Melbourne’s cafes and roasters have been safely keeping customers caffeinated with takeaway coffees and home deliveries since the first lockdown began in March. Now, operators are grappling with even tighter restrictions as Melburnians adjust to life lived almost entirely within five kilometres of home.

Fitzroy roaster Industry Beans has been running a subscription coffee-delivery service for years, but recently launched Espresso Club, which lets customers rent (and eventually own) a cafe-quality coffee machine at home.

“We saw that more and more people were picking up bags of coffee, getting it ground and asking us for advice on how to make it,” says Industry Beans co-founder Trevor Simmons. “Not everyone wants a commercial coffee machine at home, but we also didn’t want to be putting pod machines in everyone’s houses.”

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The team chose De’Longhi’s La Specialista, which has a built-in grinder. Memberships range from $25 to $39 a week, and include enough All Time Espresso beans – a special blend of three single origins – to see you through month.

The welcome pack includes extra beans for experimenting, a countertop “knock box” to dump used grinds in, and a reusable cup. Plus, you can add extras such as hot chocolate or chai mixes, and opt out after six months with no fee (or three months if you sign up before the end of November). After two years, you’ll own the machine outright.

“It was a spark moment where we were like, let’s add a coffee machine into a subscription model without locking [people] in for life,” says Simmons.

You’ll also get access to training videos, and Industry Beans team members are available to chat online seven days a week. If you get really stuck – or just want to chat coffee – you can book in a phone call with a roaster or pop into the store for advice (restrictions permitting).

Market Lane also has a new contact-free option: a coffee-bean vending machine outside its East Brunswick roastery.

The newly installed sleek black machine is stocked with 250-gram and one-kilo bags of small-batch coffee beans (freshly roasted for filter or espresso brewing), plus filter papers.

“We dreamt up this vending machine when we moved into our new roastery in early March,” says Market Lane director Fleur Studd, who co-founded the business with Jason Scheltus. It currently has seven outposts in Melbourne.

“We loved the idea of people being able to come our roastery and being able to load up on coffee beans or filter papers at any time of day,” she says.

Well, between 5am and 8pm for now.

You can join the Industry Beans Espresso Club from anywhere in Australia from $25 per month, plus a minimum refundable security deposit of $79 for the machine. Membership is a minimum of three months if you sign up before the end of November, or six months after that. Sign up here.

Market Lane Roastery’s coffee vending machine is at 126 Weston Street, Brunswick East. More information on Market Lane’s Espresso Club can be found online.

industrybeans.com
marketlane.com.au