Ona Coffee Sydney

Ona Coffee Sydney

While some coffee fans travel from out of state to visit Ona Coffee Sydney to sample the roaster’s competition coffees and marvel at its unique setup, Venue Manager Bora Jin says she still regularly has requests for Japanese food from visitors who’ve mistaken the café for a teppanyaki joint.

It’s not a crazy assumption. On first impressions, the new venue, which relocated from the original Ona Coffee Marrickville site close by in November 2023, looks more like a restaurant than a café. The team eschewed the traditional coffee shop layout and instead created three central bars from which baristas offer tailored, elevated coffee experiences.

“We wanted to share the competition experience with our customers and created a setup to reflect that,” says Bora.

As visitors walk through the venue, retail shelves stacked with everything from clothing merchandise to brewing equipment and even Founder Saša Šestić’s own book grapple for their attention before they reach the very special inner sanctum in which the serious coffee business goes down.

“There are three bars: one serving milk and espresso coffees, the other two specialising in filter coffees and signature drinks. Each is staffed by a barista who serves up to 10 guests seated 360 degrees around the workstation,” says Bora.

This bespoke setup means guests get the unique viewpoint a judge would experience, and can carefully watch each step of the preparation. Many of Ona’s best roasts, such as the coffee Hugh Kelly presented in the ASCA Australian Barista Championship earlier this year, are available to order, accompanied by more entry-level beans like the Raspberry Candy house blend, which was inspired by Saša’s winning 2015 World Barista Championship coffee.

The list is more akin to a great tome than a menu, with milk-based coffee, espresso, and more catalogued into Institutional, Adventurous, and Masterpiece chapters. It’s all too easy for visitors to lose track of time while leafing through its many pages.

“We aim to cater for everyone,” says Bora. “Those who want to try something really special can explore our Masterpiece range, but we also have lots of exciting coffees for those who are new to specialty.”

The move to Smith Street has also enabled Ona’s Sydney team to expand the food offering. Head Chef Roger Peeters, who comes from a fine-dining background in the Netherlands, crafts innovative dishes alongside crowd-pleasing Australian brunch classics. Bora recommends Roger’s beef roll, which is braised in coffee for 16 hours and served with house pickled purple carrots and finger limes.

At the training room on-site, aspiring baristas can hone their craft and competitors can iron out their routines at the state-of-the-art training facility.

Ona Coffee

58 – 60 Smith Street,

Marrickville, New South Wales, 2204

Open Monday to Friday 7.30am to 3pm, Saturday to Sunday 8am to 3pm

This article appears in the June 2024 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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