Australia embraces inaugural Coffee Experience

The Coffee Experience (TCE) has made its debut in Sydney, Australia welcoming 3886 attendees to the Royal Hall of Industries, from 4 – 6 September. The event was a resounding success, highlighting the need for Sydney to have a dedicated coffee expo it can call its own. The Coffee Experience focused on technology, innovation, and the latest trends emerging in the Sydney coffee and café community. Exhibitor feedback generally agreed that the quality of the attendees was stand-out, with strong representation from café owners, corporate clients and a good number of enthusiasts visiting the event. “In speaking with exhibitors the recurring feedback has been that Sydney finally has a coffee show that can serve the needs of its unique market,” said Brad Buchanan, General Manager of Coffee Media and Events, for show organiser Prime Creative Media. “Exhibitors appreciated the opportunity to spend quality time with current and future clients, generating solid leads and consolidating existing relationships in an atmosphere that celebrated the coffee industry.” The event catered to the broad hospitality industry, with more than just amazing coffees on offer. A selection of quality hot beverages including chai, chocolate powders, and syrups celebrated key elements that help cafés grow their business. There was also a plethora of associated equipment and expertise on offer, for those keen to expand their café offering or knowledge base. The extensive educational offering also proved a popular attraction of the show. World-recognised training was hosted directly from the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), drawing crowds of Sydneysiders eager to improve their coffee skills, with many classes reaching maximum capacity. “The coffee industry has been looking for standardised, recognised training that’s been developed and verified by a reliable source. They’ve found that in the SCAA,” says Clint Hendry, Show Director. SCAA has produced training education at all three MICE events, however Ellie Hudson, Director of Professional Development at SCAA, says the training at TCE was the largest offering the SCAA has produced to date. She says the most popular workshops were the Filter Coffee Workshop and Introduction to Sensory Analysis. “We know that Specialty Coffee is far from new in Australia, but what we heard from students over and over again was a desire for some credible, science-based content to refine knowledge and confirm or tweak current best practices,” says Ellie. “As SCAA content is developed through collaboration among professionals that might normally be considered competitors, it is uniquely positioned to deliver exactly the type of best practices training that the Australian market is seeking.” The NSW Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) competitions, including the Latte Art and Brewers Cup also took place during TCE. The competitions, which attracted cheering crowds, were guest emceed by former World Latte Art Champion Scottie Callaghan, and reigning NSW Barista Champion Habib Maarbani. Building on the success of this year’s ASCA competitions, the organisers of The Coffee Experience are looking to host the full ASCA NSW Coffee Championships, including the prestigious Barista and Cup Tasters events, along with the Coffee Chain Championships, at TCE in 2015. Organisers have also announced their intentions to host the ASCA Australian Coffee Championships, at TCE, in 2016. If this occurs it will be a milestone event, as the Nationals have been held in Melbourne for the past three years. “We are looking to further develop the Sydney Coffee Experience and display to ASCA the value of hosting the National Championships in Sydney,” said Brad. “We understand the need to promote the Specialty Coffee message Australia wide and developing a successful Sydney expo in addition to Melbourne can be a platform to help achieve the wider industry goals and grow the industry.” When attendees and exhibitors weren’t busy at the show watching competitions, attending classes, or generating sales leads, they were attending a strong line-up of satellite events that kept the industry buzzing well into the night. Event organisers said they are looking forward to collaborating with exhibitors and stakeholders to deliver another exciting and engaging Coffee Experience in 2015.

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