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Caffeinated affair: Thursday Night Throwdown

Miguel Vicuna, one of the organizers of TNT
Miguel Vicuna, one of the organizers of TNT
Megan Quicke

Finding a quality cup of coffee in Denver is getting easier. By quality, I mean coffee that’s been roasted and brewed in a way that presents the unique flavors of each coffee bean. I mean coffee that doesn’t require you to dowse it in cream and sugar in order to raise its flavor to a level that doesn’t assault your taste buds. Miguel Vicuna and Josh Taves are two of the individuals who are strengthening the specialty coffee community in Denver.
Vicuna and Taves have decided to begin a monthly coffee series called Thursday Night Throwdown (TNT), where baristas can show off their skills and compete for cash and prizes (this month the winner receives a year subscription to Barista Magazine). It’s Vicuna’s hope that the events bring the baristas and coffee consumers in Denver together in a fun way. The event is free and open to the public; there will be brewing demonstrations and opportunities to taste Herkimer Coffee. Vicuna has judged regional and national coffee competitions for the past three years and will use his experience to help make TNT a success.
For baristas, the TNT series is an opportunity to learn and network with other baristas around Denver. It’s this knowledge sharing element of TNT that especially interests me. Instead of remaining a city where finding a well pulled shot of espresso is a hundred times more difficult than finding outstanding marijuana, I’d love to see baristas all over Denver step up their game, so that people can taste quality coffee at a variety of shops—and realize good tasting espresso requires more skill than pressing a single button.