Canberra's Sasa Sestic is crowned Australian barista champion 2015

Natasha Rudra
Sasa Sestic is Australia's barista champion.
Sasa Sestic is Australia's barista champion. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Canberra's Sasa Sestic is king of Australian coffee after winning the Australian Barista Championship on the weekend in Melbourne.

It was a sweet moment for Sestic, who is the founder of ONA Coffee and has been competing in the barista championships for the past six years.

And he won't have time to rest on his laurels - he will now represent Australia at the world championships in the United States next month.

Sasa Sestic and team at the Australian Barista Championships 2015.
Sasa Sestic and team at the Australian Barista Championships 2015. Photo: Supplied

"I've been in the finals for the last couple of years, I [placed] number three, then number four and finally managed to have a big, big win this year," he says.

The event is organised by the Australian Specialty Coffee Association. Sestic said he came under a lot of pressure the last time he competed, in 2014, and made a big error. 

"I thought this year I need to allow myself a lot more time, I need to choose my coffee early, I need to practise a lot more than I've done before," he says. "In the past I would have spent 100 hours practising but this year I've done at least 350-400 hours."

Sasa Sestic at the Australian Barista Championships.
Sasa Sestic at the Australian Barista Championships. Photo: Supplied

Sestic said he had "amazing help" from the ONA Coffee team and also practised with former UK champion John Gordon and the current world barista champion, Hidenori Izaki, for several days. 

"It was a big team effort and of course I was working super close with the producer, Camilo Merizalde from Colombia, I've been working with Camilo for two years and he's a very innovative producer and he's always open to suggestions from people like myself," he says.

"So we've started a project. We came up with a new processing system together and it required a lot of time on the farm in Colombia and it required a lot of time over Skype talking back and forth to make a really nice, tasty coffee."

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Sestic is now fully focused on the World Barista Championships which will be held starting April 9 in Seattle. 

"I'm planning to switch my phone off tomorrow and not talk to anyone for three-and-a-half weeks," he says.

And he's keen to do Australia and Canberra proud.

"This trophy has not ever been in Canberra and three years ago when I made the final, I felt this is not only good for me or ONA it's really good for our little community and [now] being number one in Australia I hope it can give inspiration to other baristas in Canberra."