It is 6pm on a Friday and the sweet aroma of coffee continues to dance through the air. Defying the norms of regular cafe hours, Coffee Head Co on Manning Street remains open until midnight seven days a week. “We like drinking coffee in the afternoons but there is just nowhere you can go if you want to get good coffee,” says co-owner Cassie Porter. Thus, the late night cafe was born, fulfilling coffee lovers Porter and partner Pablo Leiva’s post 2pm caffeine deficit.
The clear cut glass walled cafe boasts sustainable practices and a purpose driven philosophy. Nomads at heart, it is safe to say Porter and Leiva are not amateurs when it comes to a good brew. Settling on Bellissimo’s Ultimo variation on an Italian dark roast, they use the social stimulant as a vessel to bring people together. They have intentionally created a space that grants just as much joy to them as their loyal following. “Last night we had so many groups of young people in here and it’s really cool to be able to create that space for people. I really enjoy that,” said Leiva.
From interesting book titles balanced high in piles around the store to the mahogany chesterfield couch waiting to embrace its next drinker, the space is riddled with stories collected from the wanderers’ travels. Peruvian tradition inspired Coffee Head Co, the awe of Chavìn de Huantar Temple and its intricacy and traditions stirring the initial idea of an inner city coffee haven.
“People were supposed to enter the temple with a clean head and very stress free with all the psychology completely put aside,” Leiva explains. “It was really cool to realise that all these humans some 4000 years ago had a really nice approach to life as opposed to now when everything goes so quickly, and a lot of life revolves around work.”
Coffee Head Co mimics this idea, creating a space where people drown out the deafening din of their fast paced lives with a warm beverage. The duo does nothing by halves, sourcing local suppliers or specialty international brands which reflect slower, mindful production. The La Iberica chocolate beckoning from the till hails from Peru, the fair trade AR-T organic tea from the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne provides cacao artisans Mörk. Hand folded vegan pastries and desserts are introduced by Flour of Life Bakery, accompanied by a wide array of dairy free milk alternatives.
Coffee Head Co does not settle for the easy alternative but boasts quality and consistency. ìFrom day one we have trained our staff to only serve quality, otherwise it’s not worth serving at all. We’re really aiming to provide a consistently great coffee every time for our customers,” said Porter.
The sun dips below the highrise buildings on the weekend’s eve, as revitalised coffeeheads re-enter the buzz of Manning Street with a clear mind and renewed energy.
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