MICE; the annual pilgrimage that sees thousands of coffee professionals gather for three days of banter, competitions and, of course, plenty of caffeinated consumption. This year saw one of the largest turnouts in the expo’s history and was a huge success for both exhibitors and attendees alike. The Melbourne Exhibition Centre played host to MICE for the first time (a trend that is set to continue given this year’s popularity) and was a veritable playground for coffee enthusiasts. To give a comprehensive rundown of everything that took place this year would be far too much for one article, so we’ve put together a list of highlights for you to peruse.
La Marzocco KB90
Welcome to the reinvention of the wheel…or coffee machine handle. La Marzocco continues to shake things up as they move our industry forward. Who else would have thought to change the way we put a portafilter into the group head? The KB90 is designed to go straight in! After taking the machine for a spin (with expert La Marzocco technician Kevin guiding us) we noticed how much this could ease the strain on the high-volume barista. We can’t wait to see what these guys do next!
Filipe and his brother Carlos brought to the table another line up of stellar examples of Colombia’s finest. Experimenting with extended tank fermentation and (our new found favourite) Pink Bourbon is becoming second nature to these guys. Along with a new variety for us to sample - the Purple Bourbon, we were in for a real treat! The natural Java from Finca El Roble as usual took my heart with this season’s crop along with a yellow Java that was new to the table. Typica, Striped Bourbon, Chilli Bourbon, Caturron and of course, some Gesha were all slurped and enjoyed. There was even naturally low caffeine varietal, Laurina, that caught my eye. Always an adventure cupping with these guys!
Hunt & Brew
This year we had the privilege of helping out on stand of WA founded company Hunt & Brew. These guys are doing some great things with cold brewed coffee. There are three different origins to choose from (Colombia, Brazil and Honduras) all blended with fresh full-cream milk and no added sugar; just coffee, and milk. Hunt & Brew is an exciting new product hitting supermarket shelves nationally very shortly (already available in some states). The team are extremely passionate about their product and we can’t wait to see what comes next from them.
Melbourne Coffee Merchants – Silvio Leite
Our friends at Melbourne Coffee Merchants (MCM) were kind enough to introduce us to Brazilian coffee legend Silvio Leite.
This passionate man is a font of knowledge with the experience he has accumulated over the last three decades! Silvio was involved in establishing the very first Cup of Excellence competition in 1999 and has acted as Head Judge for nearly thirty competitions, not to mention being the President of the BSCA (Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association). He is an exceptional cupper and teacher and has played a pivotal role locally and globally in growing the potential of specialty coffee.
We also had a great time cupping with MCM at Prahran Market where they do their roasting. It was interesting to see how our palates were all calibrated over a table of delicious Ethiopian coffees. Thanks to Mel and Fleur for being legends as always!
St Ali After party
Not only were they serving delicious crispy fried chicken each day at MICE to keep us all going, these guys threw a killer after party! Acrobats on the bar floor as entertainment, magicians on the top level and a couple of real rabbits in top hats nestled on the corner completed the Melbourne too-cool-party vibe. This was a great way to have a well-earned drink and dance with old and new friends celebrating yet another successful MICE.
This un-official post-MICE event was very relaxed and non-coffee focussed hosted by the team at Everyday Coffee. It was a great way to spend one last day in the (surprisingly sunny) city eating vegan chilli hotdogs from a converted La Marzocco machine-turned-barbeque (yes you read that right). There was also a ton of vegan gelato from Billy van Creamery (made with Minor Figures oat milk) for good measure. Meeting some of Melbourne’s baristas and experiencing their social scene was one of the biggest highlights of the trip.
MICE 2019 was a truly unforgettable experience and we can’t wait to see 2020 has in store!