MICE2023 celebrated in style, honouring a decade of memories and the many people and products that make the Australian event unlike any other.
There’s something special about the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) that draws exhibitors and guests through its giant doors each year. On the morning of 17 August, the stage was set to celebrate the 10th edition of the expo that once started as a small specialty coffee expo under the big tent at the Melbourne Showgrounds, and is now recognised as an international gathering and the largest dedicated coffee expo in the Southern Hemisphere.
With new MICE signage in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre ready to be inundated with selfies, giant inflatable cups floating from the ceiling and the aroma of freshly ground coffee wafting through the exhibition space, all that was left to do was begin a walking journey and be prepared to stop every five seconds for a sample, or a long- awaited industry catchup.
Coffee, coffee, coffee
The first stop for many at a coffee tradeshow, and rightly so, are the booths offering caffeine.
This year, Vittoria Coffee turned heads with its Lab release blend 58, and its dark and mysterious booth that celebrated how the old world meets the new. It had baristas in white lab coats, massive brew bars, and a six-group Universal 1950s machine an absolute piece- de-resistance as one of only a few in the world, serving traditional ristrettos.
Five Senses Coffee had guests covered in every direction of its booth, offering flights of coffees, gesha filters, and different processed coffees with nothing but smiles and educational wisdom shared.
Dc Specialty Coffee Roasters couldn’t be missed in their signature lime green stand and vibrant packaging, and Dipacci Coffee Company, Blueberry Roasters and Bean Alliance had crowds constantly queuing.
At the La Marzocco True Artisan Café, a rotation of roasters popped up throughout the days with Toby’s Estate, St Ali, and Axil Coffee notably drawing attention thanks to plenty of star barista power.
All the dairy options
There’s never a coffee show without dairy and dairy alternatives and MICE couldn’t have had more options. Vitasoy enticed visitors with its fairy floss machine and new brand, Barista’s Choice, featuring its Oat, Soy and Almond products served out of the side of a van.
Visitors only had to look up at a giant rotating banner to see where Milklab was placed in the exhibition. It brought the vibe, with resident DJs spinning tunes, and a Milklab Lane inviting visitors to explore its range via a Nutty Nook, Almond Arthouse, and Summer sensations coffee carts.
The Alternative Dairy Co’s Local Way merchandise had visitors frothing over tees, as well as its Cold Brew Oat, espresso ice cream, and some star latte artistry utilising the product range.
Saputo Dairy represented Australian Dairy with its Sungold Devondale and Liddells Dairy products; and Riverina Fresh celebrated its range of dairy options with a daily rotation of roasters including Ona Coffee, as well as its daily Latte Art competition.
What’s new and what’s impressive? These were the words circulating amongst visitors as they bee-lined to manufactures for a glimpse of product innovation and knowledge of what options they need to consider for their business.
Franke celebrated the launch of its Mytico line in Australia with its Mytico Due machine and special international guest Wojeciech Tysler from Switzerland.
La Pavoni’s commercial and domestic espresso machine line sparkled, none more so than its Diamonte machine; and Coffee Works Express had its suite of products including the Mazzer T-Tamper and Australia’s first look at the new Barista Attitude Pilot machine.
At the La Marzocco Home stand, the Linea Micra, Linea Mini and GS3 models served coffee all day long, but it was an Instagram photo competition thanks to a purple kitchen setup and vibrant yellow Linea Micra that had visitors trying everything in their arsenal to take home the coffee machine prize.
Espresso Company Australia had its complete commercial range on show including machines from Rocket Espresso, Heylo Coffee, Anfim, Cinoart, Aillio and Drink Morning.
At Coffee Tools Distributing, it felt like its whole warehouse was on display, with the NanoFoamer Pro and Xbloom automatic pour- over machine popular items.
Barista Group celebrated devices that could improve café workflow and consistency, with Markibar and Izaga W grinders, Tone Touch 03 and the new Übermilk milk texturing device showing customers how to maximise multiple milks from the one device.
Latte Art Factory captured the curiosity of onlookers with its milk-foaming technology, and Barista Equip turned heads for its new Flow Grinder, powered by Fiorenzato, along with the Eversys Cameo.
IMF Roasters and Australian agent Roastquip showed off its 60-kilogram roaster from Italy, and ADM Packaging demonstrated the benefits of its automated packing and filling machines.
Flavour in all direction
Origin Alley celebrated the world’s best coffee offerings and the countries that make it happen. Regular cuppings were seen from Colombia Land of Many Origins by Café
de Colombia, Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand, and the Indonesian Pavilion; along with 10-year MICE exhibitors Southland Merchants, and Minas Hill.
New to the expo this year was the International Womens in Coffee Alliance who also shared cuppings, panel discussions and united women from all sectors of the coffee supply chain.
To flavours of a different kind, Maltra Foods represented Arkadia and Urban Barista, giving MICE visitors a caffeine break with plenty of frappes to try, including its new biscoff flavour.
MONIN had coffee-on-tap but in a clever twist, invited drinkers to pair the coffee’s flavour profile with experimental dashes of MONIN’s range of natural flavourings.
Naked Syrups also shared its range of natural flavourings, powders, and sauces, with its white chocolate dessert sauce, and a “barbie beetroot” getting quite the attention.
Something for everyone
Elsewhere around the show, Biopak showcased its new aqueous cups and lids and the importance of sustainable packaging conversations; Star Outdoor presented its new Swing Range signage frames – along with free cannoli; and Shift talked finance and technology solutions and B2B transactions.
Cookie samples were a hit, Tastebuds’ toothpaste was an interesting discovery, and Brewtech’s exclusive tradeshow offering of coffee-themed tattoos was a permanent reminder of this year’s event.
Over the course of three days at MICE, the booming sounds of the emcee and cheers of applause were reserved for baristas in the inaugural Richest Barista competition. The event was a chance for baristas to win a share of $40,000, the richest cash prize on offer for a barista competition final anywhere in the world. The baristas left standing on the last day were those that proved their ability in the barista, latte art, and cup tasting categories.
Rawirat Techasitthanet of Jibbi Little’s Coffee Roasters was crowned the inaugural title winner and took home $25,000 in prize money. Pirada Tungbenjaphol placed second, winning $10,000, and Lucky Salvador placed third, winning $5000.
New Product Innovation Awards were also crowned. The Trimatt ColourStar AQ V by Trimatt Systems was awarded the Product Innovation Award for Coffee Accessories.
Franke Coffee Systems’ Mytico line won the award for Coffee Preparation Equipment.
The Rhino Spinjet Spray Assembly and Actuator Starb3-EDP by Bombora Supplies won the Ancillary Electrical Equipment award.
And The Good Cup by Roastar Coffee Packaging won the People’s Choice award.
Melbourne Coffee Week
Throughout the week of MICE, events kept visitors engaged and connected to maximise the most of their time in Melbourne. It kicked off with the Australian Coffee Traders Association networking dinner and presentation event on MICE eve. After day one of the expo, La Marzocco opened its doors to an old-school warehouse party that had decks spinning to the early morning; and day two’s night events had something for everyone. Hario celebrated its new independent Australian office on the top floor of Crown Casino; MONIN crowned Danny Wilson its Creativity Cup winner; and Veneziano Coffee Roasters hosted its Barista Brawl with Michael Beckford of The Alleyway Café crowned the winner and $5000 richer.
The last night saw exhibitors and guests toast a successful week of engagements and 10 years of tradeshow gatherings.
That’s a wrap
MICE2023 registered 10,218 attendees across the three days of the show, with visitors travelling from across the country, and overseas. MICE will return in 2024 for its 11th edition from 12 to 14 May at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
“This year’s MICE was a resounding success. Off the back of a strong World Barista Championship year, we were proud to hear that exhibitors embraced strong, quality- driven customer leads and conversations, which is testament to the purpose of MICE from its inauguration 10 years ago: to be an annual meeting place to connect buyers and sellers and do business,” says MICE Show Director Lauren Winterbottom.
“We couldn’t be happier with the result. This year’s show has truly cemented the value and place of this wonderful expo in the heart of the coffee industry landscape, and we can’t wait to do it all again next year.”
The 2024 event will take place from 12 to 14 May at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
For more information, visit internationalcoffeeexpo.com
This article appears in the October 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.