Plan your visit to this year’s most anticipated coffee expo and prepare yourself to be fully immersed in a magical wonderland for the senses.
It’s here. It’s finally here. The Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE), the Southern Hemisphere’s largest dedicated coffee show has finally arrived, and just like a kid in a candy store, or the night before Christmas, it’s imaginable you’re feeling all the feels: excited, nervous, anxious, but mostly excited. We get it. This is an expo event organisers have cancelled and postponed multiple times due to a little thing called COVID, and while it’s hard to comprehend, when the magical dates of 27 to 30 September roll around, this will be the first time MICE has taken place in more than three years.
Everything you know and love about MICE will be there: the grand entrance sign for those first Instagrammable moments, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee throughout the huge bays of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, grand stand designs as far as the eye can see, as well as Roasters Alley, Origin Alley, Product Innovation Awards, and a couple of competition stages somewhere in between. Did we mention MICE is hosting the World Barista and Brewers Cup Championship? Breathe. There’s just too much to see, including lots of new features too.
It’s likely you’ll walk just a few metres before an industry friend recognises you and stops for a catchup.
“This is the biggest coffee family reunion of them all,” says Lauren Winterbottom, MICE Show Director. “The support of the Australian and international coffee community has been overwhelming. This would have been a special event back in 2020, but it feels even more significant now that we can finally bring this special community of largely talented, inventive, and quality-based individuals and companies representing the best of the industry, back together. We can’t wait to show the world why MICE is truly one of the most unique coffee expos in the world.”
This year’s event is supported by some of the business names in the industry, including MICE Platinum Sponsors Espresso Mechanics, Milklab, St Ali and Global Coffee Report; and supporting sponsors Cafetto, and made by Fressko.
The list of exhibitors rolls over to more than 150 businesses representing all directions of the coffee industry and supply chain – green bean traders, roasters, equipment manufacturers, ancillary suppliers, dairy and dairy alternative providers, and so many more. While it’s likely you will need four days to peruse all the stands, and do a second, third, and fourth lap to really indulge in your favourites, the first thing you should absolutely do at a coffee expo is drink some coffee, right?
With three separate roaster areas spread across the exhibition floor, you’re going to need a game plan for your coffee consumption. With that in mind, let’s break things right down. Have your cupping spoon at the ready, your reusable coffee cup, and get your taste buds buzzing.
Plan of attack
Kick off the expo by stopping at one of two enlarged Roasters Alley’s to visit:
– Undercover Roasters
– ST. ALi
– Kaffeina Roasters
– Toby’s Estate
– Coffex Coffee
In the past, Coffex Coffee has been known for its classic Italian style blends, but this year at MICE, it will be showcasing its newest offerings: blends developed with the more modern discerning coffee drinker in mind, including Hustle & Bustle, Suburbia, as well as single origins, and Coffeex Coffee’s redesigned organic and fairtrade range.
“Think balanced coffees highlighting natural acidities with smooth finishes,” says Wendy Faire, Marketing Manager of Coffex Coffee.
Coffex first exhibited at MICE in 2013, and several times since then.
“It’s always been a fantastic gathering of like-minded people, sharing innovation, and the future of coffee,” Wendy says, adding that the 2013 event featuring the World Barista Championship remains one of Coffex’s best show memories, and it can’t wait to see all the talent on stage again this year.
Get into the groove of the second day with brews from some of the new faces to the expo:
– Leible Coffee
– Evolve North Coffee Roasters
– The Little Marionette
– The Bean Cartel
– Saazaa Coffee
– Eco Bike Coffee Bali
Visitors can experience interactive talks from Saazaa Coffee’s roasting team and try some of its filter coffees and espressos. The roaster will also be doing a range of giveaways throughout the exhibition.
“At Saazaa Coffee, we will be highlighting our process of sourcing and roasting coffees from around the world and showing people how you can make the best brew from the comfort of your own home,” says Isabelle Pisani General Manager of Saazaa Coffee.
“Kenya features strongly in our line-up of beans, and we’re most excited to showcase our AA+ single origin espresso alongside beans from Ethiopia, Colombia and several other countries.”
This year marks Saazaa Coffee’s first time exhibiting at MICE.
“We’re all so excited to be diving straight into the deep end of an industry we love so much. All of us come from a coffee background, whether it be working as a barista, having connections to farmers in Kenya or just as an avid consumer, so we can’t wait to experience this side of the coffee world,” says Isabelle.
Visit MICE’s newest feature – Roaster’s Marketplace – and treat your tastebuds. Set up like the World’s Ultimate Coffee Bar, Roaster’s Marketplace will keep you caffeinated for hours. Featured in this new attraction are:
– Merlo Coffee
– Coffee Me Up
– Just Planet Coffee
– Adore Estate Coffee
– Black Vice Café and Roastery
– Commonfolk Coffee Company
Finish off the expo with some old favourites that simply cannot be missed:
– Veneziano Coffee Roasters
– Mocopan Coffee
– Axil Coffee Roasters
– ONA Coffee
– Zest Specialty Coffee Roasters
Rod Greenfield, Managing Director of Zest Specialty Coffee Roasters, says coffee enthusiasts can look forward to an amazing sensory journey tasting some of the world’s most exotic and innovative coffees.
“We will have five of our team fresh back from a flavour exploration trip encompassing top producers in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, loaded with coffees that push the boundaries of sensory experience. Sharing specialty coffee, with humility that acknowledges the amazing work of the growers and producers, is in our DNA, and MICE provides a wonderful platform to do just that,” says Rod.
Besides Zest’s espresso coffee bar, which will be pumping out four flavoursome blends to visitors seeking an espresso, long black or lovely latte, Zest’s brew benches will showcase the flavours of a number of world-renowned producers including Ninety Plus, La Palma & El Tucan, Forrest Coffee and Pillcocaja.
“These brews will delight the tastebuds of the most discerning and passionate coffee enthusiast,” Rod says.
Also on show will be some of Zest’s recent projects, including its work with the Bosques Verdes Cooperative in Peru, and much closer to home, the flavour discovery project at Jack Murat Coffee in Mareeba, far North Queensland.
“Zest has evolved and progressed significantly since our previous MICE back in 2019. We are excited to present the best of Zest on what is really a world stage. Our people, our products and our passion. Experience more than just coffee, transport your tastebuds to the front end of sensory experience and enjoy it. As we love to say, exploring innovation in flavour for the good of all coffeekind,” Rod says.
When the doors close to the expo each day, it’s definitely not the end of festivities. Hit up the Melbourne Coffee Week website www.melbournecoffeeweek.com.au to see where all the best parties are, then come back the next day, and do it all again. You can sleep when it’s all over.
For more information and to book tickets, visit internationalcoffeeexpo.com
This article appears in the August 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.