As the Melbourne International Coffee Expo fast approaches, baristas and industry leaders advise how to make the most of the iconic coffee convention.
For coffee lovers, industry professionals, and aficionados alike, the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) provides an opportunity to get up close and personal with the latest and greatest in the world of coffee. This year, the event celebrates its 10-year anniversary, and MICE Show Director Lauren Winterbottom is pulling out all stops to ensure it’s a celebration to remember.
“We want to make sure that this year’s MICE is not only informative and inspiring but also a fun and memorable experience for all attendees. We’re putting in extra effort to make it a celebration of our 10th anniversary and the resilience of the coffee industry through challenging times,” Lauren says.
MICE2023 will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 17 to 19 August. For those eager to secure a spot, time is running out to secure a ticket at Early Bird pricing, closing 30 June. Attendees can save up to 50 per cent on the full ticket price. An early bird one-day pass is $30, two-day pass is $40, and three-day pass is $50.
After 30 June, standard pricing for a one- day pass is $45, a two-day pass is $55, and a three-day pass is $65.
Snagging discounted tickets is not the only reason to attend the largest dedicated coffee show in the Southern Hemisphere. Current Barista World Champion Anthony Douglas says attending coffee expos like MICE can be beneficial to a barista’s growth as a coffee professional.
“MICE platforming the Barista World Championships was obviously really special to me as it was my first victory in the world championships. I’ll remember MICE forever because of that,” says Anthony.
“Other coffee expos are similar, but the difference is the scale of its reach. MICE is one of the bigger shows, and the quality of the stalls is higher.”
Anthony says MICE is also a great opportunity to network and meet new people in the industry, and that it provides a great opportunity for fellow baristas to connect.
“The networking potential and the opportunity to have people from all over the world in a single place makes it a valuable opportunity to broaden your horizons. Networking is the best part of MICE, but the new products and tools are also interesting,” says Anthony.
In addition to networking, Anthony sees MICE as an opportunity to stay up to date on the latest trends and innovations in the industry.
“Things are more barista-focused these days and less origin-focused on the competition side of things. Higher green coffee pricing means that conveying coffee quality to consumers has taken a higher priority, so this is a newer trend. Because roasteries are bearing more of the costs these days, coffee is a little bit more expensive and thus needs to be conveyed by the baristas directly,” says Anthony.
For the World Barista Champion, attending coffee conventions is also about contributing to the growth and development of the coffee community.
“I see competing as a pathway in my career. Dave Makin built Axil Coffee of the backbone of competition. Who you know is important, and competition helps with this. MICE being the platform for one of the biggest competitions made it an even better event that helped build individuals in the coffee community,” he says.
With three separate areas spread across the exhibition floor, including Origin Alley, Roasters Alley, and Roasters Marketplace, Anthony says attendees are going to need a game plan for their coffee consumption.
“It’s easy to get lost, so have a plan and focus on the stalls you want to see most, then branch out from there,” he says.
“Connect with people in all industries, not just coffee. Plan out your day and pick and choose what you like. Most importantly, don’t overdose on caffeine, just pace yourself.”
International Women’s Coffee Alliance Australia President Veronica Ponce says MICE stands alone as the single and only event that brings the supply chain together to showcase their specialty on an international stage.
“We are excited to see more cultural and social diversity and inclusion of different marginalised groups in this regard, only to offer an even greater opportunity for individuals to connect that may never have had this opportunity before,” Veronica says.
“MICE has evolved to meet the needs of the market and continues to do so. We hope to see more innovation initiatives or frameworks that can contribute to the sustainability and longevity of our industry.”
For first-time attendees looking to make the most of their experience, Veronica says they should connect with as many people as possible.
“Give yourself the opportunity to engage with others to share ideas and knowledge. That is where you will find the most memorable experience,” she says.
This year, MICE is set to host more than 100 exhibitors and counting. With companies ranging from Espresso Company Australia, a coffee equipment supplier; to Naked Syrups, a complete beverage brand, visitors can expect to see a variety of products and services on offer. While some will showcase the latest in coffee technology and equipment, others will offer specialty blends and alternative milk options.
For the first time in eight years, the Global Coffee Report Leaders Symposium will also take place in Melbourne on 16 August. The one-day event is designed to bring together key industry executives and roasters from around the world to share insights on topics that impact the global coffee market. With topics ranging from sustainability to innovation, the symposium will feature a range of keynote speakers and interactive sessions. It promises to be a valuable learning experience for anyone looking to gain knowledge and insight into the coffee industry.
As the coffee industry continues to grow and evolve, MICE Show Director Lauren says events like MICE will play an increasingly important role in bringing together professionals and enthusiasts to showcase new products, exchange ideas, and promote sustainability and inclusivity. “MICE is a platform that brings the supply chain together to showcase their specialty on an international stage, standing alone as the single and only event of its kind,” says Lauren.