It's back, and bigger than ever! On Thursday, April 26, baristas from around the country will converge on Bowling Green, Ky., for the sixth annual event, formerly known as the Kentucky/Tennessee Latte Art Throwdown. Last year, we raised over $2,000 for the Center for Courageous Kids, a nonprofit camp that serves children and families with all sorts of special needs.  This year, we're raising funds for The HIVE of Bowling Green, a young nonprofit that helps adults with mental and developmental disabilities find work, housing and independence.

Thanks to a generous sponsorship from Pacific Foods — makers of Barista Series alternative milks — we're stoked to offer a $4,000 prize pot for first, second and third, with matching donations to The HIVE! Meanwhile, all non-placing competitors will be eligible to win major prizes from the likes of Baratza, Acaia, Caffewerks, Barista Magazine, Prima Coffee, La Marzocco and more.

The bracket for this year's KYTNT is still set at a whopping 64, and we'll have two La Marzocco machines running full steam to keep the early rounds moving swiftly. And, thanks to the wonder of technology, you can preregister for the contest today by clicking the link to the right (or "below" on mobile devices).  We'll have beer on tap, food available from The Cheese Wagon's mobile kitchen, coffee from some of the region's finest roasters and much more.

Doors for the event will open at 5:30p Central time (baristas may enter a little sooner), with first pours starting at 6:30p. Buy-in for the throwdown is $10, and every single penny goes to the great work at The HIVE. Click here to RSVP and share via Facebook; follow @kytnt on Instagram for updates on the event, and tag us with your best practice pours!


FIRST PLACE: $2,500, courtesy of Pacific Foods

SECOND PLACE, $1,000, courtesy of Pacific Foods

THIRD PLACE: $500, courtesy of Pacific Foods 

SECOND-CHANCE PRIZES (drawn at random from the fallen): Baratza Virtuoso burr grinder; limited-edition Acaia Pearl scale; year-long subscriptions to Barista Magazine; Stagg EKG kettle; various swag from the sponsors

MY OLD KENTUCKY Throwdown is presented by these fine sponsors — buy their stuff! 

Pacific Foods  |  Prima Coffee Equipment |  Baratza  |  Acaia  |  Caffewerks
Barista Magazine  |  La Marzocco USA  |  Sunergos Coffee, Micro-Roastery 

*Prize packs subject to change slightly, but most likely won't. 






Competing baristas will be randomly assigned a spot on a 64-person bracket (organizers will ensure baristas from the same shop will not be forced to pour against one another in the first round). Each barista will pour one drink during a head-to-head match, and a panel of three professional judges will choose the winner based on a.) definition & symmetry, b.) contrast & color infusion, c.) degree of difficulty, and d.) overall aesthetic beauty. The winner moves on to the next round. During the first two rounds, two espresso machines and two panels of judges will be utilized simultaneously to keep everything moving along.

Competitors may bring their own cups and pitchers to use during "barista's choice" rounds, or they may use Spencer's house pitchers and cups. Lattes poured in Round 1 will be "sold" for charity, so make sure those cups & pitchers are sanitary. Should you advance past Round 1, be ready for an Alternative Milk Round (Pacific Foods is the sponsor, after all), and for our annual Dice Round — you may be called on to pour a Heart, Rosetta, Tulip or even Swan, and in everything from 12oz paper cups to 3oz macchiato cups! (No macchiato swans though, we promise.) 

NO PRACTICE TIME WILL BE OFFERED. The action will take place on our La Marzocco Linea PB, as well as a Linea Classic furnished by Sunergos Coffee.