MICE 2019

Melbourne International Coffee Exhibition.  It had been two years since we last checked out this exhibition.  It's always great to see what is happening in the wider coffee world with our neighbours across the ditch.  
 
We arrived to a packed house and spotted Rainforest Alliance, who we wanted to have a chat to.  The Rainforest Alliance is a non-governmental organization working to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. They've teamed up with UTZ and are doing some really impressive and important work.
 
Two years ago the arrival of different milk based products were emerging at MICE.  What we really noticed at this show was that it had grown quite significantly.  Macadamia milk, almond milk, Coconut milk, Lactose Free.  Alternative milks are all done well. We're not sure if NZ has the market size quite yet for all of these products.  From what Jaime tasted (being an Almond milk drinker), we are a bit behind in terms of a quality product.
 
Nitro Cold Brew - we tasted a variety of different Nitro coffees and although there were some interesting flavours we didn’t find one that tasted quite as good as our Brewsky. A lot of coffee companies were using the counter top version with a bag in box style product. For us it didn't quite do the job as well as a proper keg and tap system. 
 
Technology & Design: Ikawa's British made sample roaster was very cool and the El Salvador we test roasted on it cupped very well. We also tested a green bean defect sorter which was an impressive bit of kit. Recirculation Coffee Roasters are making a big impact in the Australian market, with Loring and IMF both exhibiting at the show. These roasters offer considerable technological improvements on traditional roasters, alongside improved gas efficiency. The new Slingshot shot grinder was on display too and seems likely to become a strong competitor to the Mythos in the near future. 
One product we are very keen to stock is the Varia.  The Varia is an all in one compact coffee maker.  Pour over, moka pot, cold press & plunger.  We hope to be stocking this in our shop soon - so watch this space on that one.  We meet the creator too - Ramsey, a cool kiwi guy from Nelson and got a personal demo from him at the show. It produced a tasty cup! 
 
We really enjoyed our visit to the impressive Code Black Coffee Roasters, where we attended a talk by roasting legend Rob Hoos.  He had some great insights and technical advice on coffee roasting and was also an all round good guy. 
 
Overall coffee in Melbourne continues to be light & bright. To our kiwi tastes the roasting is often too light for how we like our espresso, but the standard of baristas was high and the pour over coffee was superb - being much more suited to this roast height. The coffee highlight of our trip was a Galdiver Vasquez Gonzalez (Colombian Fine Cup 9th place) pour over served by Higher Ground.