This is Cath and her two sons, the family behind McIver’s Coffee & Tea.
McIver’s is a little coffee and tea shop in the Dairy Hall at the Queen Victoria Market. We are a family run business and have been here since 1951. We are hunters and gatherers. We curate and we retail. We have coffees that range from so strong your hair will stand on end to the soft and sweet. We have teas for the milk and 3 sugars customer, the herbal relaxer, or drinker of the fine jasmine pearls. Our mantra is that there is no correct taste beyond what pleases the taster.
The market is a constant source of joy to us. We have such wonderful customers from so many walks of life. We see toddlers become university students, mothers become grandmothers, travellers return, leave and return again. They educate and sustain us. And sometimes they can’t get to us. That is why we are online. We opened a larger version of our market shop in West Brunswick in 2012. There you can get all of our teas in bulk and a cuppa.
About our coffee
Every day we are asked “What is your best Coffee?” What an impossible question to answer. The answer is totally different for everyone. We answer with questions: How do you make it? Do you like it strong, or sweet? Do you like it citrusy or do you like it bitter? (Yes, bitter is a valid choice too.) We whittle the options until we have an idea of which coffee you might like. And some – like us – will just keep drinking all of them one week at a time. Just to see what’s out there.
We've spent decades refining our role as curators of the best coffee Melbourne has to offer. We have multigenerational relationships with some of the best roasters in Australia. We've always been committed to the principle that a jack of all trades is a master of none which is why we leave roasting to the roasters. Our roasters have spent their lives intent on knowing everything there is to know about coffee. Their quality control of their green beans is flawless. Whether it's ethically sourced, Rainforest Alliance or direct trade with farmers they only accept premium product. They choose beans with specific profiles and know just how to roast them to show off their different characteristics. With decades of experience, they are the specialist coffee roasters. We are the specialist retailers.
About our tea
Hmmm, how to start? I grew up with tea. When I was 8 my mother would ask me to make her a cup of tea in bed and when I brought it to her she would look at me accusingly, “You took the kettle to the pot, not the pot to the kettle!” How did she know? That one little move made all the difference.
Here at McIver’s sometimes we import our teas or herbs, sometimes we use trusted brokers. Almost all of our teas are our own house blends. We source teas from all over the world. Our house blends only use real products – no flavouring and whenever we can we take the organic option. Blending tea is like following Alice down the rabbit hole. Sometimes you go in with one idea and come out with something entirely different but better. Our barometer is always our customers, we log customer feedback, and if they like it, we like it.
Tea comforts, it cools, it provides that oasis of peace between activities. There is a Dutch word “gezellig” (look it up) that expresses what tea can do perfectly. It was explained to me as that state of cosiness that exists in a warm room full of friends on a dark night.