Fleur Studd has been on an incredible journey in the past two years. She’s side-stepped her career in marketing and launched herself into the midst of Melbourne’s fascination with specialty coffee. She’s travelled to far-flung places and learned about harvesting, importing, tasting and roasting, accumulating decades of knowledge in a short time.
The vision she shares with her “director of coffee” Jason Scheltus, a London-trained roaster, is straightforward – they want to micro roast and serve the best coffees from single farms, estates and co-operatives aroundthe world.
The premium beans served at the funky little pour-over bar on the front counter are proving popular. Five single-estate coffees and a seasonal espresso blend are on offer at any one time. Skinny milk, decaf coffee and tea are not. Market Lane Coffee serves only Schulz organic milk from Timboon and the food is limited to a few simple pastries.
Market Lane Coffee is roasting about 100 kilograms of coffee a week; it’s not a lot, but it’s all about quality. Classy extra touches such as the coffee postcards with tasting and growing notes, and the monthly coffee club membership, complete the package and inform and delight customers.
Sure, espresso coffee is on offer at Market Lane Coffee, but go on, try a filter brew. Jason Scheltus can turn out a heart-etched caffe latte with the best of them, but he’s more inclined to the flavours produced at the stainless-steel pour-over bar. Perhaps today a Rwandan Musasa with sparkling acidity, a regularly offered Yirgacheffe with notes of black tea and lemongrass, or, his favourite, a stunning Blackburn Estate from Tanzania, with unmistakable notes of raspberry jam and cocoa.
Market Lane Coffee, Shop 13 Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Road, South Yarra (entrance on Elizabeth Street)
Phone \ 9804 7434
Barista \ Jason Scheltus
Coffee \ Market Lane Coffee
Barista's choice \ Filter coffee
Open \ Tuesday-Saturday 7am-5pm; Sunday 9am-3pm
This light-filled farmhouse-meets-warehouse café, tucked in the back corner of Prahran Market, has been lovingly brought to life by a pair of coffee obsessives. Timber tables and benchtops that wrap around the windows are recycled from an old home. Pre-loved metal chairs work nicely on the cool, beige floor and glossy white wall tiles add polish. Timber crates and shelves in the corner are loaded with bags of brightly labelled beans for sale. They’re snapped up by shoppers who wander through for a quick pit stop. Most go for the autumn espresso blend – a combo of Brazilian and Rwandan beans. It’s rich and sweet, with notes of blackcurrant and cuts through the rich, full-cream organic milk.