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Meet our Managers: Carmen

Meet our Managers: Carmen

If you’re a customer at our Faraday St shop, you’ll likely be familiar with the talented, positive, indefatigable Carmen, who started out at Market Lane in 2019 and now manages our sweet little Carlton shop with precision, warmth, attentiveness, and seemingly endless amounts of energy!


Carmen has worked across several Market Lane locations, and used to co-manage our Prahran shop. She has also worked in the fashion and wine industries and, alongside her work at Market Lane, she now runs a burgeoning bagel business.

“Carmen has boundless, infectious energy,” says Holly from our HR team. “She’s passionate about her job and she executes every detail with close attention, empathy and a can-do attitude – making sure her customers receive the coffee they love at the highest quality and as fast as possible, and ensuring her team members and her shop space have everything they need.

“The fantastic James managed the Carlton shop for many years before Carmen became its custodian. And she has continued his legacy of creating community bonds and nurturing customer relationships with ease, generosity and so much care.”

We chatted with the wonderful Carmen about her history with Market Lane, her most loved coffee origin, and her favourite places to spend time in Carlton when she’s not at the shop.

Market Lane Coffee: How did you get started at Market Lane?

Carmen: I started studying wine a few years ago and, after a long stint in Japan, my interest evolved from wine to coffee. When I arrived home in 2019, I applied at Market Lane (I basically hassled them till I finally got an interview)! This was my first job in coffee. I started off at the Vic Market Deli Hall and then settled full-time at Prahran for a few years. I had a short hiatus living overseas where I basically just camped and hiked around the South Island of New Zealand. When I decided to return home to Melbourne, I really wanted to work for Market Lane again. I was so happy they welcomed me back! I now manage the Faraday St, Carlton shop. 

What do you love about Melbourne’s hospitality scene?

Melbourne has such an incredible and supportive hospitality community. I feel so lucky to be a part of such a thriving and creative industry. I’ve met so many wonderful people from all walks of life. I’m really lucky to have such a great community of regular customers in Carlton that make my job really interesting on a daily basis.

What do you value the most in a great hospitality venue? 

When you can tell a venue has a positive energy and all the staff are happy to be there and give great service because of that. I also appreciate the finer details that go into hospitality venues, anything from music set-ups and curated record collections to beautiful custom designed furniture that complements the space. 

Who or what inspires you with food and beverage?

I’m most inspired by people who are passionate and knowledgeable about their craft, whether it be coffee, wine or food. Josh from Brico is one example. He is a wealth of knowledge on all things wine and beverage, and I love going for a drink at his venue and hearing about the extremely thought-out beverage list that showcases so many unique producers. 

Do you have a favourite coffee or coffee producer?

Honestly, it’s ever-evolving but if I had to choose it would be coffee produced in Rwanda. Rwandan coffee is quite unique in its bright acidity, medium body and sweet citrus fruit notes. We recently had an amazing coffee produced in the Northern Province by Victoria Mukamurenzi. That was my favourite coffee of the year so far. 

How do you like to spend your days off?

I usually try to be active or get out of the city for a bit. I really appreciate camping, bike riding, hiking and, when winter comes, I spend most my weekends in the mountains. Some weekends are spent developing and working on Masses Bagels, a small business that my partner and I have created. 

What are your favourite spots to visit around the Faraday St shop?

Carlton is such a diverse area, so it depends on what mood I’m in and the time of day. If I’m in the mood for something sweet, I’ll head down to Good Measure, they have the best almond cake! Around the corner from us is a really cool place called Sunhands. They have really great, fresh sandwiches and rotating wholesome salads. I love the ham and pickle sandwich; it’s made on Akimbo sourdough bread and is never disappointing. For after work, my personal favourite is Brico, which I already mentioned. And then there our neighbours at Carlton Wine Room, an institution in the area, where I challenge anyone to have a bad meal because I honestly believe it can’t be done!



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