What to look out for at Milan Coffee Festival 2023

Ben Mitchell speaks with Luciano Bramante to explore what’s in store at Milan Coffee Festival 2023.

Italy’s biggest coffee event is set to return in under a week, offering three days of exhibitions, competitions, educational sessions, and more.

Between December 2 and 4, the annual event will welcome thousands of attendees, including qualified hospitality buyers and decision-makers from the coffee, hospitality and food service industries. 

The eagerly anticipated sixth edition of Milan Coffee Festival will be hosted at the Superstudio Più venue.

Given the extensive lineup, we’ve put together a guide showcasing the highlights of Milan Coffee Festival 2023.

Skills will be put to the test at Roast Masters

With a brand new format, Roast Masters makes a triumphant return to Milan Coffee Festival 2023.

In this year’s competition, roasters will participate in four rounds (qualifying rounds, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the final). They will compete in eight disciplines:

1. Espresso Presentation: Roasters have 12 minutes to present an espresso from their coffee portfolio.

2. Cupping Table: Competitors create a roast profile of a mystery single origin coffee using the Stronghold S7 Pro sample roaster, with judging based on taste and flavour.

3. Espresso Smackdown: Roasters enter light and medium roast single origins and a blend in head-to-head competitions.

4. Order Challenge: Competitors prepare 10 drinks listed on a given order within 9 minutes, judged on balance, extraction, mouthfeel and handling.

5. Latte Art Showdown: Roasters pour latte art based on an assigned shape, with appearances judged.

6. Brew Face-Off: Roasters present a filter roast from their portfolio, judged on taste, presentation, and showmanship.

7. Signature Drink: Roasters create a signature beverage in 12 minutes using mystery ingredients, judged on taste, creativity, professionalism, presentation and showmanship.

8. Espresso Blend: Roasters craft a bespoke espresso blend using mystery single origin coffees, presenting an espresso and cappuccino for evaluation.

Competitors will be roasting live – with the pressure of the crowd and no room for mistakes. They will be using the small-batch electric roaster from Stronghold, the S7 Pro.

The winner will be crowned Roast Masters MCF 2023 champion and take home a €2500 cash prize.

Get involved with Latte Art Live

Despite the rise of cutting-edge milk-frothing technology, latte art continues to be a revered skill in the coffee industry.

Latte Art Live at Milan Coffee Festival 2023 will include workshops, masterclasses, and one-on-one competitions, all dedicated to celebrating the highly sought-after craft.

Featuring world-renowned latte artists, this interactive zone allows visitors to watch and participate in hands-on workshops and demonstrations – where they can learn the skills required to create beautiful latte art designs.

The three-day programme includes daily latte art throwdowns and lessons on achieving exceptional results with plant milks.

Milan Coffee Festival 2023 will bring together Italy's best roasters

Italy’s finest roasters at Milan Coffee Festival 2023

As with previous events, the Roasters Village continues to be a staple – gathering the finest specialty coffee roasters Italy has to offer in one place.

As the room fills with the smell of roasted coffee, and the soothing hiss of steam wands meets the hum of conversation, attendees are encouraged to sample and explore what the local coffee community has to offer.

Some roasters present at Milan Coffee Festival 2023 include: Cortinovis Coffee, Etna Roaster, Gust Coffee Roasters, Picapau Coffee Roastery, Pizzicoffee, Wide Awake Coffee

This stands to be an important weekend for Milan’s coffee scene on a wider scale, too. Many businesses across the city will be gearing up for three days of welcoming people eager to explore the thriving local specialty coffee scene. For example, Nowhere Coffee Roasters intend to make the most of the three days.

“We’ll have a booth in the Roasters Village as we did last year,” says Luciano Bramante co-founder of Nowhere Coffee Roasters. “We’ll also host a few events in our brand new coffee shop, such as public cupping and crowdfunding in order to support a Colombian coffee farm.”

“The crowdfunding campaign is being organised by The Coffee Quest, green coffee importers that are good friends of ours and that we buy a lot of green from.”

This demonstrates the wider impact an event like Milan Coffee Festival can have, both locally and beyond. It not only offers attending brands a chance to gain visibility and coffee professionals to explore the latest innovations in the sector, but it also serves as an opportunity for the host country to demonstrate the kind of coffee community it has and the values it upholds.

“During a festival like this one, we try to focus on coffee and sustain initiatives like the one with The Coffee Quest,” says Luciano.

And as Milan Coffee Festival continues to grow and scale, so too will the opportunities it generates for the wider coffee community.

“I’m happy to see that Milan Coffee Festival is growing year after year, attracting new foreign professionals to come to Italy and contributing to the overall European coffee scene.”

What to look out for at Milan Coffee Festival 2023

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