city is that you can be or do almost anything, and specialty coffee is relatively uncharted. It also has the added benefit of making the people who care about this that much more into it.
What was the most terrifying and most fun about competing?
For me, almost all competition is terrifying. The nausea sets in instantaneously and severely. It doesn’t subside until it’s over. The fun part is getting to see everyone’s nervous excited passion about this one really weird niche craft. It takes a special kind of person to care about foam flowers, and I guess it’s kind of selfishly validating in a way. Also hearing your name called the most times. That’s real fun, I won’t lie.