It’s that time of year again in Melbourne—Melbourne International Coffee Expo time! While this year may not hold exciting international competitions as it has in previous years, it will be the first year that Melbourne hosts Let’s Talk Relationship Coffee, courtesy of Sustainable Harvest, as well as an exciting series of events from some local folks called Platform.
Brainchild of Hannah Hofmann (manager for green importing company, Silo) and Elika Rowell (coffee manager for Top Paddock)—with assistance from Heath Cater (Coffee Supreme) and Nathan Toleman (Top Paddock and The Kettle Black)—Platform’s inaugural launch encompasses a series of events over March 12–14.
The idea originally began with Hofmann and Rowell collectively lamenting the lack of open, neutral forums in the specialty coffee industry, subsequently setting out to put on dinner for everyone—from seasoned professionals to enthusiastic amateurs—to come together and converse. In exploring the execution of that idea, they found a beautiful yet-to-be-used warehouse space in Melbourne’s CBD (which will eventually become the new venture for Top Paddock), and realized that it would be a waste to only run one event while they had access to such a unique space.
The Platform events kick off with the Victorian AeroPress Championship at 6pm Thursday March 12, which will be judged by James Hoffmann (Square Mile, London), Tim Williams (Workshop Coffee Co., London) and April Fahey (Coffee Supreme). With sweet tunes by DJ Mark W Free, beers from Sample Brew, and cheeseburgers for sale—if past competitions are anything to go by, it’s set to be an evening of loud, shouty fun.
The following evening, Friday March 13, will host the piece de resistance, the Platform Dinner. The Dinner is set to be a lovely representation of the collaborative nature of Melbourne’s coffee scene, with food being thoughtfully cooked up by The Kettle Black kitchen team, while wines are selected by the inimitable Lou Chalmers of the natural-wine-focused Clever Polly’s in North Melbourne. Workshop’s Williams will also be speaking at the event, so it’s set to be a dinner that’s satisfying both nutritionally and intellectually.
On the Saturday, there will be a cupping focusing on Honduras, and in the evening, Platform will wrap up with a Q&A event entitled “Quality is not an Accident”, bringing together a great group of coffee professionals including Chrissie Trabucco of Assembly, Heath Cater of Coffee Supreme, Andrew Kelly of Small Batch/Auction Rooms, and Tyler Youngblood of Azahar Coffee.
Guests can (and should) expect bright thoughts, big ideas, a controversy or two, and surely, inevitably, a surfeit of libation.
Tickets for the Platform Dinner are available from platformaustralia.bigcartel.com
Eileen P. Kenny is a Sprudge.com staff writer based in Melbourne, and the publisher of Birds of Unusual Vitality, the coffee interview magazine. Read more Eileen P. Kenny on Sprudge.