Weddings are a big occasion in anyone’s life. Tradition stipulates that a bride must wear something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.
The 2019 Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) might not be a wedding per se, but it’s definitely a celebration that will unite the coffee industry and see family members travel from far and wide to attend.
The stands will be lavish, the hoppers full of beans, and entertainment in the form of the Australian Coffee Championship will draw crowds to the makeshift arena. All that’s left is for guests to take to the show floor, network, converse, and do business. Like any good wedding, there’s always one crazy uncle that indulges in too much caffeine – but with responsible service of coffee, event organisers hope MICE2019 will be its biggest and best show to date.
“We’re set for a big start to the year. Floor space is 90 per cent sold and with just a few months until the end of the year, now is the time exhibitors need to be finalising their plans to bring their stands to life to avoid a mad dash post Christmas,” MICE Show Director Simon Coburn says.
“The earlier show timeframe does mean that exhibitors have to be extremely organised. We recommend having a game plan with your team. Coming to an expo is not just about having a presence, but understanding what you can present to guests to maximise brand awareness, stand out from the crowd, and be memorable.”
Like a good wine, some of MICE’s staple features continue to get better with age. This includes Roasters Alley, a dedicated space for the country’s best roasters, small and large, to show their blends, single origins, and cold brew coffees to guests.
Origin Alley will also return. It continues to be an important crop to cup link for guests to acknowledge where the industry beans come from. Next year, MICE will host Honduras, Indonesia, Burundi, Brazil, and India, and many more as origin representatives join the international fair.
“For many, Origin Alley is a chance to go to origin without flying thousands of kilometres,” Simon says. “Australia comprises hundreds of roasters, but it’s important to acknowledge the farmers and the countries working hard to bring quality beans to our country.”
And what’s MICE without hosting the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) Australian Coffee Championships? That’s exactly the sentiment that event organisers had in mind when it relocated MICE from March to February to accommodate the competition so national winners could plan their international campaign with plenty of time to prepare.
“The Australian Championships are the heart and soul of MICE. It’s a huge element of the show. It’s about a barista’s talent, their growth, an opportunity for our judges to test their senses, experience new trends and techniques, and to show the Australian community that there’s more to coffee than just their regular cup of joe in the morning,” ASCA President Brent Williams says.
There are plenty of new activations to look forward to at MICE2019. Not only does the event have new dates, taking place from 7 to 9 February in a new venue, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), the refreshed expo will welcome new exhibitors from the international coffee community. This includes super-automatic machine manufacturer Franke from Switzerland, Portuguese roaster Joper, automated foamer Perfect Moose from Belgium, and Spanish espresso machine and grinder manufacturer Iberital.
Also new will be the dedicated Espresso Bar, offering roasters the opportunity to showcase their coffee in half-day blocks across the three days of MICE2019.
“This is a great initiative to celebrate the foundation of coffee in Melbourne – espresso. It’s thanks to Italian immigrants that Melbourne was blessed with espresso in the 50s and 60s, and now in 2019, we want to honour the vast array of delicious espresso our industry has to offer,” Simon says.
“Australia is known for its high percentage of milk-based coffee beverages and openness to adopt third wave coffee techniques, but we’re excited to bring back coffee in its simplest form at MICE2019.”
Also making a comeback is ST. ALi as MICE’s official Providore Sponsor.
“ST. ALi had a temporary reprieve from MICE while it focused on building strong foundations in its roastery facility, in our personnel and at origin, and now we’re back to spread a message,” ST. ALi Owner Salvatore Malatesta says.
“We hope that we can improve the culinary landscape of convention centres by bringing a little bit of magic from the ST. ALi laneway to the show.”
With Head Chef Daniel Dobra at the helm of the ST. ALi kitchen, providing seasonal and delectable produce, Salvatore says visitors to MICE can expect a new food experience that pits the expo’s culinary offerings against the quality of coffees on display. With planning underway, ST. ALi will also organise shuttle buses transporting guests from the expo to ST. ALi for a first-hand look at one of the city’s iconic café venues.
In a wedding, the “something borrowed” might come down to a old earrings or a family heirloom but for MICE2019, the something borrowed will be international barista guests, who Australian barista competitors have borrowed to help them train for a finals showdown.
Also borrowed is the industry’s time. Putting a show of this extravagance is not without the voluntary actions of many industry members who give us their weeks, weekends, and after hours to put their best foot forward and contribute to the industry’s greatest event of the year. Your dedication does not go unnoticed.
Aside from a blue powder-coated coffee machine or new range of blue coffee cups available, the only blue moment you’ll have is waking up the day after MICE when it’s all over, or if you miss the event altogether. But there’s no reason to do that, is there? Not when tickets are on sale now.
For more information and to book early bird tickets to MICE2019, visit www.internationalcoffeeexpo.com