The international coffee community will once again descend on Melbourne as the city hosts the World Coffee Championships in 2022.
There’s something inherently special about a World Barista Championship (WBC). It’s a symbol of unity for the international coffee community, of respect for a talented profession, and pure joy and excitement.
When Pete Licata was crowned World Barista Champion in 2013 at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE), the grandstands rumbled with applause as the American outlasted local barista hopeful Matthew Perger. Cameras flashed as the world’s coffee media captured the moment in history, and thousands of online viewers across the globe streamed the results as Licata lifted his trophy high to the sky. For those who witnessed it first-hand, MICE2013 remains a memory they relive eight years on.
Melbourne was set host its second WBC in 2020 until the global COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of international borders, ultimately restricting travel plans. MICE2021 was also forced to postpone due to continuing restrictions, however, the unfortunate announcement was overshadowed by far more welcome news: the return of the WBC to Melbourne in 2022.
“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for,” says MICE Show Director Lauren Winterbottom.
“We’ve experienced two years of failed attempts to host our beloved international expo, but we are overjoyed to have secured the prestigious WBC at MICE2022, and the World Brewers Cup (WBrC) competition. The international coffee community has waited long enough to see these events back on our calendar, and we’re so excited that MICE will be the event that delivers this premium competition once again.”
More than 60 national representatives will vie for the title of World Champion at MICE from 27 to 30 September 2022.
Salvatore Malatesta, CEO of MICE Platinum Sponsor St Ali, says news of the WBC coming back to Melbourne is just what the hospitality industry needs as it recovers from the past 18 months.
“This is a fantastic announcement and will be a great opportunity for our industry, both in Australia and from around the world to reconnect after COVID-19 and celebrate coffee and our people once again. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Melbourne,” says Malatesta.
Long-time MICE exhibitor and supporting sponsor Cafetto says the return of the World Coffee Championships is a testament to the importance of the expo on the global stage.
“This news is extremely exciting. Cafetto has been a major contributor to MICE since it began in 2012 and we’ve watched it evolve – first hosting the WBC and WBrC in its second year, and World Latte Art Championships in its third year. It really is an elite event,” says Cafetto Managing Director Christopher Short.
“The other thing we’ve loved celebrating each MICE is our networking drinks on the first evening of the show. It’s become a trademark social event. It brings people together, and you can bet we’ll be holding it again in 2022.”
Pioneering Australian specialty coffee roaster Toby’s Estate also places a tremendous amount of value in supporting and connecting the industry. General Manager Jody Leslie says now more than ever is the time to cement that support after a tough two years battling the impact of COVID-19.
“Participating at MICE will be a long-awaited opportunity to showcase what we’ve been up to over the past two years,” she says.
“Having our borders open up will be a reawakening for the country and the coffee community. It will be great to host international guests and breathe life back into the coffee industry once again.”
MICE has made a name for itself over the past nine years as an important place to connect the entire coffee community and do business. One business to back the value of the annual expo is espresso machine manufacturer La Marzocco.
“Not having MICE be able to run the last two years and our ability to host events around the country severely limited has left us craving the connection and comradery we so love about the Australian coffee community. Having launched several new products to market without being able to fully personally engage on the benefits of these to each and every person in coffee has been disappointing,” says La Marzocco Australia Marketing Manager Jets Anita Langlands. “People are at the core of everything we do and their input and passion help us strive to be better at supporting them.”
As a global and people-focussed company, Langlands says the opportunity to bring La Marzocco’s colleagues and partners from all over the world to share its machinery, relationships and knowledge is vital to the brand’s continued growth and development.
“Espresso machines bring people together whether in an office, café, restaurant or a home and we love the sense of togetherness and community WBC brings to a city when they host. We can all take influence and inspiration from each other as coffee is truly a global industry, one which we deserve to celebrate together, and what better place than Melbourne,” Langlands says.
One exhibitor already excited at the prospect of having their barista compete in the WBC is Nomad Coffee Group, represented by supporting partner Flight Coffee and its New Zealand Barista Champion Luise Metelka.
“Through our specialty coffee brand Veneziano Coffee Roasters, we’ve been able to represent Australia about five times on the international competition stage. We backed NZ Barista Champion Nick Clark and US Barista Champion Pete Licata in 2013 when they trained in our Melbourne facilities, so to have another competitor come across the ditch and compete on the world stage with our support is fantastic,” says Nomad Coffee Group Managing Director Craig Dickson.
The roaster is also expecting its team of coffee professionals to dust off their WBC judging hats for the home tournament, including Dickson, Nick Percy, Michaela Gerrard, Pete Licata, Richard Corney, and Jack Allisey for the WBrC.
“Hosting and participating in the World Coffee Championships as a judge, competitor or supporter is such a special occasion. I still recall 2013 as one of the best WBCs that has ever been held, and I’ve been to a lot of them. The atmosphere, the talent, the local support, it was everything. The world stage held 600 people and there were 1000 people watching outside,” Dickson says.
“I really do think Melbourne is one of the best coffee places in the world. We have so much to offer the world, and the global coffee community is really one big family. When we get together, there’s always lots of dinners, networking, and a chance to see people we haven’t for years, including our green bean suppliers and coffee farmers who we would normally see each year. To reconnect and see them in person rather than through a computer screen is going to be fantastic. It’ll be one hell of a party.”
MICE is the largest dedicated coffee show in the Southern Hemisphere. More than 145 exhibitors fill the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, demonstrating specialty coffee, technology, and trends. In 2020, exhibition stands sold out and organisers are expecting similar demand for 2022.
De’Longhi will remain the title sponsor of Melbourne Coffee Week, leading into the September 2022 event. Visitors to Melbourne can expect a jam-packed week of educational sessions, competitions, special offers and parties.
MICE2022 is also supported by MILKLAB, Espresso Mechanics and made by Fressko.
MICE launched in 2012 with the purpose of bringing the global coffee community together and that’s exactly what it aims to do in 2022.
“We are so thankful to our sponsors and exhibitors for supporting MICE despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, and we can’t wait to return with a big bang in 2022,” says Show Director Winterbottom.
Exhibition space for MICE2022 will be available shortly, following a pre-sale for MICE2021 exhibitors. For more information, or to join the waitlist, please contact event organisers on
+61 3 9690 8766 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was first published in the September/October edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.