Angus Gibbins | 25 January 2016

ABOUT THE WRITER: As The Hipster Urbanite, Angus Gibbins is an Apple, craft beer and coffee fanboi whose house is littered with Apple devices, coffee cups and beer bottles.

The café is more than a place to grab a coffee, it is also the heart of conversation and culture. And from Australia’s coffee capital of Melbourne, Merlo Coffee is about to open its fifteenth location - their first outside of Queensland.

Merlo first set the standard in hospitality in Tirano, Italy with Luigi Merlo opening an Italian restaurant trattoria next to a bocce court. In the 1950s, Luigi’s son Gino would migrate to Australia, carrying on with the family's hospitality traditions by opening Café Milano on 90 Queen Street in 1960. Brothers Luciano and Gianluigi would join Gino in the café, while grandson Dean balanced working the floor with his university studies. Following the café’s sale in 1969, the family opened Milano Restaurant on Queen Street, setting the benchmark in Queensland hospitality while serving everyone from Pope John Paul II to the Queen. But it would particularly be coffee as his life’s blood where Dean would strike out in establishing his own roots, opening his own café bar and roasting house with Bar Merlo. Here, he would bring a slice of Italian lifestyle to the heart of Queen Street with street dining and so change the way Queenslanders approached the alfresco experience down under. Five bar merlos, nine torrefazione roasting houses and beans served in cafes all across Australia, Merlo Coffee takes on Peel Street in Melbourne’s iconic Queen Victoria Market from February 10.

“After years of planning, our long-term vision is now a reality,” Dean says. “Not only will the famous blue Merlo coffee cups be seen around Melbourne, but we will be roasting beans all day, every day, ensuring our commitment to freshness and authenticity is delivered. We had been wanting to roast in Melbourne for quite a few years now,” Dean notes. “The problem was finding a location that would suit – and the Queen Victoria Markets just on the edge of the CBD is perfect. The wait was certainly worth it."

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