Last Thursday night, in the heart of downtown Philadelphia…
…which isn’t actually called “downtown”, it’s called “Center City”, but we digress…
…there’s around a hundred coffee types, give or take, hanging out in Elixr Coffee. There’s free beer, PT’s Coffee, cash prizes, local media, national media, and intergalactic trans-atmospheric media in attendance tonight, but that’s not why a hundred people are packed into this increasingly cramped cafe space, itself a veritable forest of wood-framed, wood-swaddled, wood-beflocked interior design, comprised of wood, wood, and more wood. They’re here because, well, tonight is the monthly Thursday Night Throwdown in Philadelphia. This is currently the hottest, most essential monthly event of its kind anywhere in the world; one might as well go ahead and bask in it.
Baristas, customers, onlookers, supporters and gawkers come from across the NE to each month hang out, throw down latte art, drink free beer, maybe make some cold hard cash, and revel in the burgeoning relevance of Philadelphia’s coffee culture. It’s a place that’s grown in leaps and bounds over just a few short years, and is now home to world class cafes and immensely talented baristas – in short, Philadelphia is a serious destination for specialty coffee in America, worth noticing, visiting, and keeping an eye on in the months and years to come. Suffice it to say, Sprudge.com was beyond thrilled to be in attendance and take in all the glitz, glamor, MegaHunks and sugar cookies Philly has to offer.
The Judges: Sara Ziniewicz (Shot Tower Coffee, noted society debutante), Dave Amos (PT’s Coffee rep), and Winston Justice (Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle, Elixr Coffee co-owner).
The Competitors: 32 baristas from shops across the Philly region, including: Spruce Street Espresso, Ultimo Coffee, Bodhi, Milk Boy, Town Hall, The Griphon, Chestnut Hill, One Shot, Elixr, Lovers & Madmen, Greenline, as well as the inimitable Sam Lewontin, he of World Bean in NYC.
The Beers: Lionshead Pilsner, Earth Bread Brewery Burundi Amber Ale, and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Your Final Four: Kendra Sledzinski (Spruce Street Espresso), Blake Hunter (Elixr), Amanda Whitt (like half the shops in Philly or something) and Faith Ortiz (Spruce Street Espresso).
The Ultimate Battle: Blake Hunter of Elixr vs Faith Ortiz of Spruce Street. Blake, while a hearty fellow, ultimately proved no match for Faith’s immaculately cantilevered pour. As Channel 6 News watched on, rolling tape and mouth agape, Faith Ortiz was declared the winner of this particular entry into Philadelphia’s ongoing TNT nexus lexus. Congratulations, Faith – may your 30-day rule prove distinguished and fruitful, and may your eventual usurping at next month’s TNT be at the hands of a most worthy opponent.
Overheard at Philly TNT:
“Wait, which barista champion do you have naked pictures of?”
“I wish I could have as many boyfriends as I do jobs.”
“…quit your job, sell your house, and move to Las Vegas.”
Expect more from us in the coming weeks on the delicious coffees, gorgeous shops, kind human beings and ankle-twisting potholes of Philadelphia, PA.