There’s not one, not two, but three huge specialty coffee events happening this week in Milan, for which it’s an all-hands on deck situation for us at Sprudge. Our entire editorial staff is decamping for Italy tomorrow, so if you can’t come along yourselves, you’ll be able to follow along with us all week long on the site.
Don’t worry, we’ll still be running “12 Reasons Why Harry Styles Needs Coffee” and the like alongside our Italy coverage, but we think you should care about this Milan stuff. Here’s what’s happening, and why it matters, and how you can play along from home.
Host Fiera Milano (Oct 18th-22nd)
What is it? – Simply put, Host is the biggest hospitality industry expo on the planet. It happens every other year, and brings together literally thousands of vendors from across a wide variety of industries, including furniture and homewears, food service equipment, gelato, tea, and yes, of course, coffee. If the annual SCAA Expo here in the United States is the speciality coffee world’s Comic-Con, then imagine Host as if Comic-Con, the E3 expo, PAX Prime in Seattle, Big Green Eggfest in Atlanta, and Tales of the Cocktail got together to have a well-dressed Italian baby, all under the same roof. It’s a huge show.
Why do I care? – Because like events such as Comic-Con and E3, Host is when many specialty coffee manufacturing companies around the world choose to debut new and exciting products. Right now, at this very moment, we’re sitting on press embargoes and preparing stories about a whole great big bloody raft of new stuff that’s dropping once the show floor opens on the 18th. The biggest set of announcements come from Nuova Simonelli, who sat out debuting new products at the US and Australian conventions this year, and have doubled-down on making a big international splash at Host. We’ve also got some cool new product announcements afoot from the likes of Marco Beverage Systems and Mazzer, both of whom are household names in the high-end global specialty coffee world.
New product announcements are inherently exciting. You’ll be able to see it all first as we break info on these products all week long on Sprudge.
WBC All-Stars (Oct 18th-22nd)
What is it? – It’s a first of its kind pilot program from our friends and partners at World Coffee Events, the folks who put the annual World Barista Championship event each year. For WBC All-Stars, the folks at World Coffee Events have gathered together a truly remarkable assembly of international professional baristas, all of whom have been top finishers or outright champions during the past decade of WBC competition. A full schedule and event info is available here.
But why? – Because if you get everyone together in the same place, you can have a lot of fun. Think talk show style interviews, interactive competitions and challenges, signature beverage demos, and pop quiz chicanery – all featuring some of the brightest lights in the WBC’s cavalcade of stars.
So who’s there? – No really, it’s a star-studded line-up. Pete Licata (2013 World Champion), Raul Rodas (2012 World Champion), Alejandro Mendez (2011 World Champion), Gwilym Davies (2009 Champion), James Hoffmann (2007 World Champion), Stefanos Domatiotis (perennial Greek champion and repeat World Finalist), Colin Harmon (perennial Irish champion and repeat world finalist), Matt Perger (2013 Australian Champion, 2nd place at 2013 Worlds), Francesco Sanapo (Italian champion and World Finalist), and Fabrizio Sencion (2012 Mexican champion, 2nd in the Worlds in 2012). Also contributing via video segments are Stephen Morrissey (2008 World Champion) and Michael Phillips (2010 World Champion).
Why do I care? – You care for a variety of reasons. This is the greatest assembly of barista champion talent ever put together for one event; the signature beverage deconstructions will be broadcast on Livestream; nobody has ever attempted something like this before, so that always makes things interesting; All-Star matches like this inherently make for great theater and spectacle; the roster of champions they’ve assembled are really a bunch of characters; and because Sprudge is the official media partner for this event, so you know the coverage is going to be fun and lively and weird, all week long. Nobody has ever tried an event like this before – you’re watching the canary be placed in the coal mine, basically – so if it goes well, who knows, there may be many more WBC All-Star style events to come in the future. You’re watching history happen.
La Marzocco Out Of The Box – (October 17th-19th)
What is it? – La Marzocco are throwing their own party this weekend in Italy, and the whole world is invited. We ran a huge preview feature on this all last week; here’s an excerpt: “The theme for this year’s Out of The Box is “Innovation and Design”. The event itself comprises a wide selection of speeches and educational components, a “True Artisan Café” featuring a rotating cast of 25 different roasters from all over the world, a gallery and auction from The Coffee Art Project, onsite roasting demos, a chance to play around with the Modbar, and of course a big barbecue party.”
Why do I care? – Because Out Of The Box is its own fascinating counterpoint to Host, and this year’s event will see LM debuting a wide variety of new research and information, including the fruits of their collaboration with Illy and the University of Florence, and a presentation called “Filp That Bar” from students and faculty at the European Institute of Design. There will also be talks from noted coffee brainiacs like Dr. Timothy Schilling (World Coffee Research), David Griswold (Sustainable Harvest), Francesco Illy (Gruppo Illy SpA), and Scott Guglielmino (La Marzocco USA / ToastGeek.com).
Sprudge.com will be reporting to you all weekend long from Out Of The Box, with our leading OOTB coverage helmed by our assistant editor (and all-out design / tech nerd) Alex Bernson. You can learn much more about this event by visiting the official Out Of The Box website.