SSE couple

Why don’t you choose, said Jose to Masako as they were ordering their hulking VR Diedrich, and she liked the pink on the colour chart, and although they had to wait for it to be spray-painted, as no one has ever ordered the 300-kilogram Diedrich industrial coffee roaster in pink, and then shipped, which cost a fortune, it has now landed here at Sunshine State Espresso.

This is their cafe in Honjo, across the Kasuga-dori bridge over the Sumida from Kuramae. Jose explains how the hot air roasting system is the best, and soon they’ll run the exhaust pipe out the window and fire up the infrared burners, and the long blacks will be even more delicious.

He set up here because he likes the neighbourhood. It’s old industrial-residential. There’s the river, and small machine shops and timber yards as well as big companies like Lion and Toppan. Lately backpackers have moved in.

He took the name from the state of Queensland, where he has a friend in Cairns who runs an omiyage souvenir shop, and they have been diving off the Reef and up to Kundara in the tablelands where he got inspired by indigenous culture.

His name was Jose Paronella, hence the adoption of the name, though in this Jose’s case his parents still call him Shigeru.

He learned in Australia that an Americano – that is, a stretched espresso – is called a long black. He also discovered the story of the Spanish man who through the 1930s dedicated himself to hand-building parks and gardens and a castle and holding dances and providing public entertainment on a plot of bushland by a river, which is now heritage listed, also near Cairns. His name was Jose Paronella, and his DIY projects for no purpose other than people’s enjoyment inspired the adoption of the name – though in this Jose’s case his parents still call him Shigeru.

Masako is Jose’s wife, and she bakes bread and makes Sunshine State sandwiches. They started the cafe nine months ago and put up some Christmas wreaths which have somehow stayed. This might suggest how busy they are, or just that they’re letting things hang. They open from 8am to 8pm and offer a changing menu of single origin beans. They have no closing days. It’s my own business, says Jose, why would I want not to be here?

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Sunshine State Espresso, 1-34-7 Honjo, Sumida-ku, tel 03-6456-1806