The northside branch of Market Lane Coffee is a tiny room in Faraday Street, Carlton. A few seats on the footpath (finally installed after a long “process” with the local council) and a bench inside make this one of the most intimate and neighbourly of Melbourne coffeehouses.
With room for only two grinders, the offer is limited to espresso brews of Market Lane’s seasonal blend, and pourovers of three or four single origins – mostly from Africa, Central America and South America.
Market Lane specialises in relationship specialty coffee, sourcing high-grade green beans from farmers, co-ops, mills and washing stations. You might get an El Salvador Miravalle from the foothills of the Santa Ana volcano, or a Rwandan Muduha, a red bourbon variety from a group of 50 or so farmers in the Rushashi district.
A pourover of Kenya Kainamui, from a washing station in the Kirinyaga district, is bright and juicy, a vibrant coffee with hints of blackcurrant and easy florals. It’s a bright, clean, juicy coffee in true Market Lane style.
No soy, please
The seasonal espresso blend – maybe a mix of Guatemala Santa Clara and El Salvador Clarinero – is delicious in milk, while in a short black it has nutty and cherry aromas, clean, orange fruit and a hint of sweet chocolate to finish.
There are Market Lane beans for home brewing and a good selection of V60, Aeropress and pouring kettles to brew them with.
There’s no soy milk and no skinny milk – just full-cream organic, which is part of Market Lane’s purist approach to coffee. And there’s no food, either – though Baker D Chirico next door has plenty of coffee-friendly cakes and pastries.
Market Lane Coffee
Where 176 Faraday Street, Carlton
When Mon–Sat 7am–4pm, Sun 8am–4pm