Welcoming Headlands Cafe – Takumi & Haini

by Little BIG

We are very excited to welcome the newest faces to the Flour Mill community: Takumi and Haini from Headlands Coffee. Their new home, located on the ground floor of the Mungo Scott building at the Flour Mill, promises a unique experience with coffee roasted on site and pastry collaborations with well-known Sydney bakeries. This modern-industrial space beautifully blends the architectural heritage of the building with contemporary design elements, creating an inviting environment for coffee lovers.

The Little BIG team recently had the pleasure of sneaking in for a pre-opening brew and quizzing Takumi and Haini on their vision for Headlands Coffee. During our visit, we delved into their backgrounds, their side creative pursuits and their commitment to educating the community about the intricacies of coffee flavors, sustainability and origins.

Coffee is an incredible social lubricant and excuse to come together – and we are spoiled for choice with our neighbours here at the Flour Mill. One of the best things you can do for your sense of community connection is to have small, daily, positive experiences with the businesses and people in your immediate vicinity. They say we need six “Hellos” a day to reduce loneliness. Get your social and coffee fix by dropping into Headlands, make Takumi’s day with a big smile and ask Haini his thoughts on leather as a textile.

In the meantime, enjoy our chat with our newest neighbours…

We have just had the pleasure of having a sneak peak of your beautiful space, prior to opening, thank you! Tell us about the vision for Headlands Coffee? What can locals expect?

Takumi: Headlands Coffee is designed to be a place for an immersive coffee experience. Our roastery allows you to see the roasting process in action, highlighting our mission to offer the best quality coffee in Sydney. We want our customers to discover different flavors and style, similar to exploring the world of wine.

Haini: We are all about quality coffee experience. Whether you want to know more about our coffee world or just to get your daily caffeine fix, we’re here to share our love with you, if you’re interested. If you want to discover single-origin beans or learn how to make coffee at home, we can help. But you don’t have to be an expert to come in, you can grab a quick take-away on the way to the train too.

Note: before having this chat, the Little BIG team watched the crew weighing, measuring, debating and perfecting the ratios for their hot chocolate and Matcha Tea. We can assure you, the debate was vigorous and got down to the milliliter of ingredients. 

Takumi: Our roastery and cafe pay homage to the building’s heritage architectural features but with contemporary design elements. The counter bench and seating arrangements are designed to provide an unobstructed view of the roasting process, allowing guests to fully appreciate the skill and dedication that goes into each cup.

Being a small community, we are really interested in knowing a bit more about the two of you. What are your roles here, and can you tell us a little bit about the humans behind the roasting and serving of our daily brew?

T: I’m the General Manager here and I’ll be focused more on the coffee roasting and overall business operations. I am the driving force and vision behind this coffee brand and super excited to finally open our roastery! I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and moved to Australia in 2008. Before moving here, I studied French pastry but found that it didn’t quite fit me as a career or as a person, so I came to Australia on a working holiday to learn English and never left since. I feel blessed to work in the industry I enjoy so much. I love the artisanal aspect of roasting and brewing coffee as well as interacting with customers. My Japanese work mindset helped me to achieve my career milestones such as travelling to coffee producing countries, winning an Australian coffee roasting Championship, and of course being given this opportunity to build this roastery in Summer Hill!  I’ve been working in the industry for over 14 years now.

Outside of coffee, I love making pottery. Throwing the clay is so meditative and a real escape for me. I started “Clayboy Stoneware” which specialised in coffee cups (it’s on hold at the moment).

I also have an 18-month-old daughter I completely fell in love with! I enjoy drinking good wines, good food, and holidays with my family.

H: I’m the Venue Manager and the person you’ll see here at the counter most days. I have a background in coffee and venue management, and I love creating environments where people feel connected. My family are Lebanese, and I grew up in Western Sydney.

Outside of a long career in coffee and establishing venues, I used to work as a fashion designer. I lived in LA for a while designing for various high-end men’s fashion street wear labels. I also have my own label, Port El Mina. I still have a passion for fashion and love talking about textiles and fabrics. Don’t get me started!

                These impressive side pursuits can be found here:

                Clayboy Stoneware – https://www.instagram.com/clayboy.stoneware/

                Port El Minahttps://www.instagram.com/port.elmina

Why did you choose this location for Headlands Coffee?

T: I found this space two years ago and fell in love with it. It’s taken a long time to get the approvals in place, but it was worth it. The building is so beautiful, we love that there is a park outside and we love being in a residential area. This kind of setup—retail, roasting, and office space (upstairs)—is common in Melbourne but it’s rare in Sydney to find a location that works for all those things.

H: I’m excited to make it Headland’s home and become part of the community. We’re in a prime location between the CBD and Parramatta here too so we hope we can help attract new people to fall in love with this area like we have. The train line makes it easy to access, and we’ll be part of the markets on Sundays too.

Little BIG is also about building a connected community. Coffee culture is a really big part of that in Australia. We have noticed your motto is “connecting the moments through the passion we place in our coffee.”

How do you think Headlands Coffee will contribute to connection in this community?

H: Our cafe is a destination where you can casually catch up with friends and family. We’re visible and accessible in this location. Grab a coffee, let the kids play in the park, wander through the Sunday markets. We want to connect friends to friends and people to people.

T: We can host tastings and workshops for the community, if that is something people are interested in, please let us know and we will tailor it to local interest. Tell us what you want, and we will create the workshops.

Back to you… what is the top thing on your bucket list?

H: My big goal (outside of making Headlands a huge success) is to showcase my label at Paris Fashion Week one day. I also want to go back to Lebanon; I haven’t been there since I was 13. Most of my family is there, and it would mean a lot to reconnect with them.

T: It’s been a busy year, so my first goal is to make Headlands vibrant and successful. I’d also love to spend more time with my family in Japan and my partner’s family in France, teaching our daughter about our love of good food and drink.

H: It’s also on my bucket list that Takumi is able achieve his bucket list (spending more time with family). If I do my job right here, it will make it a lot easier for him to do that. 

What are you most grateful for?

T: I’m most grateful for my partner and my daughter. They mean everything to me. I’m looking forward to sharing babycinos with her soon (she is 18-months old, and I want to make her first Babycino here at Headlands). I also appreciate all the support from the people involved in our journey to launch this project.

H: I’m most grateful to my mum. She is my rock and has always been there for me.

Important question… what is your coffee order?

T & H in unison: Single Origin filter coffee – black.

                Note to self: must remember to order this next time.

A “Little BIG action” is something which might seem really small, but it actually has a really big impact on you. They happen all the time and the ‘do-er’ doesn’t usually know they did anything special. What was the last Little BIG action that you received from someone or did for someone?

T: When someone smiles at me, especially lately – I’ve been a tad stressed getting this all set up – it creates a positive chain reaction. For me, this is a small gesture with a big impact.

H: I have a habit of looking out for elderly people at the grocery store and helping them if they need anything off the high sleeves, or if they have trouble with their trolly. It’s something I’ve seen my Mum do so many times and I’ve seen it make such a difference for people.

Headlands Coffee is hyper-focused on your coffee experience, and we are excited for the vibrancy their busy store front will bring to the Flour Mill.

STUFF TO KNOW

Location:

18 Flour Mill Way, Summer Hill

Trading Hours:

● Weekdays: 7:00 AM – 2:00 PM

● Saturday: 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

● Sunday/PH: 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Find them online:

Website: https://www.headlandscoffee.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/headlandscoffee/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Headlandscoffee

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