Welcome to Roasters Alley

Roasters Alley

The 2020 Melbourne International Coffee Expo will see some of the country’s boldest coffee roasters display what puts Australia on the map.

One of the most famous fictitious alleyways in the world comes from the pages of Harry Potter. On his first trip to Diagon Alley, Harry is amazed by the magical stores littering the concealed street, selling everything from wands and broomsticks to pet owls and textbooks.

Less fanciful, but to a coffee lover just as magical, the Roasters Alley at the 2020 Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE2020) will present the latest and greatest offerings of some of Australia’s best roasters.

“Roasters are a core segment of the coffee industry, so it’s no wonder Roasters Alley is one of MICE’s most popular features every year,” MICE Show Director Lauren Winterbottom says.

“Australian coffee is well respected across the globe, and much of that is thanks to the hard work and development of the many roasters, small and large, that make up the industry.”

Returning roasters include Adore, Axil, Cartel, Five Senses, Genovese, Lavazza, Mocopan Coffee, Ona Coffee, St Ali, Toby’s Estate, Veneziano, Vertue, and Zest Specialty Coffee. New roasters joining the fold include Pablo & Rusty’s and Undercover Roasters.

“More and more roasters take part in MICE every year, bringing with them new ideas and offerings,” Lauren says. “This demonstrates the health of the Australian coffee industry and popularity of MICE as the Southern Hemisphere’s must-attend coffee event.”

With the 2020 World Barista Championship (WBC) and World Brewers Cup taking place at the event, MICE has seen a surge in companies looking to exhibit. One such company is Coffex Coffee Roasters, which will be returning to MICE after a six-year hiatus. Ernest Tong, Marketing and Quality Control Manager of the Melbourne-based roaster, says the competitions highlight what makes coffee special to a broader community.

“World Coffee Events promote and stand for what specialty coffee can be,” Ernest says. “When it hosts the world coffee championships, it means a lot to the specialty coffee community and helps promote a product that can be accessible to everyone.”

Ernest says MICE2020 will also be the perfect opportunity to raise brand awareness for Coffex.

“The world’s eyes will be on Melbourne. Being involved in MICE next year is the best possible opportunity to be seen for any person involved in coffee,” he says.

“MICE brings together everyone in the industry and puts them in one spot that is the focus of the public for a weekend every year – or in 2020’s case, a week. As a company and wholesaler, it’s an opportunity to showcase our products and development, or even just to connect with the local industry again.”

MICE doesn’t just unite Victoria’s coffee community. The whole country takes part.

“The key to the success of the Australian market is the comradery we have in the industry. Everyone is so open and willing to share,” Ernest says.

“Because we’re so geographically removed from everywhere else, the industry cannot afford to ostracise each other. That’s probably why the Melbourne coffee scene is so strong and respected throughout the world.”

Trevor Simmons, Founder of roaster and first-time MICE exhibitor Industry Beans, agrees that Melbourne’s coffee credibility is thanks to cooperation among the industry. He adds that MICE helps the city maintain its reputation as a coffee capital.

“It’s one of the coffee events around the world that people are most aware of, and it draws them to Melbourne,” Trevor says.

“Next year’s MICE is going to be a really big one, and it’s good for the industry. We’ve always been big supporters of the Melbourne coffee scene and I felt this upcoming MICE, with the WBC and general enthusiasm towards it, was the right time to step up our involvement.”

Industry Beans intends to use MICE2020 as a launch pad for events and campaigns that will continue throughout its stores in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland.

“A big part of what we do is seasonality. Every three months, our company goes through a change in terms of what coffee we’re sourcing, food we’re creating, and wholesale and retail products we’re offering, based on what’s in season or available,” he says.

“Seasonality will be a big push of what we will do at MICE and we’re not treating it as a one-off event. It presents the opportunity for us to bring the narrative of our coffee and hospitality offering to a new audience, who can then experience the same core elements in our cafés and through our online channels.”

With increased international presence at MICE2020, Trevor says there is an opportunity to form connections with companies based abroad.

“We’ve been lucky to form a couple of international partnerships, especially in South-East Asia and the Middle East. Our focus in on finding the right places for our brand and our coffee,” he says.

“We’ll reengage some of those connections as well as look for new ones. Any connection you can make is awesome, whether that’s overseas or at home in a city like Perth.”

While the WBC is generating hype for MICE2020, Trevor says this is not the only reason to get excited for the event.

“The WBC makes a big difference, but what’s more important is the flow-on effect it has. People talk about the competition and want to get involved in the expo, which creates even more reason to be there,” Trevor says. “A lot of roasters or younger companies which don’t usually exhibit get to take the opportunity to reset and add some new life or direction to it.

“There’s so many people in the industry, and there each doing something fresh, innovative, and different. It’s exciting to be a part of.” 

This article appears in the October 2019 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

MICE2020 takes place from 4 to 7 May. For more information and to get tickets, visit www.internationalcoffeeexpo.com

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