Sasa Sestic, a coffee professional, green buyer, and barista from Canberra, Australia, has won the 2015 World Barista Championship in Seattle, Washington.
But the story of Sasa Sestic begins long before winning the title of World Barista Champion 2015. From Banja Luka, Sasa’s family immigrated to Australia in 1997. Driven by a love of sport, Sasa competed for Australia in European Handball in the Sydney Olympics in 2000. However, it wasn’t until he started making coffee in a bakery in Canberra that Sasa’s true passion was realised.
While immersed in the café culture, Sasa’s obsession with coffee and his passion for quality led him to begin roasting coffee beans in a garage, attempting to learn everything about coffee and how to perfect it as a drink. This obsession would soon change his life and the world of speciality coffee.
Sasa saw an opportunity to produce high quality and sustainable specialty coffee in a small café, a plan that was etched onto the back of a napkin while sharing a coffee with friends. Ten years on, Sasa heads a global distribution company, ONA Coffee Wholesale (Canberra) Pty Ltd, and a range of cafés including The Cupping Room, ONA Coffee House and ONA Manuka.
Sasa and his company have won a host of prestigious industry awards. In the Australian 2015 Golden Bean Roasting Competition, ONA Coffee was awarded gold medals in four categories including Espresso/Filter (Pressed), Milk Based, Chain/Franchise Milk and Chain Store/Franchise. In the 2015 TISCAWRBC Competition held in Taiwan, ONA Coffee won the awards for Best Espresso and Best Roaster. Sasa’s personal accolades are equally impressive with a haul of titles including five ACT Barista Champion titles, two ACT/NSW Barista Champion titles, 2015 and 2016 Australian Barista Championship titles and, most notably, 2015 World Barista Champion.
Widely regarded as one of the industry’s leading educators, Sasa mentors, trains and consults to baristas and café owners from around the world. Most recently, under Sasa’s guidance, ONA Coffee’s very own Hugh Kelly was awarded the 2016 Australian Barista Champion and placed 8th in the World Barista Championship 2016.
Sasa’s innovation extends to day to day cafe work; he recently designed and created an innovative barista tool known as the ONA Coffee Distributor (OCD). This is an essential piece of equipment for any serious barista, insuring consistency and quality in every cup. Having established himself as an authority in the field of coffee, Sasa is currently writing his first book, following the success of the documentary ‘The Coffee Man’, a personal story of Sasa Sestic, following his steps from coffee farms to the stage of the World Barista Championship. It is a story that will take you from Ethiopia and Columbia to Seattle and Canberra.