BeanScene finds out why MICE2020 is going to be the most exciting one yet and why top industry players are returning.
Melbourne’s coffee culture resinates deep within its laneways, where baristas can be seen serving coffee from an old shopfront, pop-up caravan, or a hole-in-the-wall covered in graffiti with milk crates out the front. It’s these unique characteristics that will be on display when the coffee world comes to Melbourne for the 2020 Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE).
But that’s not all. For the first time since 2013, Melbourne will host the World Barista Championship (WBC) and World Brewers Cup (WBrC), making Australia the only country outside the United States to host these competitions more than once.
National barista champions will descend on Australia’s coffee capital when the prestigious coffee competitions take place during MICE at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) from 4 to 7 May.
“Next year will be the biggest MICE to date,” says MICE Show Director Lauren Winterbottom. “The event will see the world’s most accomplished, inventive, and technical baristas compete under strict time constraints in front of elite judges and a packed-audience.”
The combined competitions will see around 100 competitors, along with their family, friends and support crew from more than 60 countries head Down Under.
One barista who hopes to compete again in front of a home crowd is 2013 WBC runner up Matthew Perger.
“Ever since I managed to win second place in Melbourne 2013, it’s been at the back of my mind to compete again. With some good luck in the next Australian Barista Championships, I might be given a chance to settle that score,” Matthew says.
International visitation to MICE spiked when it hosted the WBC and WBrC. Event organisers anticipate MICE2020 will attract a vastly larger global crowd, with the event, Australian coffee, and the world competitions growing in importance and stature since then.
Lauren says the international attendance creates an exciting marketing opportunity for roasters to get their brand and products into the hands of international customers, with many setting their sights on overseas expansion.
Already, roasters such as Bluestone Lane, ST ALi, Expat Roasters, and Toby’s Estate have been highly successful in establishing a presence in places such as South-East Asia and the United States.
“Every market is represented at MICE, and what better place to start forming those essential relationships with future partners and customers?” says Lauren.
Adam Genovese, General Manager of Genovese Coffee, says the WBC will generate a crowd of its own at MICE.
“It will bring different people from different walks of the coffee world to it, regardless of where it is. We’re lucky enough to have it for a second time in Melbourne,” Adam says.
“The Australian coffee scene has such a diverse nature and a consumer awareness that’s greater than anywhere else in the world.”
Genovese Coffee will return to MICE for the first time since 2014 to celebrate its 50th anniversary, showcase its new products, and network with the growing market.
MICE remains a platform to conduct business and connect with the coffee community. Lauren says with more than 60 businesses launching, showcasing, and presenting new products, it’s the perfect opportunity to develop new business. Visitors can engage with coffee roasters, baristas, green bean traders, coffee producers, equipment suppliers, and machine manufacturers.
“MICE is continuously evolving. We’ve now seen it as a space where people can sign major business deals,” Lauren says. “We’ve already seen a significant uptake in international companies wanting to exhibit in MICE2020.”
One company who has secured its place in the expo is Japanese brewing manufacturer Hario, which will launch Hario Australia during the show.
John Jong, President of Hario, says the company has received an overwhelming amount of support from the Australian coffee community over the years and is excited to engage with the Australian market in person.
“We respect all coffee lovers and baristas who want to share good coffee together. Australia will experience the newest trends in coffee brewing equipment and Hario-style hospitality,” John says.
“Melbourne has established itself as a sacred place for Australian coffee, constantly creating and grafting new coffee trends based on traditional coffee culture from Europe.”
Another company set to make its MICE debut is Swiss Coffee manufacturer Eversys. Commercial Director Kamal Bengougam says Australia’s premier coffee event is the perfect place to showcase its automatics range.
“We are pushing the boundaries of automation into traditional territory and believe that Australia could be early adopters of this new dawn,” Kamal says.
“Australia’s coffee culture is amazing. People are very proud of their heritage as a coffee leading nation and, culturally, they are open to new ideas. Melbourne has taken the mantle as the coffee capital of Australia.”
Cosimo Libardo, Carimali CEO, says MICE will provide an opportunity for the Italian coffee machine manufacturer to compete in the Australian market.
“We are launching new products and technologies focused on sustainability, modularity, and workflow improvement, that will definitely appeal to roasters and coffee shops,” Cosimo says.
“Australia is extremely competitive in every sense. The average drink quality is high, with consumers always looking for the ultimate experience. There are more than a thousand roasters offering great coffees. Melbourne, in this sense, is the pinnacle of it all.”
What’s more, MICE will invite attendees to experience the world’s finest coffees, with more than 20 roasters already signed up to exhibit.
“Australian is a leader and an influencer when it comes to coffee trends and technology developments. Each year we see the bar raised in terms of the quality of coffee we experience in cafés,” Lauren says. “MICE is an incredible opportunity for visitors to sample some of the world’s best coffees from world-class roasters.”
From its beginning in 2012, MICE has remained Australia’s largest and only coffee-dedicated trade show, connecting buyers and sellers, and bringing industry members together. And connect it has, with last year’s event hitting a record attendance of more than 11,000 people.
Lauren says MICE2020 is set to be Australia’s anticipated coffee event of the year, predicting more than 12,000 attendees to pass through the MCEC’s doors.
“MICE attracts a quality audience and provides us with opportunity to connect the Australian and international coffee community,” Lauren says. “There’s less than a year to go, and we can’t wait.”
For more information and to book exhibitor space, contact MICE organisers at +61 3 9690 8766 or firstname.lastname@example.org