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Gladstone's Happyrock coffee shop has contest jitters

Happyrock Coffee Roasting Co. of Gladstone is representing the local specialty coffee industry among only 32 semifinalists in America’s Best Espresso Competition.

The competition focuses exclusively on the dedicated skill and talent needed to produce excellent espresso roasts and blends. Open exclusively to roasters, the competition kicks off on Friday, Sept. 21, at 12:30 p.m. and will continue in a head-to-head bracket style elimination finishing on Sunday, Sept. 23.

The winning roaster will be announced alongside Coffee Fest’s Latte Art World Championship Open and America’s Best Coffeehouse competitors Sunday at 4:05 p.m.

The espresso roasters themselves (or a representative barista) will prepare three shots of espresso to be submitted to the judging table. The Washington Restaurant Association will be providing restaurateurs and chefs to perform the arduous task of judging the competition. Judges will evaluate the shots of espresso from each competitor in the categories of flavor complexity, mouth appeal and aftertaste.

Coffee Fest has been bringing the specialty coffee, gourmet tea and alternative beverage industry professionals together since 1992, when the show got its start as a consumer coffee festival in Seattle.