Druid-like they move quietly through the dark alleys of Austin, Texas long after normal, God-fearing people have given the night to slumber. They arrive at the pre-ordained location and begin preparing for an illicit contest which will determine, for 2 fortnights, the ruler of their forbidden kingdom.

They are Austin, Texas baristas, and once per month, through black magick and subterfuge, coax bizarre potions out of ancient, rattling machines spirited in from continents away before a group of their peers and acolytes.

Eschewing the powers of Twitter and Facebook they relay word of their competition via highly trained, papyrus-carrying, cane rats that scutter through the labyrinthine sewer system that exists far beneath the placid streets of Austin. Each member of their violent guild of espresso dealers features one hollowed-out tooth packed with an ampule of Blue Krait poison. They will not be taken alive. Operating under the mysterious aegis “TNT ATX” they started a venture capitol group based out of Zurich, Switzerland. Utilizing a byzantine method of international stock trading they quickly amassed enough resources to purchase the Austonian in downtown Austin-this is the nexus from which their dark arts spread outward across Texas, the southwest and the Americas.

One of my field agents penetrated their impressive lines of defense and attended their most recent contest. It was held at Caffe Medici, nominally a craft coffee bar located on the ground floor of the group’s Austonian; in reality, TNT ATX’s central hub of caffeine-based commerce and political machinations.

Each barista takes their turn on an infernal device known as a La Marzocca, the machine has been wrenched from the bosom of its homeland {Italy} in the dead of night by agents of TNT ATX. Often bloodshed is involved but the cold, merciless members of the group stoically take what they reckon is theirs with no recompense for anyone.

Using scalding hot milk the barista draws what are known as “rosettas” on the calm surface of the coffee they’ve coaxed out of the machine. Each one of these runes engraved via the dairy has some dark, ancient meaning that only an elite inner-core of the guild understands.

This “art” is projected on a screen over the group so a winner can be voted for and determined via a caucus with clear Satanic undertones. The person who crafts the most intricate {and diabolical} runes is given an enormous satchel filled with crisp one hundred dollar bills. The barista who finishes last out of the group is disappeared by TNT ATX’s Argentine arm.

As this ancient cult’s numbers have diminished over the years, a shadowy figure known only as “Mike McKim” has been dispatched to Latin America where, under the guise of purchasing boutique coffees directly from small plantations, he recruits new members to the guild so their ranks will be constantly replenished. Often cries of “Y Ho Lay” ring out as McKim’s custom Bombardier Global Express XRS, packed with freshly kidnapped Salvadoran teen-agers, blasts a hole in the ozone as he hits supersonic speeds on the way to his high-tech lair located one thousand feet beneath Lake Travis near Spicewood, Texas.

My agent who has warred in Kyrgyzstan, wintered in Azerbaijan and moved through the halls of power of the Balkans, escaped this summit, but what he’d seen was so incomprehensible it rendered him mute. Now he’s in a home, a simple-minded gibbering fool sitting near a window overlooking a blacktop parking lot in Cedar Park with a blanket over his lap. His coal black hair had turned white the night he escaped Caffe Medici and the foul, dark contest he’d witnessed.

Fortunately he scribbled the following on a scrap of paper:

1 – Erin Dean (Caffe Medici)

2 – Matt B (FlatTrack Coffee)

3 – Andy Fredericks (Once Over)

Stay tuned as we attempt to provide more coverage of TNT ATX in the future.

more Austin coffee coverage http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/Coffee


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