Market Lane Coffee at Queen Victoria Market brings the specialty roaster’s signature brews to a wide audience.
No skinny! No soy! An awkward (and regular) conversation for the Market Lane baristas, with nearby Queen Victoria Market supplying a steady stream of skinny-latte-seeking-shoppers.
Those requests are knocked back graciously, maybe with the suggestion that you consider drinking your coffee black, or enjoy the lush milk coffee that Market Lane brews with Schulz milk, from a small biodynamic, organic farm in Victoria’s south-west.
The point of the milk choices (or lack thereof) stems from a dedication to quality produce with a known provenance and a relationship to the farmer. It’s an ethos that runs right down the line; bean acquisition is backed by sister operation Melbourne Coffee Merchants, sourced through origin visits that depend on long-term relationships with coffee farmers, mills and co-ops in Africa, Central and South America before careful roasting at their Prahran headquarters.
This may be their third site (you can get it here, there, and at their cute hole-in-the-wall spot in Carlton) but it’s the full Market Lane deal – seasonal espresso (perhaps a blend of Illimani from Bolivia and Ruli from Rwanda) for milk-based coffee, a single origin for black espresso and a menu of single origins for V60 filter brews.
Fruity aromas jump right out of a short black of Rwanda Mbilima. It’s bright and clean, but has heaps of body, with lovely citrussy fruit and brown sugar sweetness. This one really strikes the balance between fruit-forward roasting and delicious espresso texture – it’s a cracker.
The filter menu might feature a Bolivia Nicolas Colque that’s honey-sweet, nutty and silky smooth with gentle cherry fruit , or a Kenya Kainamui (tasting notes: blackcurrant, honey).
A pourover of Rwanda Muduha is clean and simple – stone fruit nectar and light brown sugar/caramel sweetness … even some Caramello Bear aroma as it cools. It’s quite different from the blackcurrant fruit and floral aromas of coffee from some of its African neighbours.
The place is buzzing on market days, and the mood is a little bit under-the-arches: two simple rooms of whitewashed brick and polished concrete. Seating is at a premium: a couple of timber benches squeezed into wall nooks, one stand-up table. The acoustics are a little sharp (excellent if you’re a keen eavesdropper though), but for most coffee-seekers this is a brief in-out affair: no one’s here for the sound quality.
There’s the usual smart display of beans for home, brew gear and other accessories, while food is limited to a tiny but tasty selection of sweet bites – get your caffeine hit here then head to market to load up on edible supplies.
Market Lane Coffee
Where 109–111 Therry Street, Melbourne
When Mon–Thur 7am–4pm, Fri–Sat 7am–5pm, Sun 8am–5pm