Single O opens its first international café, in Tokyo

The East Tokyo-based cafe will offer a world-first free-pour specialty coffee system and fit-out created entirely over Zoom

Innovative Australian coffee roaster, wholesaler and café, Single O, will launch its first international café in East Tokyo’s Hamacho district on 28 October. Debuting a fit-out created entirely over Zoom during Australia’s lockdowns, the specialty self-serve café will offer a world-first free-pour subscription coffee system with six self-serve taps, a top-notch espresso program and a menu of Aussie breakfast favourites.

“Japan is a place we have had a connection to for many years, and we couldn’t be more excited to debut our first international café in Hamacho. With our much-loved Roastery and Tasting Bar in neighbouring Ryogoku for the past six years, supplying a host of local businesses and more recently serving athletes within the Tokyo Olympic Village, this feels like a natural next step,” says Single O’s General Manager Mike Brabant. “Our six-tap bar is something we’re particularly excited about. We debuted the world’s first four-tap system in our Surry Hills Cafe and are stepping things up a notch for our Tokyo base. Pre-paid monthly subscription is available, to make things extra easy. We can’t think of anywhere else in the world with such an appreciation for high-quality craft and convenience – and this means that you don’t have to compromise on either”.

The café will launch with five specialty brews (including Colombian microlots and an award-winning Cup Of Excellence from Peru), as well as a rotating international guest roaster. The international guest roaster was a concept Single O introduced during Australia’s lockdowns, as a way to defiantly embrace the fact that people couldn’t travel, but coffee could. For espresso lovers, Single O will feature its signature blend Reservoir (which comprises Lamari PNG, Jalapa Guatemala and Mafinga Hills Zambia). Rotating single origins are specially selected for espresso and long black, with blends available for milk lovers. All are served via a La Marzocco PB, in ceramic cups hand-made in Arita.

Single O stalwarts and Heads of Japan Yu and Mamiko Yamamoto will spearhead the launch. Yu is a Roaster, Q Grader, Cup Of Excellence judge and Brewers Cup place winner and has mentored local talent Ken Takakura (second-place Barista League winner), who’ll be at the barista helm and Yasuko Miura from Luke Mangan’s Tokyo Glass Brasserie who will be running retail operations. The menu has been created by Yu Sasaki, whose food influences are traced to early life in Japan’s Shimane, north of Hiroshima, followed by chef stints in the USA’s The French Laundry and Sydney’s Marque. Yu is the founder of Cre Asion in Surry Hills and a long-term neighbour, friend and wholesale coffee customer of Single O. The menu brings Australian breakfast trends to Japan with staples such as Single O’s signature banana bread with espresso butter; jaffles; and a range of classic Aussie pies, freshly baked daily.

The cafe has been designed in collaboration with Australian designer Luchetti Krelle, also responsible for Single O’s Surry Hills café and a raft of other dining institutions, including Sydney’s Bathers’ Pavilion and Hotel Centennial, and Tokyo’s Longrain.

Designing the entire café via Zoom during Sydney’s lockdown, Single O rallied to find innovative ways of injecting its hallmarks of sustainability and creativity throughout the unconventional design process. “We made the decision to launch our Hamacho café in the middle of Australia’s lockdowns, knowing full well that it may have been an absurd decision, but it was something that was truly important for us as a business, so we took the plunge,” says Mike. “To our surprise and delight, it turned out to be the complete opposite – the entire process was a pleasure from start to finish. We have been welcomed with open arms by the local community for years, providing coffee for our partners such as Bills and Dandelion Chocolate and so we had an understanding of what the locals love. Luchetti Krelle, who helped create our Surry Hills café, are meticulous in their approach, be it in person or via Zoom, and have done an incredible job of helping us bring this vision to life with our signature style, while introducing a Japanese sensibility.”

A striking monochrome mural inspired by Japanese meets Australian iconography has been created by local artist Washio Tomoyuki in texta pen and takes over the entire back wall. The ‘Cloud’ ceiling artwork was created by Sydney’s Ren Fernando, from repurposed end-of-line paper, and coloured with, among other things, coffee. The front counter, housing the free-pour coffee system, is constructed with curves and corten steel as a nod to Hamacho’s craft and sits alongside tables made from recycled plastic and a sustainable fibreboard espresso bar fashioned from upcycled clothing by local company Paneco on a mission to reduce waste.

Single O’s Hamacho Café will open its doors on 28 October at 3-16-7 Nihonbashi Hamacho Chuo Tokyo, operating Monday to Friday 7.30am–7.00pm, Saturday & Sunday 8.00am–7.00pm. Visit singleo.com.au/hamacho for further information.


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