WORDS BY MATT EATON, PHOTOS BY CAMERON JUSTIN YU
The second episode of the San Diego Coffee Network thursday night throwdown series was definitely poppin! Gracious hosts Steven Torres and his partner Gan Suebsarkham opened their space and offered great beers and delicious savory and sweet pies alongside the event.
The Coffee Network was privileged to join with Pop Pie to host the first of many such events for the local coffee community. Steven was an avid home brewer before opening his shop and has been a great presence in our community long before Pop Pie opened its doors to the University Heights community 8 months ago. Committed to serving a great product, Pop Pie carries locally roasted offerings currently from James Coffee Co and Ironsmith, who sponsored the espresso for the event.
SDCN's own co-director Kat Adams kept the night running smoothly and the humor light as our esteemed emcee.
This event kicked off a hopeful tradition for the coffee network, including the winner from the last throw down on the judging panel. Kyle Tenery from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, last month’s winner was joined by trainer Sarah Girdzius, a trainer at James Coffee Co, as well as our host for the next event, Jen Byard from Communal Coffee.
Judges had no easy task as baristas from all over SD and even as far as Los Angeles, Orange County, and Tijuana brought their "A" game pouring skills.
The event bracket was overflowing with veterans and first timers alike who decided to shake off the nerves and just have a good time! In the end the top three spots were taken by Xana Young from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (third) and an intense final pour between Ewan Bennie, manager at James Coffee Co and Kendra Womack, barista from The Aussie Bean in OC battling out a blind judge free pour.
After much deliberation, Kendra was announced the winner for her first time!
Very special thanks to our amazing sponsors: Barista Magazine, Global Coffee Trading, and Harvest By The Patio for helping out with swag and support. Also super big thanks are in order for Victor from Challenge Dairy for providing milk for each throw down!
Everyone who showed up and supported should be proud of their contributions to expand the coffee network beyond throwdowns to include further community events so stay tuned!
In the meantime, check out this fantastic video of the TNT shot By Alex Clarke!
Our next event is being hosted at Communal Coffee! Need reasons to get there early? Besides the fact that brackets have been filling up fast, how about rumors of beer from Modern Times and a donut wall?!
See you there!