Ona coffee is almost legendary around Canberra. This is quite a big statement to make, however for those who love coffee it is a name that will be recognised for a number of reasons. Ona roast their own specialty coffee in a factory in Fyshwick and diners at Ona Coffee House can watch the coffee being roasted through the window. Ona also have a popular cafe in Manuka called Ona on the Lawns and also part-own The Cupping Room in the city, who has a constant line out their door with office workers and students wanting their delicious takeaway coffee. If you are after a serious coffee fix with a huge range of options to choose from, then track down an Ona coffee around the city - it won't be your last.
Another reason the name Ona is so synonymous with coffee is that the Founder and Director of Ona Coffee won the World Barista Championship in 2015. Yes, you heard right - the best Barista in the entire world. Last year Ona's Sasa Sestic, a previous Olympic handball champion turned coffee producer, went to Seattle to battle it out with 48 other countries for the title. He had to make four espressos, four cappuccinos and four original signature drinks to exacting standards in just 15 minutes. His secret weapon on his signature drink? He used his Canberra local knowledge and put in a dash of shiraz viognier by Canberra District winemaker Clonakilla to spice it up a little. He then took out the title.
Following in his footsteps is Hugh Kelly, also from Ona, who was this year crowned the Australian Barista Champion for 2016. After being coached by his boss Sestic, he won with his own unique combinations, making it back-to-back national titles for the Ona team. With this championship combination behind the counter and even more passionate staff following in their wake, Ona is really making a name for itself in Australia and internationally.
Winner Hugh Kelly (centre) with other finalists from Ona, Yanina and Danny. Source: Ona Facebook
At Ona they use beans sourced by Project Origin - another company that Ona founded - which has World Barista Champion Sasa Sestic heading the team. They travel to coffee-producing countries to directly choose their beans for the cafes and wholesale business. Their vision is to source green beans fairly and sustainably from several countries around the world, which have all been farmed sustainably and the farmers are treated fairly under international guidelines. Each farm is checked against an exacting standard to ensure that the finest quality of bean is matched with ethical conditions. Scroll down through the Ona coffee available on their website, to see their wide variety of choices to take home and be able to enjoy in their cafes.
Ona Coffee House in Fyshwick is where the business began and you can now watch the roasting process in action through a window between the café and roasting room behind. Surrounded by factories in this industrial suburb, Ona Coffee House has an outdoor seating area overlooking the busy Wollongong Street, as well as seating inside so you can smell the coffee and watch the Baristas at work. With such a central location for workers, visitors and coffee enthusiasts, it is a busy cafe to enjoy 7 days a week. Please note there is a 10% surcharge on weekends.
There is an All Day Breakfast menu which finishes at 2:30pm as well as a Lunch Menu that overlaps at 11:30am. With a good range of enticing options to choose from on both menus, it makes for a cosy place to visit to try out their award-winning coffees and enjoy a delicious meal. As well as the menu items, there are also cakes, muffins, slices and long lunch rolls to choose from. Why not stay awhile and chat to the passionate people behind the counter who love talking about their coffee and are happy to explain the many choices on offer.
Coffee is a personal choice - some people like it strong, others like it weak and there is also the variety of ways to drink it in between. Ona coffee is on the list of ones that I have thoroughly enjoyed - with Canberra's Lonsdale Street Roasters and Red Brick Expresso also on that list. It is also interesting to go to a café that roasts their own coffee, making it more an experience than just simply stopping for a coffee. Peering through the window at the roasting process is fascinating - there is a whole industry of people working back there to ensure their customers are tasting the most ethically sourced and best coffee possible.