The New Orleans Barista Social Club held its May Thursday Night Throwdown at Merchant in the heart of the CBD on Thursday, May 21. The line up of barista competitors was stellar, with both familiar and fresh faces, along with some visiting friends from Houston, Mobile and Sydney, Australia.
The competition’s final four included perennial finalists Matt Kalmus (Mojo Coffee House), Sarah Lambeth (Mobile, Ala.) and Byron Gomez (Spitfire Coffee), as well as visiting Darren Shaw (Houston, Texas). Matt and Sarah advanced to the final pour, with Matt taking his second TNT victory of the year.
Our panel of judges included Alon Shaya (Domenica Restaurant, Pizza Domenica, Shaya Restaurant), fresh off his receipt of a James Beard Award; Nick Detrich, bartender of note and owner of famed Cane & Table; and Chris Brancato, co-owner of Merchant and our benevolent host for the evening.
In addition to the usual fanfare, the event was precluded by a KREWE du Optic launch party, a Cane & Table pop-up bar featuring a coffee cocktail crafted by Detrich, and a selection of ‘zines and books for sale by Émilie from The Stacks.
As always, a big thanks goes out to our sponsors:
Merchant / Tea & Coffee America / KREWE du Optic / Cane & Table / HiVolt / The Stacks / New Orleans Coffee and Bread / Barista Magazine / Orleans Coffee / French Truck Coffee / The Rusty Nail / Mojo Coffee House / Twelve Mile Limit / Specialty Turkish Coffee / Defend New Orleans / Zephyr Green Coffee Importers / Miette / Revelator Coffee
The photos below were taken by Scott Emile Simon of iHeartnola.com.