Here’s what happened at HostMilano 2023

HostMilano 2023 brought the best brands and products from the HoReCa industries. Ben Mitchell recaps the main events for the coffee sector.

Every two years, the world’s largest B2B hospitality trade show takes place in Milan. HostMilano 2023 was held at the Fiera Milano exhibition and trade centre from 13 to 17 October, with thousands of people attending from over 50 countries.

HostMilano is open to brands and companies across the food and beverage sector, including coffee, tea, chocolate and cacao, bars and restaurants, bakeries and patisseries, pizza, pasta, gelato, vending machines, and food service equipment.

Over 2,000 companies exhibited at the 43rd edition of the event, showcasing the latest innovations in technology and product development in the global coffee and HoReCa industries.

As well as this, HostMilano 2023 was host to several coffee competitions and awards ceremonies.

Coffee competitions & awards at HostMilano

World Latte Art Grading System Championship 2023

This year’s World Latte Art Grading System Championship took place on 16 October. This competition has been held in over 50 countries, assessing baristas’ technical latte art skills, as well as their creativity and flair. 

Although any coffee professional can apply to participate in the World Latte Art Grading System Championship, competitors must know how to extract espresso, steam milk, and pour latte art.

Competitors from Slovenia, Puerto Rico, Chile, Peru, Spain, Colombia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Italy battled it out for over six levels: White, Orange, Green, Red, Black, and Gold. Each one corresponds to specific skills baristas must demonstrate to receive an award.

Michele Zhonghua Hu, who won the Italian National Latte Art Grading System Championship the day before, was awarded the gold-level jug. Jorge Figueroa from Puerto Rico took home the black jug, Italy’s Salvatore Riunno was awarded the red jug, and Matias Felipe Faundez Faundz from Chile won the green jug.

Milano Latte Art Challenge 2023

The fourth edition of the Milano Latte Art Challenge took place from 14 to 16 October. Twelve competitors battled it out over nine rounds that varied in difficulty – from pouring simple latte art patterns to more complex designs.

After three days of fierce competition, previous Latte Art World Champion Manuela Fensore took home first place.

Other competitions

The Italian Espresso Institute hosted this year’s Espresso Italiano Champion contest between 13 and 17 October. International coffee professionals delivered a presentation while preparing espressos and cappuccinos for a panel of sensory and technical judges.

The 2023 Gran Premio Delle Caffetteria Italiana competition took place on 14 October. Competitors had 13 minutes to prepare two cappuccinos, two espressos, and two cold coffee drinks containing traditional Italian ingredients. Eight baristas made it through to the finals to compete for the title of 2023 Best Italian Maestro del Caffé.

The second Moka Challenge was held on 17 October. Unlike the other competitions, this was open to anyone interested in taking part. Participants were given ten minutes to brew and serve coffee in a three-cup moka pot – with finalists competing for the title of best brewer of the traditional Italian coffee pot.

Smart Label Host Innovation Award 2023

As well as competitions, HostMilano 2023 included several awards schemes – such as the Smart Label Host Innovation Awards.

The awards scheme recognises excellence in product innovation in the HoReCa sectors, including coffee. The categories were functionality, technology, product performance, and social and environmental sustainability.

Smart Label Host Innovation Award 2023 winners include:

  • Latte Art Factory Bar Pro
  • Pietro grinder
  • Wacaco Company’s Minipresso NS2
  • Franke Mytico
  • Simonelli’s Eagle Tempo
Elektra displayed their new Evok machine at HostMilano 2023

Who exhibited at HostMilano 2023?

More than 2,000 exhibitors attended this year’s HostMilano from over 50 countries such as Italy, Germany, Spain, France, the US, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Turkey, and China. This included some of the coffee industry’s most innovative equipment manufacturers and distributors.

A more powerful superautomatic coffee machine

Pioneering superautomatic coffee machine manufacturer, Carimali, was also exhibiting this year. Roberto Gregis, the marketing manager at Carimali, spoke to Perfect Daily Grind ahead of the event.

“Designing a booth with interactive experiences to showcase the latest trends in the coffee industry was quite challenging,” he said. “However, it’s allowed us to explore and understand shifting market needs on a much deeper level, as well as Carimali’s current role in the market and its future prospects. 

“We look forward to welcoming visitors to our booth, where they will experience unrivalled super-automatic coffee machine technology,” he adds.

Carimali exhibited its CARItower coffee machine, capable of preparing a variety of customised drinks. Increasingly, coffee is becoming just one component of a beverage (that may also include milk, cocoa, and syrups, for example). As such, the ability to serve highly personalised drinks catering to diverse consumer preferences is a significant advantage.

Carimali also showcased its new SilverAce Power coffee machine, specifically designed for high-volume locations which serve up to 400 drinks per day. Integrated into this is the brand’s CARIcream milk system, capable of producing high-quality hot and cold milk foam, as well as preparing up to five drinks simultaneously. 

Induction heating

Newer to the scene, Heylo’s espresso and milk modules were also on display. Having started to roll out at the beginning of this year, many of the attendees were eager to visit this booth.

Heylo uses an induction heating system – which works by passing an electrical current through an induction coil. This process generates an electromagnetic field that heats any conductive material it encounters.

In contrast to conventional boiler systems, this approach allows far greater precision and control over brew parameters like water temperature, pressure and flow, giving baristas the ability to set profiles that perfectly suit any espresso recipe.

In addition, attendees were queuing up to see how Heylo’s modular system worked. In the face of rising costs, being able to add and take away a module is a way to downsize and scale in a more flexible way. In such a volatile market, this approach had clear appeal for many of the companies in attendance.

Technology and design

For the first time, Elektra’s brand-new coffee machine was on display. Elektra is known for producing high-end vintage espresso machines. However, the brand has infused this with a modern approach, combining new technology with design to bring the Elektra Evok.

The machine’s colourful LED lighting was enough to draw in the crowds, and its impressive functionality was enough to make them stick around. On top of their more classic espresso machines, the Evok helped to generate a buzzing stand throughout the entire event.

Ultimately, HostMilano 2023 offered something for everyone. The competitions were varied and brought forward the industry’s best. Meanwhile, the exhibiting brands presented a range of exciting innovations that lay a pathway for the future of the coffee sector.

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Here’s what happened at HostMilano 2023

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