2023 Customer Survey Summary

Published 10 Oct 2023

Our goal at Melbourne Coffee Merchants is simple: we want to be the best! In terms of our offerings, service, relationships and communications, our team works hard to deliver excellence through responsible and transparent practices that prioritise people over profit. 

To achieve this goal, we rely on insights and input from our roasting community to help us continuously improve and progress our business and develop and maintain strong relationships at both ends of the supply chain. We recently asked you to share your thoughts via our 2023 Customer Survey, and we’re extremely grateful to everyone who contributed — thank you for the honest feedback and insights that you shared!

In response to your thoughtful replies, we’re sharing some of the areas we’re working on to improve existing or establish new practices. Check them out below and then read on for a summary of the trends we saw from our customer’s feedback. 


  • In August 2022, we became one of a handful of Australian coffee businesses with a B Corp certification. As we work towards our recertification in 2025, we are exploring ways to further improve our environmental practices, including becoming a climate certified business and switching our sample bags to a more sustainable product. 
  • Over the course of 2023, we’ve moved our internal inventory system to a cloud-based platform and built out more efficient reporting and planning capabilities. This includes better tracking for our on-hand and incoming coffee inventory and more accurate, real-time stock updates for our customers.
  • We’ve introduced more efficiencies into our supply chain, including landing coffee into Perth and Sydney warehouses. While we’re in the early stages of exploring these avenues, we are hoping to grow the volume of what we land in other ports (than Melbourne), with the goal of saving in freight costs and limiting delivery delays for our customers. 
  • In July 2023 we welcomed our newest team member, Lemara, to focus solely on domestic and international logistics. This move will enable us to streamline our operations and continuously investigate better logistics and freight options to improve on our customer’s experience. 
  • In tandem to creating a logistics-focused position, we’re planning to strengthen and invest further in our sales capacities, with the intention of spending more face time with our interstate customers and offering more comprehensive services to new and existing customers. 
  • We’re planning a website redesign in 2024, that will give our customers more direct access to our coffee backgrounds. In the meantime, reach out anytime for more information on our coffees – including our quality assessment for purchased lots, which we are always happy to share.  
  • With global borders reopening and travel becoming easier, we’re back on the road! Since August 2022, we have visited all our producing partners at origin – in many cases, joined by our roasting customers. We’re looking forward to even more travel in 2024 and would love for you to join! 
  • We are also looking forward to several of our supply partners visiting us here, kicking off with Léo and Pedro from our Colombian supply partner, Pergamino, who will be in Australia in late November. Watch this space for more updates! 


Around 30% of our customers responded to the survey — a number we’d love to increase in the future. There were strong trends in the feedback, both for what MCM does well and what our customers would like to see changed or improved. Here, we summarise those trends and provide context for some of the decisions we have made in our business operations.


We were overwhelmed by your kind comments about working with MCM — thank you! Here are some of the areas that many respondents highlighted:

Our quality:

We invest a great deal of time and energy into the quality and consistency of our coffee offerings, which starts with the strong and mutually beneficial relationships we hold at origin. Through our thorough selection process and robust QC program, our goal is to secure our customers coffees that they love and that best suit their requirements, and to provide reliable and truthful recommendations and advice about how to work with our offerings. It’s important to us that our customers trust our quality assessment of the coffees we sell, which is why we are always honest about our coffees, and proactive in managing any quality concerns as they come up.

Our service:

In a market where a diverse and abundant selection of green coffees is available from many suppliers, we recognise that professional, trustworthy and reliable customer service is the keystone to our success. Our goal is to offer personalised and proactive service to our customers, with a flexible and collaborative approach that supports their individual needs. Our team is here to help you find delicious coffees, and to make the process of selecting, ordering and receiving green coffee as easy and satisfying as possible! 

Our transparency and traceability:

We understand that many of our roasting customers are not in the position to pre-commit or travel regularly to origin. Regardless of the point at which you purchase, we offer full traceability on every lot that we sell; detailing where and how it was grown and processed. By providing thorough background information and photography for every one of our offerings, along with stories and insights into the unique challenges and opportunities faced by the producers, we hope to contextualise where our coffees come from and foster meaningful and positive connections between the people who grow and process the coffees, and those that roast and brew them.

Our relationships at origin:

We are fortunate to work directly and independently with exceptional coffee producers who we truly respect and care about. Since establishing MCM in 2008, we have prioritised working with a select group of likeminded producers, who share our values and are committed to quality. Ultimately, the success and longevity of our supply relationships depends on a high level of openness, honesty and trust, and this is something we actively foster. These relationships have benefited us enormously through the tumultuous and volatile market conditions of the last three years and we’ve been able to pass these benefits on to our customers.

Our team:

Many of you commented on how friendly, approachable and inclusive our team is, with customers of all sizes feeling equally taken care of and valued. We believe a great business starts with great people, and we’ve set out to foster a happy and supportive culture at MCM, that allows our team to thrive. We genuinely enjoy spending time together, and we’re delighted that this translates to our customers and suppliers.


Thank you also for the candid and considered feedback we received, which gives us great insight into what our customers are looking for from their green suppliers and how to continuously improve our services. Here, we share some of your constructive comments and address your concerns:

Offer more competitively priced coffees:

Over the last few years, our producing partners have faced many challenges — including increasingly unpredictable and volatile weather, decreased access to labour and resources, and global logistics constraints – contributing to lower yields and increased cost of production across the board. At MCM, we don’t compromise on the quality we source and sell, or the mutually beneficial nature of our supply partnerships. The inevitable result is that we are paying higher prices than ever for high-quality, long-lasting, and traceably sourced coffees. We want to reiterate the value of these coffee lots and justify rather than excuse our higher prices. To this end, we are always happy to open our books for a purchased coffee and explain further how our coffee prices are structured.

We understand that increased coffee prices pose very real and significant challenges to our customers, particularly in such a price sensitive market. To stabilise prices, we’ve adjusted our own margins, and are continuously working to find efficiencies within our own practices and pass any savings onto our customers.

Growing our offerings:

We’ve heard your requests for lower priced blenders, smaller, exclusive nano-lots, coffees from other origins and a decaf option and, rest assured, we’re working on it! We’ve been working hard for the last few years to grow our portfolio through our existing supply networks, introducing high volume value lots from Rwanda, Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala and adding smaller and potentially exclusive rare variety and specially prepared lots to our selection from all of the countries we source from. Historically, we haven’t offered decaf because it’s hard to find an accessibly priced option that meets our quality and traceability requirements. With newer decaffeination methods offering higher quality cup profiles, this is something we’re planning to revisit in 2024.  

It gives us a lot of reward and motivation to hear that our customers would like to source more of their coffees through our business. Having said that, our ethos has always been to keep our business safe, by growing slowly and sustainably: we’d rather source and sell a smaller selection of coffees and do it really, really well, than to grow quickly and compromise our core values and responsible practices. While we’re not ready to introduce another origin to our sourcing program just yet, it’s something we may pursue in the future — and we definitely want to hear from you what you’d like to see on the offer list!

Setting up new supply chains, bringing on new offerings and investing in a more diverse line up comes with inherent risk and cost to our business, so building an understanding of what our customers are excited about is key in us taking these steps. We want to secure our customers the coffees they love, so communicating your requests and requirements clearly and proactively is the best way to achieve this! 

Minimise freight and logistics costs:

We’ve seen freight prices more than double since early 2020, as fewer drivers are available and international factors drive up the cost of fuel. While we can’t control fuel prices, we do actively look for more competitive rates for our customers and try to pass on any efficiencies we can. For regional customers, consolidating pallets with neighbouring roasters is a great way to save on freight costs, and we’re always happy to help coordinate.

Send larger samples, green samples or unsolicited samples:

The bulk of our sales are done before our coffees land, when we share pre-shipment samples (PSS) with customers who historically buy coffee from that region and/or have requested to taste the incoming samples. We receive a limited amount of PSS and try to reach as many customers with it as possible — maximising the potential for coffee sales, and ultimately building a market for our suppliers. For this reason, we typically only send 25g roasted samples at this stage, rather than 100g green samples. We do make an exception for folks who have reserved a specific coffee at the buying stage and are confirming their purchase. For those that have reserved at PSS stage, we are very happy to send landed green samples to cup and confirm once the coffees have arrived. 

To save on samples, time and resources for our team we do not send unsolicited samples. You can reach out anytime to request samples or register interest in a specific origin, coffee lot or profile. 

Once again, thank you for your thoughtful responses. We have received your feedback with open minds and continue to work on improving and extending our services. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to chat further about any of these topics, or to give feedback at any time. Our door is always open!