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Melbourne International Coffee Expo


After opening their first Melbourne-based Torrefazione roasting house in 2016, Queensland-based Merlo Coffee are now set to debut at MICE! We were intrigued to learn more about the Merlo story from Head of Operations Simon Brooks, who is also the Head of Cupping and a qualified Q Grader.

Q: How did Merlo Coffee first start out? 
A: Merlo Coffee was founded in 1992 by Dean Merlo in the Brisbane CBD. Inspired by his travels through Europe and the US after university, Dean wanted to bring the true espresso bar experience home. With a strong hospitality background, he opened the first vibrant espresso bar that Brisbane had ever really seen. A few years later in 1996 after struggling to source the best quality beans for his café, he opened the first Merlo Coffee Torrefazione (Italian roasting house) where he was able to create the quality coffee blends and roasting profiles that he was searching for. The Company now runs 16 of its own stores and supplies beans to over 1500 wholesale customers across Australia.

Q: If you could have a cup of coffee with one famous person past or present, who would you choose?
A: I’d love to meet Barack Obama and Bill Gates would be interesting to talk to, but Jerry Seinfeld would be awesome for a laugh – I’d love to be part of his “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” series.

Q: Best food pairing with coffee? 
A: I prefer to have coffee by itself personally, but if I had to choose – I’d go for a really fresh Italian biscotti.

Q: Favourite holiday destination when not busy roasting? 
A: Italy in summer because you can’t beat the culture, food and wine.

Q: All time favourite coffee experience? 
A: Visiting coffee producers in Colombia where I visited a seeding nursery, met the farmers and visited the Port of Beunaventura. Being able to see the Origin process from beginning to end gives you a real appreciation for the bean we all work so hard to do justice to!

Staying true to their origins of providing quality espresso, Merlo Coffee are set to make their MICE debut by taking over a slot on the brand-new MICE Espresso Bar! Click here to get your tickets.