Last Monday, we had the pleasure of getting a peek into the coffee scene of Australia's capital. Any talk of Canberra amongst fellow Sydney-siders is met with some of the usual yarns; "the best thing about the place is the road out". And actually, the road out was fantastic, simply because we were so caffeinated after a ripper day of brews, mainly thanks to the legends at the Ona Coffee House.
Awareness of Ona in the coffee industry worldwide has recently taken a huge jump after owner Sasa Sestic's inspiring victory at 2015 World Barista Championships. His innovative use of a carbonic maceration process on his Colombian Sudan Rume coffee impressed the judges enough to seal the deal and claim first place. Although Sasa himself was away at origin at the time of our trip, clearly his drive and passion is shared amongst the whole team. Head roaster Sam started us off with a cupping showcasing what Ona has currently on offer and also what is yet to come to the brew menu. On the table were eight coffees; five roasted for filter and three for espresso. Standouts included a Panama Mamacata gesha washed and also a delightful natural process Ethiopian Aricha. Be sure to look out for a couple of Honduras coffees that will soon be on the shelf as well.
From the cupping we walked through to the new extensive training facilities behind the roastery, and were introduced to Ona's head of training Johnny. Yet another extremely passionate coffee guy, Johnny will be competing in the NSW Barista Championships at the upcoming Coffee Experience in Sydney on the 3rd to the 5th of September. The sheer amount of preparation that goes into making sure he can nail his routine of an espresso, cappucino and choice specialty drink is astounding. After loads of after hours practice, Johnny has settled on using an El Salvador coffee, and an interesting combination of honey and mandarin skin in his specialty drink to compliment the notes and acidity of that coffee. We were both lucky and grateful to have him share his extensive knowledge with us throughout the day, while also joining us for coffee at both Ona's Cupping Room and Tupelo Coffee Co (articles to come shortly).
We'd like to extend a massive thanks to the Ona team for sharing their passion with us. If you can't get down to Canberra, be sure to catch them and many other industry leaders at The Coffee Experience!
Ona Coffee House, 68 Wollongong St Fyshwick