In Their Residence with Fleur Studd of Market Lane Coffee

6 min read

We spoke to one of the most influential women in the Melbourne coffee scene and co-owner of Market Lane Coffee, Fleur Studd, about her beautiful Fitzroy North home and, of course, all things coffee!

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Market Lane Coffee, Collins Street - Photo Armelle Habib

What inspired you to start Market Lane and how did you start out?

I started drinking coffee at university, but I didn't appreciate its potential until I was in my early twenties, living in London and frequenting an incredibly special roastery and coffee shop, 'Monmouth Coffee' in Borough Market. Until that point, I thought all coffee just tasted like 'coffee' and that the only secret to a good one was probably the barista behind the machine. As I worked my way through Monmouth's diverse list of single estate filter coffees, I began to appreciate how origin, variety and processing impact a coffee's flavour — this got me excited!

After returning to Australia, I discovered that while the local coffee and café culture was well-established and thriving, access to high-quality, fresh and traceable coffee beans was virtually impossible. Coffee was treated as a commodity, and the Australian industry was dominated by a few large commercial green coffee suppliers.

So, with some incredible mentors, I learnt to taste and evaluate coffee professionally. In 2008, I set up Melbourne Coffee Merchants and began selling specialty green coffee to quality-focused roasters around Australia.

I travelled overseas to source the very best coffees I could find. I focused on building long-term, sustainable relationships with the people that produced them, many of whom we are fortunate to still work with today.

In 2009, I co-founded Market Lane Coffee with my business partner, Jason Scheltus (a fellow Melburnian who had worked at Monmouth Coffee). Our first shop and roastery were at the Prahran Market. Today, we have six shops located in our favourite pockets of Melbourne, as well as a busy online store and a roastery in Brunswick East, and a fantastic team of more than fifty people, including our third co-owner Jenni Bryant.

The goal of both Melbourne Coffee Merchants and Market Lane has always been to ignite positive change in the coffee industry by reinventing what coffee is and can be. Both businesses take an uncompromising approach to quality, and sustainable and socially responsible sourcing is at the very core of what we do. We seek to celebrate the provenance of our coffees and share the stories of the people and communities behind them. Our goal is to make great coffee accessible, exciting, and easy to understand and appreciate.

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Market Lane Coffee, Coventry Street - Photo Armelle Habib

Your stores are in iconic/historic precincts of Melbourne; what does a location with history mean to you and Market Lane?

"Each of our shops is located in a neighbourhood that we love, and the community that has grown around each one is warm, friendly and unique.

Many of our shops are connected to Melbourne's best food markets — our first shop and roastery were located at Prahran Market. We also have two shops at Queen Victoria Market and one opposite South Melbourne Market. We love the energy of these bustling Melbourne institutions, and we're grateful for the opportunity to serve coffee to the passionate community of customers that frequent them.

We also have a shop at the leafy 'Paris end of Collins Street in the CBD, in a beautiful historic building called Portland House, and a tiny shop located in the front room of a two-storey terrace in Faraday Street, Carlton (right next door to one of our favourite bakeries, Baker D Chirico). Each of our shops looks and feels very different, as their design responds to the heritage of the buildings they are in, and the area's history. We have been lucky to work with Sarah Trotter of Hearth Studios in all of our spaces.

She has helped us create shops that consider design, encourage interaction and engagement with our team, and provide a warm and welcoming place to pause and enjoy a great coffee. In designing our shops and filling our shelves, we have also worked with local artists, ceramicists, writers and designers whose work we love and are excited to showcase.


Market Lane Coffee, Faraday Street

Market Lane has an excellent ethos; how has the business transformed and adapted since you started?

From the beginning, we've been committed to quality, transparency, sustainability, and using business for good. These principles haven't changed since we opened our doors; they have had a real impact on all of our decisions, and they inform the way we buy coffee, the people we work with and how we run Market Lane.

As a business, we strive to do good by sourcing exceptional coffees in a sustainable, responsible, and respectful way; by valuing and seeing every single member of our team as individuals and helping them flourish; by operating with integrity and transparency; and by always striving to do things better. Over the last couple of years, many of our efforts have been focused on reducing our environmental impact — we have installed solar panels on our roastery and rolled out compostable packaging and returnable bean canisters and cups in our shops. By the end of 2021, we will be 100% Carbon Neutral, and in the next 12 months, we hope to be certified, B Corp.

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Fleur Making Coffee At Home — Photo Joel Noon

Tell us more about the Brunswick East vending machine. Will we see more pop up around Melbourne?

The Japanese vending machine culture has long inspired us; it's fantastic! When we built our new roastery in Brunswick East, we decided to put a vending machine out the front to share coffee with our neighbourhood.

We loved the idea of people being able to come to our roastery at any time of day or night to stock up on freshly roasted coffee beans or last-minute filter papers for their brewers.

It's been amazing to see how many people in the area use and love the vending machine. You might see more popping up around Melbourne. Watch this space!


Brunswick East Vending Machine — Photo Abigail Varney

What is your current favourite item in stock at Market Lane?

For many years, we have drunk pour-over filter coffee at home, and this is still my favourite way to brew and enjoy coffee, but recently we bought a Moccamaster for our house, and I love it! We have two young kids at home, and often the mornings are pretty chaotic as we try to get ourselves ready for work and school. The Moccamaster has made brewing a delicious filter coffee super quick and easy. We now also stock them at Market Lane.

Coffee-wise, we have some beautiful coffees in our current line-up from Ethiopia, Kenya, Brazil, and Guatemala. I love the Jojo Estate from Kenya, produced by a single farm with which we have just started working. This coffee is bright, juicy, and incredibly sweet — it makes me happy when I drink it!


Fleur's Moccamaster At Home

Describe your style for us:

"Simple, clean lines, comfortable... a little bit of mid-century."


Fleur's Fitzroy North Home, Living Room — Photo Joel Noon

What drew you to live in the Inner North?

I have spent most of my adult life in Carlton — I lived there as a uni student, and then, after a stint overseas, I moved back to Carlton with my partner Simon. We lived very close to Market Lane's Faraday Street shop and loved being central and close to many great spots; Carlton Gardens, Readings, Carlton Wine Rooms, Donatis, Lune, Marion—the list goes on!

We lived in a small terrace in Carlton and had our first child there, but when I was pregnant with our second, we decided to look for somewhere with a bit more space. We have always loved North Fitzroy and the community around there. We fell in love with the location of our house and its proximity to the Edinburgh Gardens.


Fleur In Her Fitzroy North Home — Photo Joel Noon

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Fleur's Fitzroy North Home, Kitchen — Photo Joel Noon

Your renovation is meticulous; how was the process?

We renovated our house with the help of Sarah Trotter of Hearth Studio and David Goss and Hamish Collins of Studio Goss. I have known and worked with Sarah for many years on the design of our coffee shops, and I love and trust her aesthetic. She selected all the finishes in the space and brought warmth, texture and cohesion to the design. David has a meticulous eye for detail and has an uncanny ability to zoom out and conceptualise everything in its entirety. Every junction was considered and refined.

He's a perfectionist and cares a lot, but he's also pragmatic, and he helped us find great workarounds to building challenges. Together, they were a dream team! They understood our brief and helped us build a home that we love.

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Fleur's Fitzroy North Home, Hallway — Photo Joel Noon


Fleur's Fitzroy North Home, Outdoors — Photo Joel Noon


Fleur's Fitzroy North Home, Bathroom — Photo Joel Noon

What are your favourite elements of the design?

We love cooking and entertaining, so considerable time and thought were put into our kitchen and living area.

We are so excited about the way our sunken living room turned out. It creates a greater sense of volume and is the space where we spend the most time. We also love that we sit at eye level with our garden, designed by Amanda Oliver, which is starting to come to life right now. Now that we live here, I understand the term 'forever home'. I never want to move! We love it here, and so do our kids. It's a fantastic feeling.

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Fleur's Fitzroy North Home, Kitchen Overlooking Sunken Living Room — Photo Joel Noon


Fleur In Her Fitzroy North Home — Photo Joel Noon

Keep up to date with the latest from Fleur and Market Lane Coffee via their Instagram page.

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