In May, we at Montville Coffee had a unique opportunity to attend the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE), held at the iconic Exhibition Building. It had been a few years since we last made the pilgrimage to this annual event, and we were eager to immerse ourselves in everything the expo had to offer.

MICE is a magnet for industry professionals from around the globe, providing a platform for networking, knowledge sharing, and experiencing the latest industry innovations.

As a regional roaster MICE is a great place for us to connect with the industry. Staying up to date with the latest news at origin, gaining deeper appreciation for the factors impacting the life of the growers and the coffee they produce. As well as engaging first hand with the latest technological advancements in the industry to enhance quality, efficiency and the overall coffee experience.

But what about the fun stuff! Here are a few coffee geek moments we sunk our teeth into!

The fascinating world of coffee accessories

MICE offered an array of memorable moments, new espresso machine technologies, and coffee accessories. Here are some highlights worth sharing.

Cafe Automation: The future is here

Initially, I was skeptical about automation, believing we need more human interaction rather than machines. However, the new Uber Milk unit and Latte Art Factory units left a lasting impression. These units are ideal for high-volume CBD cafes, reducing wastage to nearly zero by automating the filling of milk jugs with precise volumes and perfectly stretched froth. This innovation allows baristas to focus on delivering a consistent coffee experience and providing better service.




Innovations in grind-on-demand grinders, automatic tamping mechanisms like the Gen 5 PukPress, and espresso machines that talk to your grinder to adjust grind size based on environmental changes are streamlining the coffee-making process. Automation is here, and it’s nothing to fear. It allows baristas to engage more with customers, enhancing the overall coffee experience in my new view. 

Elevating the At-Home coffee experience

With more people seeking the perfect brew at home, an overwhelming number of innovative products have emerged to elevate the at-home coffee experience. One standout was the new method of chilling espresso or pour-over brews to preserve aromatic compounds, enhancing the taste.

Volatile aromatic compounds are released through heat during extraction, which contribute to the coffee's aroma although they are often lost through evaporation. However, by chilling the coffee extract immediately upon brewing with the ‘Paragon Balls’, these compounds are captured and retained in the cup, resulting in better-tasting coffee. This improvement can make a significant difference for those chasing the ultimate brew at Home, or at their cafe, and adds a fun theatrical element to brewing.

Coffee Connections: Building relationships

MICE also provided ample opportunities for networking and reconnecting with industry colleagues. I had the pleasure of catching up with Senthil and Sam from Fairtrade Australia. Our strong, trusting relationship with Fairtrade was further solidified when we met Elizabeth Dunn, a Fairtrade Organic coffee growing representative from PNG.

Elizabeth is the Chairperson of her Co-Operative, an incredibly progressive achievement for a woman in PNG. Her leadership and dedication have brought significant positive changes to her co-operative, overcoming enormous gender divides. She invested her savings into building the co-operative to provide a better future for her community. Her commitment to Fairtrade certification ensures that her growers receive fair prices for their coffee.

Elizabeth’s story is inspiring. “There are no other women who are Chairs of co-operatives in PNG. It’s not a usual thing so we even had to hold the election twice. The first time I won a majority there were still people in the co-operative who would not accept it. So everyone voted again, and I won again.”

She works side-by-side with farmers, gaining their trust and demonstrating the importance of producing high-quality coffee. Her leadership is already making a difference, and she is poised to continue driving positive change.

The Melbourne International Coffee Expo was a treasure trove of innovation, connection, and inspiration. It reinforced the importance of staying connected with industry advancements and building relationships. We left the expo excited about the future of coffee and motivated to bring these new ideas, relationships and technologies back to Montville Coffee.

June 26, 2024 — Sean McGowan