Through our shops, online store and wholesale partnerships, we shared over 70 unique and delicious coffees from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda. Most of these coffees came from the same dedicated and quality-focused producers we’ve been working with for years. Others came from exciting new producers we were introduced to while travelling to taste and select coffees. We fell in love with these stand-out coffees on the cupping table and were excited to introduce them to our line-up this year, with the hope of continuing to feature them in years to come.
For every coffee we purchased and shared, we made a contribution to World Coffee Research (WCR) via their Check Off Program. WCR is an important organisation that uses advanced science to combat and mitigate the impact of climate change on the coffee supply chain.
We also contributed funds and data to the Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide, which aims to create new pricing benchmarks for specialty coffee, moving away from the commodity market towards a more relevant, equitable and transparent model.
This time in Brunswick, in a vibrant and bustling section of Sydney Road. Architectural designer David Goss and his team helped us create this light, calm and serene space with its warm terracotta tiles on the floor and Australian hardwood on the walls. It’s the perfect place to pause and enjoy a coffee in one of our favourite little pockets north of the river.
We also renovated our Prahran Market stall (inside the market) and finalised plans for a bigger renovation of our main (and first ever) shop there. This will be happening in early 2024…watch this space!
We continued our commitment to being a sustainable business.
This was our second full year of being a carbon neutral business, and we continued to focus on reducing our emissions wherever possible and offsetting those we can’t avoid. We piloted a coffee cup recycling station at our Brunswick shop (with more to come in our other shops in 2024)! We recycled over 20,000 Biotre coffee bags with Terracycle. And, in huge news, we transitioned to new coffee bags. There are some significant environmental wins in transitioning to these bags – they are 100% kerbside recyclable, and they’re a lot less resource-intensive than our previous bags, using 86% less fossil fuels and 95% less water, and emitting 83% less CO2.
And we celebrated 1 year of being a B Corp.
As a business, we are constantly looking for ways to improve and progress our business and, in 2023, were proud to mark our first year anniversary as a B-Corp certified company. One of the things we love about the B Corp process is that it is not just a box-ticking exercise – rather, it provides a framework and structure to benchmark our business practices against the best and most sustainably run businesses around the world, and to hold ourselves accountable to our own standards and objectives. This is an iterative and ongoing process and one that we are committed to as we continuously seek to deliver good coffee that is good for everyone.
We continued to walk alongside Children’s Ground.
In 2023, we continued to admire and do all we can to support the crucial work that Children’s Ground does in collaboration with and support of First Nations children, families and communities. We ‘Wore it Yellow’ in our head office during Reconciliation Week, and we donated $1 for every bag of beans we sold during NAIDOC Week. Throughout the year, we also donated all proceeds from our gift-wrapping service, with stunning wrapping paper designed by Goreng Goreng artist Rachael Sarra. Through these initiatives, we raised and donated over $5000 to Children’s Ground.
In addition to our fundraising efforts, the Children’s Ground team led two extraordinary workshops with us, generously sharing their knowledge, expertise and wisdom, with first our management team and then our full team. We also set up a fixed monthly volunteer day with Children’s Ground, and committed to sending two Market Lane team members each month to support them with projects at their head office in Melbourne/Naarm. This is a paid volunteer day for our team members, and another way that we’re able to meaningfully connect with and support this incredible organisation and the work they do.
As well as other fantastic organisations.
In addition to our partnership with Children’s Ground, we were also proud to support other important organisations and community initiatives this year, including Scarf, StreetSmart, Food Bank and the Santa Clara Scholarship Fund. Altogether, we donated over $12,000 to these organisations, as well as hundreds of kilos of coffee to Food Bank.
We held some super fun and engaging team training events.
We hosted friends from afar.
This year, we were thrilled to welcome to Australia Pedro and Léo from Pergamino Coffee, our friends and producing and export partners from Colombia. We've been working with Pergamino since 2016; they help us source all our beautiful Colombian coffees, from their own farms and from small-scale, talented producers. While here, Pedro and Léo visited our shops (and many other local coffee shops), met our team, and gave some fascinating talks about the importance and the challenges of producing specialty coffee in Colombia, generously sharing their knowledge and expertise with Market Lane and our greater coffee community.
We also welcomed Melissa Zelaya – the youngest daughter of our good friend and Guatemalan producing partner, Ricardo Zelaya – who moved to Melbourne/Naarm for three months to work with us. Melissa was given a crash course in Market Lane, and she threw herself into her time here with passion and enthusiasm, working across all our shops, attending meetings and team events, and learning about all aspects of the company (and somehow remembering every single team member’s name)! It was amazing to have Melissa with us, and really special for our team and customers to meet and chat to a member of the Zelaya family, whose beautiful coffees we’ve been offering since we first opened our doors.
We partnered with wonderful, like-minded businesses.
Including Collective Closets, a Melbourne/Naarm-based fashion label we’ve admired for a very long time! We first connected with Collective Closets co-founders Fatuma and Laurinda when we both had shops on Victoria St at Queen Vic Market. We immediately bonded with the dynamic duo over our shared values and, in particular, our deep admiration and appreciation for East African coffee, culture and craftsmanship. This year, we were thrilled to join forces with Collective Closets to create and retail a limited-edition bag made from shúkà fabric sourced from Kenya. It was a joy to collaborate with Fatuma, Laurinda and their team, and to realise our longtime dream of working together as businesses to create and offer something beautiful and useful.
Our Wholesale & Partnerships team had a great year, sharing and supplying coffee to restaurants, cafes and providores across Australia and the globe. We celebrated ten years of partnering with the amazing team at Exchange in Adelaide, nine years supplying coffee to Aesop, Clay and Shortshop, and seven years to Attica and Wild Life. We also began supplying coffee to some exciting new partners, including two of our very special food suppliers, Mietta by Rosemary and Madelaine de Proust, who opened their own shops and began serving our coffee to their customers.
During the year, our Wholesale team hosted two special Leadership in Hospitality events – focused on using business for good, and creating a customer-centric experience – with a phenomenal line-up of panellists, including Ben Shewry (Attica), Marsha Salam (Fairfeed), Simon Schulz (Schulz Dairy), Hannah Green (Etta) and Anthony Ivey (Shortstop). These fascinating events provide fantastic insight into the ways leaders in our industry approach their businesses and think about hospitality, its challenges and potential. What makes these events even more special is that they are attended by likeminded, talented people from our community, including some of our wholesale partners, other small business owners and our team.
We celebrated our community.
We love talking to coffee lovers and creatives about the way they like to drink their coffee, their favourite ways to spend a weekend, and the passions, goals and values that get them of bed in the morning. As part of our new How Do You Brew? series, this year we chatted to Fatuma from Collective Closets and creative duo Claire and Scott about their unique daily coffee ritual and what it means to them. Our Wholesale partners at Antara and Baker Bleu generously chatted to us about their businesses and their values and plans for the future. And we were lucky enough to talk to three of our incredible shop managers – James, Julie and Carmen – about their history working in hospitality, their approach to customer service, and their favourite coffees from our line-up.
Thank you for being part of our journey this year. We can’t wait for 2024!
Thanks to our wonderful community of producers, team members, industry peers and partners, and customers for sharing our passion for quality coffee and for all of your support, enthusiasm and friendship this year.
We can’t wait to see you for a delicious coffee soon! Happy holidays, everyone.