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our story

OUR PHILOSOPHY

Merlo Coffee began more than 29 years ago with a simple philosophy — freshly roasted coffee served by passionate people.

Our philosophy has never changed. We take great care in sourcing the highest quality coffee beans from around the world and roast daily so that our customers can enjoy their coffee at its best — fresh and full of flavour.

Our staff are friendly, knowledgeable and skillfully trained. So whether your Merlo comes to you as a morning takeaway or a delivery of beans to your café, everyone from our roasting, barista and service teams, are dedicated to providing the best coffee and service every time.

Italian inspired Australian

Coffee is woven into the Merlo family history, originating in Luigi Merlo’s Trattoria in Tirano, Italy. In 1950, Luigi set out to make a new life for his family in Australia, starting in the cane fields of Mackay before moving to Brisbane in 1958.

It was in Brisbane that Luigi’s eldest son Gino continued the family tradition of hospitality, opening Café Milano in the Queen St Mall in 1960. The centerpiece of his café was a gleaming La San Marco espresso machine, the very first of its kind in Queensland.  With this machine, Gino introduced Queensland to the European tradition of espresso as the perfect end to a meal.

Café Milano was a great success and enabled Gino to move on to creating another Queensland first — a silver service restaurant, also called Milanos, which would play host to such luminaries as Queen Elizabeth II and Pope John Paul II.

It was here that Gino taught his son — and our founder – Dean all he knows about the art of hospitality. Warm service, high standards and of course, how to craft the perfect espresso.

Espresso bar to roasting house

The Merlo Coffee you know today began as a small CBD espresso bar in 1992.

With a passion for hospitality and inspired by his travels throughout Europe and the US after university, Dean Merlo wanted to bring the unique and vibrant espresso bar experience home.

Struggling to source the best quality beans for his cafe, Dean opened the first Merlo Coffee Torrefazione (Italian roasting house) in 1996. Here he was able to create the quality coffee blends and roasting profiles he had been searching for.

From the Torrefazione, Merlo began selling freshly roasted coffee to other cafés and restaurants, as well as direct to the public to meet the growing desire for café quality coffee at home.

SOURCING, BLENDING & ROASTING

The process of sourcing, roasting and blending coffee is an important journey requiring painstaking attention. Beginning with sourcing the highest quality beans from around the world, care is taken in every step of the process.

Merlo Coffee has created seven unique blends each with distinctive flavours, and carry nine single origin beans to suit a broad range of tastes. We also source limited edition offerings – special, small lot, high grade coffees including those we serve up through our Bean of the Month program.

As a member of the board of the Australian Coffee Traders Association and the Australian Speciality Coffee Association (AASCA), Merlo Coffee is dedicated to ensuring quality control in every aspect of our coffee production.

We also support the Rainforest Alliance sustainable coffee program, which ensures that the high quality beans you purchase are produced in harmony with wildlife to maintain healthy ecosystems.

RETAIL, WHOLESALE & ONLINE

Today, Merlo is proud to be one of Australia’s leading independently owned and operated coffee roasters.

In addition to supplying the public and our own 13 Merlo stores with freshly roasted coffee every day, we also supply more than 1,500 cafes and restaurants throughout Australia. We work hard to ensure that every business serving Merlo receives the freshest coffee for their customers.

Online ordering has made it possible for us to deliver our beans to every part of the country and around the world. 

Working with us

Merlo People

Merlo Coffee is built on a culture of hard work, good fun and great customer service.

We are always looking for people with a passion for these principles to join our crew.

Professional training and development is available for all of our staff and we identify potential and strongly support ongoing education.

Many of our valued staff members have been with the company since it began. The greatest example of this is our CEO, James Wilkinson.

Starting in the packing department in 1999, James has moved from filling orders through our Wholesale and Retail operations, climbing all the way to the top.

If you think you’d make a good addition to the Merlo family, please get in touch.

Environmental awareness

Doing our part

Even though Merlo is all blue, we strive to be green wherever we can. Our BioPak takeaway cups are made of paper sustainably sourced from managed plantations and are printed with soy & water based inks

Our Alto blend, Brazilian single origin and Decaf all come from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms which are managed according to rigorous environmental, social and economic criteria.

We encourage the use of a KeepCup for takeaway coffees. Buy one from us and we’ll give your first coffee free and a discount for every coffee in your KeepCup after that!

Bring your 200g or 400g coffee tin back in for a refill and we’ll give you a $1 discount.

Our Community

August 13, 2021

Grab a cupcake and support The Common Good

The Ekka may be cancelled this year, but we are bringing the strawberry and cream experience to you in the form of specially baked cupcakes!...

July 18, 2021

Meet Simon – Merlo’s Coffee Expert

Simon Brooks has been with Merlo for over 16 years. He is our Head of Roasting and Distribution as well as a fully qualified Q...

Merlo Community
April 23, 2021

2021 Superheroes for Sycamore School Day

The staff in our retail stores will be wearing their superhero outfits to celebrate “Superheroes for Sycamore School Day” on Friday April 30.

Our People

My Coffee mezzo mezzo

Dean Merlo

Founder

My Coffee mezzo mezzo

James Wilkinson

CEO

My Coffee mezzo mezzo

David Holt

General Manager

My Coffee long macchiato

Jon Dowling

Chief Financial Officer

My Coffee latte

Simon Brooks

Head of Coffee

My Coffee mezzo mezzo

Louisa Shaw

Head of Retail

My Coffee mezzo mezzo

Troy Ryan

Head of Sales

My Coffee long black with hot milk

Jennifer Brock

Head of IT

My Coffee cold drip

Lauren McGrath

Customer Service Manager

My Coffee flat white

Sera Potaka-Osborne

HR Business Partner

My Coffee mezzo mezzo

Steve Olorenshaw

Chief Roaster

My Coffee mezzo mezzo

Tony Alo

Roaster

My Coffee Kenyan Long Black

Chantel Morton

Roaster

My Coffee latte

Aaron Schreder

National Business Development Manager

My Coffee mezzo mezzo

Reuben Aiono

Business Development Manager

My Coffee mezzo mezzo

Glenn May

Senior Account Manager

My Coffee double shot flat white

Lauren Jackson

Senior Account Manager

My Coffee long black

Kayla Leslie

Account Manager

My Coffee double shot latte

Frank Fuchs

Account Manager

My Coffee oat latte

Kate Christensen

Account Manager

My Coffee long black

Lauryn Cartwright

Customer Care Coordinator

My Coffee long black

Vanessa Sheen

Wholesale Trainer (Maternity Leave)

My Coffee cold drip

Lauren McGrath

Customer Service Manager

My Coffee dirty chai

Emily King

Customer Service Team Leader

My Coffee latte

Isabella Nakos