A few weeks post the Melbourne International Coffee Expo and I think I’m finally coming down off my caffeine high. And I know I’m not the only one who (over?)indulged in the bountiful fountain of delicious coffee on offer at the 2019 show – but it’s hard to say no when you’re in the midst of the biggest specialty coffee show in Australia, filled to bursting with passionate coffee folk.
Some responsibility for this caffeination has to be attributed to the great opportunity for both myself and Perth account manager, Chris Jackson, to be Sensory judges in the open, semis and finals of the Australian Barista Championships. Our Melbourne Barista Trainer Adrian Mancuso ran parallel, slurping and scoring all the way to the finals of the Australian Brewers Cup. On the other side of the table, our Perth trainer and Western Region Barista Champ, Ziggy Varamulia put in an impassioned and detailed performance in the semi finals of the Aus Barista Champs, serving out the Colombian, La Esperanza Geisha around a theme of transformative service experiences. With competition in the Aus semis some of the toughest in the world, Ziggy unfortunately didn’t make it through but he did an incredible job of representing the strong west coast specialty coffee community.
MICE is always an exciting chance for us to jump back behind the bar and get hands on serving our own coffee. But more importantly, we get to have great conversations about what’s happening behind just the cup. We really wanted to focus on those conversations this year; the new relationships we’re forging at origin, our social impact work, the sweet new equipment we’ve got to play with and some of the truly delicious coffees we’ve been roasting up. To do this, we decked our 360 degree bar out with a crazy amount of coffee fun – from a Corvette Stingray inspired Synesso MVP Hydra and matching grinders through to infused YirgZero coldbrew-nitro on tap. Our seated tasting bar took a slower pace, offering visitors a chance to dive deeper into six educational sensory experiences. Notably, we featured two of our great producer relationships, Samambaia from Brazil and Communal Shamba from Tanzania, and were stoked to host Henrique and Keremba from those respective businesses on the booth. We were lucky enough that long time friend, Sammy Demisse, who’s the man behind our Ardi and YirgZero coffees, was also on bar with us, providing some great insight into the Ethiopian coffee industry.
We always like to pull together a few new and exciting things for the show, so the shelves were stocked with a huge range of coffees, merch and equipment. A limited release collection of 3 coffees, ‘Trust The Process’ showcased the great work of Leonid Ramirez in Colombia while our new Australiana tote bag with illustrations by Melbourne tattoo artist, Mark Lording, was a big attraction. Making the most of the support of the specialty coffee community, we decided to donate 20% of proceeds from all coffee sold towards the Ihowa health clinic, situated amongst the farming community of Communal Shamba in Tanzania.
In addition to our coffee focused setup, we hosted a dedicated Synesso booth, launching the shiny new Synesso S300, joined by Sarah and Aaron from Synesso! Celebrating over 12 years of collaboration with the Seattle based machine manufacturer, we’re stoked to be importing the S300 into Aus as it slots right into the sweet spot for our local cafes – great tech for coffee quality but at a really affordable price.
2019 MICE was buzzing with energy and the long days were easily worthwhile for the reinvigorating passion of the Aussie coffee community. With the announcement that the World Barista Championship and World Brewers Cup Championship will be hosted again in Melbourne next year at MICE, we’re pumped to welcome more of our international friends to town – our creative caps are already on for what we can get up to next year!