The Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) has announced it is changing dates from April to February to accommodate the 2019 Australian Coffee Championships.
After MICE confirmed its relocation to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) and April dates in May, a week later World Coffee Events (WCE) established the 2019 World Barista Championship (WBC) and World Brewers Cup (WBrC) would take place mid-April 2019, leaving little time for an Australian competitor to prepare for the world competitions in Boston.
Due the unfortunate timing and MICE’s partnership with the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) to host the Australian Coffee Championships each year within the trade expo, the official decision has been made to change the dates to 7 – 9 February, 2019.
“MICE is committed to both ASCA and WCE, and ensuring that we can support ASCA in the operation and successful delivery of the competitions. We have worked hard in the background with ASCA to look at all available options for this unusual situation and have agreed that we will make the unprecedented decision to move the dates of MICE from April to February,” says MICE Director Simon Coburn.
The Australian Coffee Championships has long provided an exciting feature for MICE and is another reason for the coffee community to come together. For the competitions, MICE provides a ready-made platform and audience for the competing baristas to showcase their skills.
Given that MICE is already 70 per cent sold, Simon says the decision impacts a significant number of businesses within the coffee community. As such, MICE contacted and discussed the decision with committed exhibitors and sponsors prior to the public announcement.
ASCA President Brent Williams embraces the change of date. He says it upholds ASCA’s commitment to advance specialty coffee in Australia, which it wants to achieve in partnership with a flagship event like MICE.
“The Australian Coffee Championships are a fan favourite at MICE, and provide our competitors and sponsors with the opportunity to experience a world-class competition in our own backyard,” Brent says.
“The Australian Specialty Coffee Association recognises the significance of MICE as Australia’s premier specialty coffee expo. ASCA has been partnering with MICE since its inception in 2012, when the event was created to give Australia its own dedicated meeting place for coffee professionals.”
David Makin, Owner of Axil Coffee Roasters says from an industry perspective, the change of date to accommodate the ASCA Australian Coffee Championships means keeping a united event.
“I think it’s a fantastic move so we can all be together. Although the competitions are quite removed from the everyday coffee world, they have an important role to play in bringing the industry altogether once a year to see what’s new and cutting-edge,” David says.
Axil Coffee Roasters has exhibited at MICE for the past seven years. David says it’s important to be there to support the whole industry, and he will continue to do that when Axil exhibits at the MCEC in 2019.
“February is a great time of year to be in Melbourne. The weather is good, there’s daylight savings to enjoy city networking events at night and the MCEC is a world class venue hosting a world class event in MICE, what’s not to love?” David says.
Ona Coffee Founder Sasa Sestic says the change of date is important from a competition perspective and industry leaders looking to attend the 2019 WBC.
“The preparation time for an Australian competitor heading to the WBC in Boston straight after MICE was going to be very tight in terms of organising logistics, roasting, expenses and resources. It wouldn’t give the Australian representative the best chance to represent the country on the world stage so I’m in huge support of having MICE in February,” Sasa says.
On the world events scale, Sasa says it’s an important event for the Australian coffee community regardless of the month it’s held.
“MICE is not MICE without the competitions, and the national competitions are not nationals without MICE. The two have been connected for so many years, so I’m thrilled we can keep them together.”
For more information, visit internationalcoffeeexpo.com