Coffee producers share their experience of attending MICE

MICE coffee producers

Each year, producers travel from far and wide to attend MICE. For many, it’s the first time visiting a consuming country, and the first chance to connect with the roasters who buy their product, and the café who proudly present it to consumers.

Over the history of MICE, the event has embraced the producing community, and even hosted the Melbourne Lets Talk Coffee event in 2015 in partnership with Sustainable Harvest to connect producers to the end of the supply chain.

A designated Origin Alley was established to showcase the best of origin and the innovation being done at ground level, with partnerships over the years with representation of Fairtrade farmers, and country members associations from Guatemala to Panama, Honduras to Brazil, Colombia to India.

Café de Colombia has long been a long-time supporter of MICE. It is the brand of the Colombian coffee growers, created to promote 100 per cent Colombian coffee both in the industry and among consumers as a high-quality product. Since its creation, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) has worked as a non-profit organisation and gained global recognition as one of the largest NGOs thanks to its work representing more than 548,000 Colombia coffee growing families. Connect with Colombia land of many origins by café de colombia at stand K12.

Minas Hill and Southland Merchants have also seen the value in partnering with MICE, and have used the expo as an opportunity to support their connection to Brazil, and showcase its quality coffee through the many producers that have graced their stand. We hear from two farmers who have attended MICE and share their thoughts on the impact the expo has back at origin.

Pedro Gabarra

For Producer Pedro Gabarra from Santo Antonio and Pinhal farms in the Campos das Vertentes region of Minas Gerais state in Brazil, attending MICE has been a right of passage. He’s attended at least four or five Editions, with the last time in 2022.

Pedro had never been to Melbourne before attending MICE. He had heard about the expo thanks to his partnership with Minas Hill, Australian green bean traders, of which his own partnership with Minas Hill is the same age as MICE – both celebrating 10 years.

“[I was excited] to meet Minas Hill customers in person, who have been developing and selling our coffees,” Pedro says.

“[My first impressions were] the quality of coffees drank in Australia and the courtesy and kindness of roasters.”

Pedro says the experiencing of connecting with customers was nothing short of exciting and rewarding, not to mention wonderful to see first-hand the great job Minas Hill Founder Marcelo Brussi and his team have been doing since the company’s inception in 2013.

“The most valuable learning experience from attending MICE is discovering quality over price. If you are producing quality, Australians roasters are keen to pay for it,” Pedro says.

One of his favourite memories from visiting Melbourne was the “Our Farmers Our Heroes” event Minas Hill hosted at AU79 café, a panel discussion of producer stories, triumphs and challenges in which Pedro spoke at, followed by participating at the Minas Hill stand at MICE 2019.

“It’s essential roasters understand our work at farms and this valuable connection can be only possible through expos like MICE,” Pedro says.

At MICE2023, visitors can connect with Gabriel Oliveira, who will be representing Bom Jesus farm at the Minas Hill stand #M15.

Gil Cesar De Melo

Gil Cesar de Melo and Edu Leandro Melo from Coffee O’Melo, owners of Espigao Farm in Cerrado Mineiro, Brazil, attended MICE in 2018.

They had heard about the even from their importer, Southland Merchants, who said that the expo was “excellent” for networking, meeting various suppliers, and the opportunity to get to know their customers up close.

The Melo family representing Coffee O’Melo, located in Cerrado Mineiro, Brazil.

They were right. Gil says his best memory of MICE was meeting his customers and receiving their feedback.

“The experience was very valuable. Having feedback from those who are using our coffee, connecting even more with them, and strengthening our partnership for the long term was a great experience,” Gil says.

Additionally, he says at MICE there are various stands showcasing coffees from other origins, providing an opportunity for exploration and networking. But the real value, was evidence back home at Espigao Farm.

“My greatest learning experience during the fair was understanding that roasters seek long-term connections, believing in our story and work for the long run. This drives us to improve the quality of our coffees more and more each year.”

Gil says his experience at MICE has influenced him and Edu to continuously improve their processes at the farm.

“After attending MICE, we invested in drums for anaerobic fermentations, took courses to enhance the quality at the patio, and hired a consultant to assist with patio management and cupping our coffees,” he says.

Southland Merchants will have three producers from Brazil visiting stand #J12 at MICE2023.

This article appears in the MICE Showguide 2023. View the Showguide HERE.

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