This month, Market Lane Coffee turns ten. It has been an incredible decade.
When we founded Market Lane in 2009, our mission was simple: we wanted to sustainably source, roast and share exceptional coffees, and celebrate the incredible stories of the people behind them. We also wanted to make great coffee accessible and exciting, easy to understand and appreciate, and simple to brew and enjoy.
The coffee industry in Australia has changed radically over the past decade. Ten years ago, finding fresh, traceable, high quality coffee was practically impossible. We wanted to help address that and, in doing so, ignite positive change in the industry by redefining what coffee is and can be, and to build a market for, and appreciation of, specialty coffee. This is important to us because the more demand there is for high quality coffee, the better off the producers will be, and the more sustainable the coffee supply chain will become.
Our first shop and roastery is located in the wonderful, bustling Prahran Market. We fell in love with this location for many reasons, the most important being that it allows us to engage with a community of shoppers who are seeking out quality produce, and who care about seasonality and provenance. From there, we have slowly grown to six shops, each located in very special neighbourhoods – from Carlton to the Queen Victoria Market, South Melbourne to the ‘Paris end’ of Collins Street. In each of these locations, we have built meaningful, ongoing relationships with the area’s unique community, and we’ve made hundreds of beautiful coffees for thousands of wonderful customers.
From the beginning, our sole focus has been exceptional coffee. And from the outset, we have been committed to quality, transparency, sustainability and using business for good.
These principles have a real impact on the way we buy coffee, the people we work with, and how we run our business.
We have built long-term and meaningful relationships with passionate coffee producers, and have been lucky to work with them year after year. (Some of them – like Ricardo Zelaya from Santa Clara in Guatemala (pictured above with Fleur), and Sam and Epiphanie of Buf Coffee in Rwanda (pictured below with Jenni) – have been supplying us with beautiful coffees since the beginning!) These producers’ dedication, hard work and unwavering commitment to quality – and to supporting their local communities – blows us away every time we visit them, and reinforces all the reasons we do what we do. It makes us even more determined to celebrate and showcase their coffees, and to share their stories. We know our job is done when a customer gets excited to see a specific coffee on the shelves, or asks us when it will be back.
Here in Melbourne, we have been lucky to work with some incredible people. From day one right up to today, we have had an amazing team of staff, who are warm, thoughtful and passionate, and who help us create a supportive and positive work environment. Several of our alumni have gone on to open fantastic businesses of their own, including Shortstop Coffee and Donuts, Wild Life Bakery, Altius Coffee Brewers and Momento Brewers in Seoul (all of whom serve our coffee), as well as Acoffee, Monday’s Coffee, and Holybelly in Paris.
We’ve also had the opportunity to work with quality-focused local producers, including Schulz Organic Dairy, Mörk Chocolate, Tivoli Road Bakery, Beatrix, Annie Smithers, Damian Pike and Campbell Burton, to name a few. And we’ve been fortunate to work with many talented creative people, too, including Sarah Trotter, Scott Larritt, Abigail Varney, Mel Stapleton, Claire Larritt-Evans, Armelle Habib, Orio Randi, Abigail Ulman, Nigel Ewart, Julia Stewart, Roberta Gartland, Elnaz Nourizadeh, Michael Pavlou, Linsey Rendell, and Asuka Mew and Anna Miller-Yeaman. We’ve also loved having our coffee showcased in some of the best cafes in Australia and the world, and we’ve relished the opportunity to work with many of our food heroes.
Ultimately, we feel so lucky to have friendships and supply relationships that have blossomed locally and internationally via Market Lane. These relationships bring true meaning to what we do, and they’re what gets us out of bed in the morning.
Thank you for sharing this journey with us, and for loving beautiful coffee as much as we do. We promise to continue to strive to provide the best coffee there is; to educate and agitate, and to do everything we can to contribute positively to the coffee industry, and to ensure a sustainable and viable future for specialty coffee.
Here’s to the next ten!
– Fleur Studd, Jason Scheltus and Jenni Bryant