It will not come as a surprise to Bowen Island coffee connoisseurs that they may be indulging in a world class cuppa joe. Last week, Gino Rutigliano of the Bowen Island Coffee Roasting Company received an email that informed him that his espresso was chosen as a semifinalist for America's Best Espresso Competition.
Rutigliano shared the news with a wide smile and said it "gave him shivers."
His wife Victoria had noticed the call for entry in a magazine and had encouraged him to send in an application for the new competition that is part of Coffee Fest, an annual trade show held in New York, Chicago and Seattle. Rutigliano will be part of Seattle's festivities when he competes for Best Espresso in the western states and provinces of the U.S and Canada from Friday, September 21, to Sunday, September 23.
Bowen Island Roasting is one of two Canadian roasters out of the 32 semifinalists in the competition for America's Best Espresso Championship trophy.
At the competition venue, Rutigliani will have to choose between four espresso machines (a Nuova Simonelli Aurellia II T3, a Wega Concept Green Line, a Rancilio XCELSIUS, and the Slayer Espresso Machine) and two espresso grinders (Anfim and MAHLKÖNIG) or bring his own grinder. Then he'll pull one shot of espresso in a winner move on, loser go home-style tournament until he's out - or at the top. Competing Baristas have six minutes on Friday and ten minutes on Saturday and Sunday to prepare one espresso that will be judged for flavour complexity, mouthfeel and appeal, and aftertaste.
Rutigliano is excited to have made it that far. "I never expected to get picked," he says.