Ona Coffee's Hugh Kelly wins Australian Barista Championship for the second year in a row

Jil Hogan
Ona Coffee's Sam Corra and Hugh Kelly were both winners at the\ Melbourne International Coffee Expo 2017.
Ona Coffee's Sam Corra and Hugh Kelly were both winners at the\ Melbourne International Coffee Expo 2017. Photo: Jordan Montgomery

A coffee infused with tangerine fairy floss has won Ona Coffee's Hugh Kelly the Australian Barista Championship at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo over the weekend.

It's the second year in a row the Canberran has won the national competition, the first time an Australian has achieved the feat, and the third year in a row an Ona Coffee barista has taken out the award.

Kelly said he was "overwhelmed" to win the competition, where the country's top baristas go head-to-head.

Each competitor was given 15 minutes to prepare four espressos, four milk-based coffees and then four of their own signature drinks for four judges.

"The idea with the signature drink is to take your espresso further, or to improve on it. So using ingredients and techniques and whatever is at your disposal," Kelly said.

"So I infused this organic sugarcane with tangerine peel and I left that for around a month to infuse the oil and the aroma into the sugar. And then I put that through a fairy floss machine, which sort of softened the citrus notes and made it work better with the espresso, not overpower it."

Back to back wins: Hugh Kelly also won the Australia Barista Championship last year.
Back to back wins: Hugh Kelly also won the Australia Barista Championship last year. Photo: Jamila Toderas

He combined the mixture with sous-vide white peach and the vapour of a jasmine flower for the final creation.

Kelly will spend the next six months training further and will compete at the international final in Seoul in November.

He competed at last year's international final in Dublin, placing eight overall, and said he hoped to push things even further this year and place higher.

For the competition, Kelly used Ona Coffee, roasted by Ona's head roaster Sam Corra who also won the National Brewers' Cup title at the event. Corra will travel to Budapest in June to represent Australia at the international final.

A large contingent from Ona Coffee travelled to Melbourne for the event, including Sasa Sestic who was named World Barista Champion in 2015.

 
Team ONA wins at MICE 2017! Posted by ONA Coffee on Saturday, April 1, 2017