For anyone in the coffee scene, August brought with it a massive highlight in the calendar: MICE! That’s right — the expo of expos, the coffee show of coffee shows, back for its 10th birthday edition. At MILKLAB, we were thrilled to once again be a key partner of such an important event in the annual coffee calendar.
Since 2012, MICE has established itself as the premier coffee industry event, being not only a massive networking and showcasing opportunity, but also a place to be inspired by the creativity and excellence of some of the industry’s best roasters and baristas.
Undercover Roasters CEO, Hakan Bilal explained, “The camaraderie and the people [at MICE] make it the best coffee event on the international calendar. I love the gathering of like-minded people sharing and celebrating everything that is coffee on an international level.”
MICE’s influence can be felt in other events and offerings across Melbourne too, as he continued, “We tend to offer a new single and unique filter option around MICE as well as hold and attend events around the city celebrating MICE.”
With this being a special anniversary for MICE, we decided to step change our activation and launch MILKLAB Lane. Our vision was to create an immersive experience with a look and feel inspired by real coffee culture, so naturally we took our cues from Melbourne and its legendary laneways.
On the exterior of the ‘laneway’ were hole-in-the-wall style cafés like those tucked away in central Melbourne, while inside we had a network of coffee carts serving up delicious drinks made with our range of plant-based milks. We also had a live DJ bringing the vibes.
For the first time, MILKLAB's stand was made with sustainable materials including saveBOARD - a low carbon building material made from hard-to-recycle liquid paper board used in lon milk and juice cartons (including MILKLAB packaging), so our laneway wasn’t just a great place to hang out and enjoy a coffee, it also contributed to the reduction of waste.
Sustainability is important to MILKLAB and we are always looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact so knowing each board saves 500 used beverage cartons from landfill made partnering with saveBOARD for this initiative a no-brainer!
The MILKLAB brand has been built upon collaboration, we proudly partnered with the following legends to bring our MILKLAB Lane experience to life.
The team from White Horse Coffee whipped up some delicious treats for our Summer Sensations cart: a frappé with a tiramisu vibe, and a decadent white chocolate matcha creation, both made with MILKLAB Oat.
Things were nice and cosy in the Nutty Nook thanks to Evolve North’s Snug as a Bug chai and cocoa — smooth ‘Vanilla Spice’ (spice, spice, baby …) made with MILKLAB Macadamia, and ‘Bounty’ made with chocolate and aromatic MILKLAB Coconut.
Our baristas once again used the KB90 machines, courtesy of La Marzocco. These machines are a coffee icon, known for their eye-catching style and consistent performance.
A great coffee requires precision, so our baristas used professional quality grinders courtesy of our friends at Barista Group, helping them achieve incredible consistency in their rapid workflows.
MICE also hosted our Barista Battle national and international finals, and we can confirm that there were some crazy skills and attention to detail on show. The levels were high!
Six of Australia’s top baristas had battled their way through state heats, with Rizky from Perth emerging as the Australian champ after receiving a wildcard. He is now invited to become a MILKLAB Master Barista —congratulations Rizky!
Day two of MICE saw our hotly contested international finals take place, and we witnessed an epic final showdown with both baristas pouring some epic latte art designs … but ultimately there could be only one winner!
Our 2023 International Barista Battle champion is Jie Yang from China, whose amazing horse latte art secured the grand prize ahead of Tyler from Malaysia, who poured a beautiful zebra. In third place was Dinh from Vietnam. A huge congrats to Jie, who wins a trip for two to Toronto Coffee Festival 2024!
With the dust settling after another epic edition of MICE, we’re already excited for next year and our next Barista Battle. But in the meantime, we’ve got plenty more exciting colLABs to share, so keep it locked right here for more news and updates coming your way soon.
MILKLAB is proud to partner with Euphoria Social for a second year in a row to celebrate diversity and champion ALL baristas in our community.