Australian Capital Territory’s Sasa Sestic has been named Australia’s best barista. Sasa, who works for Canberra-based coffee company Ona Coffee, impressed the judges with his stellar performance to win the prestigious crown of Australian Barista Champion.
The Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) National Coffee Championships took place at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) from 13 – 15 March.
In a tight race to the finish, Sasa won first place in the Australian Barista Championship, Think Tank Coffee’s Craig Simon won second place, and St Ali’s Matt Perger won third place.
State barista winners from across the country travelled to Melbourne to try to take home the prestigious national titles.
Sasa is no stranger to the competition scene. He has competed in national coffee competition for the past seven years, making his first barista championship win even more precious. “It’s a very special moment for me.
This win has been seven years in the making. It’s a proud achievement for me personally, but also for Ona Coffee, my family, and the entire coffee community in Canberra,” says Sasa. “It’s a dream come true.”
In this competition, participants have 15 minutes to prepare four espressos, four cappuccinos, and four signature drinks to a panel of six judges.
Sasa’s routine highlighted the importance of the relationship between coffee producers and consumers. For his coffee, he used Las Nubes – Sudan Rume varietal coffee from Colombia. Sasa will now represent Australia on the world stage at the World Barista Championship in Seattle, United States in June.
In front of a crowd of supporters, Caleb Cha of Cafenatics in Victoria took out the Australian Pura Latte Art Championship. Ben Morrow of Plantation won second place and Barry Newell of Blue Sky Coffee won third place.
In the Australia Brewers Cup competition that celebrates the art of coffee brewing, Dane Oliver from La Cabra Coffee Roasters took the title using a Geisha coffee from Cerro Azul, Café Granja. Auction Room’s Michael Sinclair won second place and Toby Wilson of Sample Coffee Roasters won third place.
Harry Hyun-suk Ko from De Clieu won the Australian Huhtamaki Cup Tasters Championship, which awards the professional coffee cupper who demonstrates speed, skill, and accuracy in distinguishing the taste differences in specialty coffees. Frankie Shi of Tulip Shi won second place and Aaron Lee of Dukes Coffee Roasters won third place.
Celebrating the art of coffee with alcohol, Lucas Woods of Coffee Lab took out the title of Australian Coffee in Good Spirits Champion. Mikael Jasin of Operator25 café won third place and Chris Wood of Clement Coffee won third place.
The winners of these championships will fly to Gothenburg, Sweden to represent Australia on the world stage in April.
For three days, the Melbourne Showgrounds transformed into a coffee-hub when the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE2015) welcomed more than 8900 visitors for a vibrant gathering of the coffee industry.
Filling the Showgrounds’ massive Grand Pavilion were more than 100 exhibitors demonstrating world-class specialty coffee, tea, technology and trends on offer. Visitors engaged with coffee roasters, green bean traders, coffee producers, machine manufacturers and coffee equipment suppliers. The event was supported by Platinum Sponsors Pura, Cafetto and Huhtamaki.
“It’s easy to see why Melbourne is regarded as one of the best coffee cities in the world,” says Show Director Simon Coburn.
“For three days we watched as coffee lovers and industry leaders from across Australia and around the world flocked to Melbourne to celebrate our diverse and rich coffee culture. MICE has always been an event to grow and support the Australian coffee community. We’re proud of the caliber of exhibitors and how much excitement and joy MICE2015 has brought to the wider coffee community.”
A special treat for this year’s MICE2015 was the Let’s Talk Relationship Coffee event, which took place from 12 – 14 March. It was the first time that Sustainable Harvest hosted the event in a primarily consuming country. Roasters and other stakeholders had the opportunity to meet and taste coffee from more than 20 coffee growers from all over the world.
“The event went far beyond our expectations in terms of finding so many roasters and retailers who wanted to discover the stories and faces behind the beans they procure,” says Sustainable Harvest Founder David Griswold. “Let’s Talk Relationship Coffee is an event designed for discovery, and it was exciting for the producers to experience the Australian coffee scene for themselves.”
At “A MICE Night Out” cocktail event on 12 March the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) announced the winners of the Australian International Coffee Awards (AICA), Australia’s preeminent international coffee roasting competition.
These results follow a rigorous judging process, which saw an elite panel of local and international industry specialists critique almost 700 coffee entries.
Aroma Coffee from Marrickville in New South Wales took out the coveted Champion Australian Roaster trophy for the second year in a row, in addition to the Champion Filter Coffee trophy.
The Champion International Roaster trophy was awarded to Tanamera Coffee from Jakarta, Indonesia. The Champion milk-based trophy was awarded to MFC Roasters in Kew Victoria, and Champion Espresso Coffee was awarded to Mikro Coffee Roasters in Mount Gambier, South Australia.
About Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE2015)
The Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) is Australia’s largest trade and consumer-dedicated coffee show in the Southern Hemisphere. MICE2015 took place from 13 – 15 March 2015 at the Melbourne Showgrounds.