Melbourne International Coffee Expo 2019: MICE Part 1
Firstly, for those who have never heard of MICE and think that its just a smelly little rodent; MICE stands for Melbourne International Coffee Expo and is Australia’s largest expo on all things Coffee.
This year was extra special because they brought the expo to be in line with the Australian Barista Championships. This meant we were also able to catch a glimpse of the people who will be representing us on a global scale in Boston, United States this coming April.
So, what ACTUALLY happens at MICE?
It’s not just a whole bunch of coffee hipsters standing around sipping espressos and touting things such as “The Malic Acidity is rather grippy don’t you think, Dexter?”
Well, there’s probably a bit of that but there’s also a lot for the general public to consume too.
From: see-through coffee machines, coffee roasters, a whole range of custom tampers and accessories, microfoam milk frothers, coffee innovations and of course lots and LOTS of free coffee to drink.
It wasn’t my first time at MICE, but it was the first time in my new role as a conduit between the Coffee Industry and Consumers. I went there with the intention of finding what is coming up in the coffee world and interpreting the jargon into information that consumers would be interested in.
Here’s my highlight field report:
New Coffee machines
From a see-through coffee machine to a machine that allows you to insert the portafilters straight-in (no twist), every new flagship machine is launched at MICE.
La Marzocco displayed their KB90 which feature a unique no twist, straight-in portafilter which actually felt very natural to get in. This is a huge bonus for baristas because we have all experienced RSI from the constant stress to our wrists. They also had a drip-prediction technology that measured the expected output of any given shot, compared it to 10,000 other shots and then adjusted the water flow to make sure that a consistent volume was extracted from the coffee.
Aremde is a newcomer to the coffee manufacturing world. The Australian owned company has reimagined the traditional wall of steel that most cafes have as a coffee machine, into a gobsmacking see-through machine that breaks down the barrier between barista and customer. Now the customer can see all the hard work that goes into making each shot of espresso, as well as be rewarded by watching their own extraction fall before being served to them. The steam wand can also be used on both sides of the machine so customers can get even closer to the experience by having the barista steam their cappuccino right next to them.
Australian Barista Championships
Wow! The days of doing some nice latte art and adding a zest of lemon to your coffee to win a championship are well and truly gone.
If you haven’t heard of carbonic maceration processed coffee beans then you’re like most normal people, but you won’t be able to keep up with the Barista Championships either. The runner-up, Hugh Kelly, used this Wine fermenting method and applied it to coffee beans prior to roasting and it STILL didn’t win him first place.
To take home first place, the winner: Matthew Lewin had to pull something really big out of his hat and chose 10-month extra ripened coffee, mixed with coconut milk that Matt roasted himself for 3 hours, and paired with blackened chestnut syrup for a winning result.
Will the consumer ever get to sample these unique coffees? A few people perhaps, but most people are still just trying to find a decent cappuccino around town.
Milk Alternatives – Milk Lab
With Lactose being a dirty word these days, people are turning to a fresh new line of milk: Almond, Macadamia, Coconut, Pea, Oats etc
Almond, Macadamia and Coconut milk have been around a while and are doing well, but what about those who are allergic to nuts? Well, Oat milk is there for you. Soaking the oat grain in water and filtering out the solids from the liquid.
Because Oats are naturally creamy in taste, the Oat milk goes well with Coffee and doesn’t even taste any different.
But that isn’t the only new milk alt to be released this MICE…
No, they don’t actually express pump a green pea of all its maternal goodness, they don’t even soak green peas in water as they do for Almond milk. The Pea is harvested as a yellow pea, milled into flour and then separated into proteins, fibre and starch and they take the protein and blend it with water and oils, salts etc to create a mixture that isn’t green and actually tastes beautiful – even in a coffee! So if you’re after a protein boost, then give Pea Milk a try.
The only problem I have with Pea milk is the actual name! Couldn’t the marketing department come up with something better?
These aren’t just any ordinary type milk for your cereal; these are specifically designed to be steamed to 60 degrees Celsius and used to create awesome latte art in Milk Alternative latte smackdowns!
Well, that’s it for part 1 of MICE 2019.
Stay tuned for more crazy and wonderful coffee related inventions.