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The Melbourne International Coffee Expo is running this week from Thursday May 15th to Sunday May 18th, and Sprudge.com has a staff a five on site in Melbourne to cover the panoply of coffee competitions going down. MICE plays host to no fewer than three World Coffee Events international competitions: the World Latte Art Championship, the World Coffee In Goods Spirits Championship, and the World Cup Tasters ChampionshipSprudge will be covering the madness live here on Sprudge.com and at @SprudgeLive on Twitter, thanks to generous direct support from our friends and partners at Dalla Corte, manufacturers of the DC Pro espresso machine, the official machine of the WLAC and WCIGS.

In addition, two national Australian events are happening this weekend: the Australian Barista Championships and Australian Brewers Cup, both presented by the Australian Specialty Coffee Association.

Last but my word, not least, this week also features the 2014 Australian Aeropress Championship, an independent event hosted at the all-new Filter coffee bar by Small Batch Roasting Company. We're DJ'ing that event along with our mate Mark W. Free of Everyday Coffee, and it'll also be the launch party for Eileen P. Kenny's Birds Of Unusual Vitality Volume 2.

It can be a little daunting trying to figure out what all is going on, so we've broken down the schedule a bit for readers at home. You can find the complete schedule for every event and links to the livestreams on the WCE event pageWe are very excited to once again be working with WCE to produce our competition coverage.

World Latte Art Championship

Latte art has always been one of the most immediately recognizable aspects of the specialty barista craft, and a favorite way for baristas to come together in friendly competition at latte-art throwdown events. The WLAC takes that impulse to the next level, with a strictly delineated framework for judging the full range of latte art skills, and a diverse field of international competitors. For more info on this style of event, you can read our primer here, or look back at our coverage of the recent US Latte Art Championship in Seattle.

The 2014 WLAC kicks off Thursday at 9:00AM with the “Art Bar,” a free-style latte art pouring session that gets photographed for use in evaluating each competitors subsequent routine. Round One of the WLAC begins at Noon on Friday the 16th, with finals happening 10am to noon on Sunday the 18th.

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World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship

The Coffee In Good Spirits competition is all about combining coffee with alcohol, with each competitor creating one hot coffee cocktail, one cold coffee cocktail, a classic Irish Coffee, and a freestyle drink of their choice. This year, each competitor must make a drink featuring Grand Marnier, the official spirits sponsor of the event. For a taste of what this competition is all about, you can read our interview with 2013 WCIGS champion Victor Delpierre, or look at this discussion of the perfect Irish Coffee with Delpierre and 2014 Polish CIGS Champion Marcin Wójciak.

The 2014 WCIGS begins on Friday at 2:45PM, with finals running from noon to 3:00pm on Sunday.

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World Cup Tasters Championship

The Cup Tasters Championship is a bit of an outlier in that it is not focused on retail coffee skills. This event is for the coffee “cuppers”–those people who use their super-refined palates to evaluate coffees, whether that's for roasting, quality control, or green coffee buying. The event features a head-to-head live format, with competitors duking it out on stage to correctly identify the odd cup out in eight different sets of three coffees, as quickly as possible. Scoring happens live on stage, making this competition one of the most exciting and immediately comprehensible of the coffee competitions. If you're in Melbourne for MICE and using this guide as a primer, we strongly suggest you check in with the Cup Tasters event throughout the weekend. It's a hoot to watch.

The 2014 WCTC being Friday, May 16th at at 11am, with finals happening Sunday, May 18th from 1:00pm to 2:30PM.

Australian Barista Championship And Brewers Cup

These are the national competitions to crown Australia's representatives for the impending World Barista Championship and World Brewers Cup happening this year in Rimini, Italy. Sprudge is very excited to be bringing our unique brand of live-coverage to the finals of the AUBC this year–for an idea of what that means, you can look back our in-depth coverage of the 2014 US Barista Championships.

The 2014 Australian Barista Championship and Brewers Cup begins May 16th, with Finals for both comps happening on Sunday, May 18th.

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Australian Aeropress Championship

Over the last couple years, the Aeropres Championships have evolved into an exciting, engaging global network of free-wheeling coffee competitions/dance parties, featuring some of the best poster design around. Sprudge.com will be at the Australian Aeropress Championship in full force, covering the competition and party live on Twitter, getting it done in the DJ booth, and celebrating the launch of Eileen P. Kenny’s Birds of Unusual Vitality, Vol 2.

The event takes place Friday, May 16th, at Filter, starting at 7pm. Expect booze and food truck hamburgers a-plenty courtesy of Huxtaburger.

How On Earth Do I Follow All Of This?

There's a lot on at MICE, isn't there? Allow us to be your intrepid guides. Our roving staff of Australian and American reporters will be covering the event from stem to stern, including competitions, dazzling displays on the showroom floor, top flight new gear and custom espresso machines. Sprudge.com is your source for all things MICE, so do check in with our main page, and give us a follow @Sprudge on Twitter and Instagram, which we'll be populating with photos and moments from the show all weekend long.

Get amongst it!