MICE2020: All eyes Down Under

The ninth instalment of the Melbourne International Coffee Expo is set to have stronger international representation than ever before.

When people think of Australia, they imagine sweeping landscapes, picturesque beaches, quality coffee, and dangerous wildlife. While the latter is highly overdramatised, the rest of the stereotypes are true, particularly its thriving coffee culture.

Italian immigrants first introduced their love of espresso to the Australian population in the 1950s. The espresso culture slowly replaced the country’s penchant for English tea and freeze-dried coffee granules, and the coffee scene has continued to evolve since. Independent coffee shops, passionate baristas, and quality-conscious consumers have transformed Australia into a booming coffee destination.

More than 11,000 visitors experienced the Australian coffee scene firsthand when they attended the eighth instalment of the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) in 2019. The 2020 edition is anticipated to draw an even larger audience.

MICE will bring top industry decision-makers and leading international organisations to Australia to connect with the coffee community and provide a platform to build business relationships.

Much more than just a coffee tradeshow, MICE has developed a reputation as the Southern Hemisphere’s largest dedicated coffee expo. Additionally, Australia has become an important global trade show destination for foreign businesses seeking growth in the Asia-Pacific.

“Melbourne has become an appealing destination to host collaborative trade shows that facilitate knowledge-sharing, trade partnerships, education, investment, and valuable networking opportunities,” says Julia Swanson, Acting Chief Executive, Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB).

“Exhibitions and events like MICE attract a quality audience and provide Australian businesses with the opportunity to connect with international audiences and showcase their sourcing, roasting, and brewing capability on the global stage.”

MICE has become a haven for baristas to explore trends and for international roasters, manufacturers and traders to showcase their brand to what many argue is a leading coffee market.

“MICE is, first and foremost, a place to do business. It was created in 2012 as a platform for the Australian coffee market to connect buyers with sellers, and ever since it’s been the industry’s annual go-to event to do trade under the one roof,” says MICE Show Director Lauren Winterbottom.

“MICE2020 is 99 per cent sold out and 50 per cent of our exhibitors are international brands. Of course, having the privilege of hosting the World Barista Championship and World Brewers Cup are huge drawcards for international exhibitors, but more than that we’re seeing brands want to be part of our event because of the strength of our market.”

Already locked in for MICE2020 are a range of international brands. Brewing manufacturer Hario; Italian espresso machine manufacturers Carimali, Nuova Simonelli, Victoria Arduino, La Marzocco and Faema; roaster manufacturer Probat; grinder manufacturers Hemro Group and Eureka; and syrup provider Kerry (Da Vinci) are all confirmed.
“The growth and sophistication of the Australian coffee market, its willingness to pay more for quality product, and economic attractiveness of home-grown production are some of the factors fuelling the Australian coffee industry and adding to the appeal for international brands,” Swanson tells GCR.

“MICE has become an anchor point for international guests to connect with new and existing Australian customers, see the latest in coffee technology and machinery, along with the best roasters and baristas, and of course to do serious business.”

In addition to manufacturers, there is a vast range of internationally based bean traders attending MICE2020 that source produce from all across the globe.

Southland Merchants, 3 Brothers and Minas Hill will celebrate the quality of Brazilian coffee. Cafelumbus and Cofinet will shine a light on Colombia. Project Origin will represent several central American nations, while Condesa will honour multiple South American countries, Zedo Smart Trading will display Ethiopian beans, and Cofi-Com will take guests on a tour of the farming belt.

Several national associations will also be present at MICE, including Café de El Salvador, the Indonesian Pavilion, Peru’s Ministry of International Commerce and Tourism, and the Brazil Specialty Coffee Association.

“We will have nearly 200 brands on display at MICE2020. It’s an exciting time for MICE visitors to connect with international traders, and likewise, it creates a platform for our visitors to showcase their brand and business to some of the most prominent global players in our industry,” Winterbottom says.

“In particular, many Australian coffee roasters are looking to expand their operations offshore, with saturation in the country high, and more opportunities to take their business to under-developed cities. For those ambitious companies, it’s a vital opportunity to connect with the right people to help them achieve that dream. It’s a win-win.”

Since its inception in 2012, MICE has always been hosted in Melbourne, but growth has led to organisers upscaling the venue. MICE from 4 to 7 May 2020 will be hosted at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) for the second year in a row. According to MCB’s Swanson, throughout 2018-19, 1297 events were held at MCEC, which attracted more than one million delegates. This included 30 international conventions involving more than 27,000 representatives.

“MCEC is the largest exhibition center in the Southern Hemisphere at 70,000 square meters so it provides the perfect opportunity for MICE exhibitors to showcase themselves on the world stage,” Swanson says.

MCEC’s Senior Manager Food & Beverage Neil Mather says the countdown to bring the international coffee community Down Under is truly underway.

“Melbourne’s coffee culture is iconic within the international food scene and as a venue we take our coffee seriously. We look forward to welcoming the industry’s global leaders to MICE 2020 and showcasing what Melbourne does best,” Mather says.

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