Ona Coffee wins Central Region Barista Championship top three for fourth consecutive year

Central Region Barista Championship

Hugh Kelly of Ona Coffee has won the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) 2020 Central Region Barista Championship for the fourth time.

Alex Murfet of Ona Coffee Sydney placed second and Theveshran Moodley of The Cupping Room by Ona Coffee placed third in the competition, held at Fine Foods Sydney from 10 to 11 September.

Fine Foods also saw the ASCA 2020 Central Region Cup Tasters, Brewers Cup, and Latte Art Championships take place.

Frankie Shie of Infinity Coffee Roasts won the Cup Tasters Championship. Lloyd Thom of Campos Coffee placed second and Dongyeong Kim placed third.

Alice Park of Pure Brew Co won the Central Region Latte Art Championship. June Kim of Stopvalve placed second and Jibbi Little of Jibbijug placed third.

Anthony Sofatzis of Ona Coffee Sydney won the Central Region Brewers Cup. Yanina Ferreyra of Project Origin placed second and Hany Ezzat of Highroad by Ona Coffee placed third.

In Hugh’s barista comp winning routine, he used a natural processed species of coffee from Ethiopia different to Arabica or Robusta.

“There’s not a whole lot of information available on [the coffee] and we’re doing more work and testing on it. There’s not a whole lot I can say about it, other than it tastes really diffrent to regular coffees,” Hugh says.

“It’s a super unique cup profile, with unbelievable sweetness and sparkling acids. It’s a very different experience. The judges needed a fair bit of time to process what was happening and I’m super excited to work on this coffee more moving forward.

For his milk-based coffee, Hugh used a carbonic macerated Pacamara from Gilberto Baraona of Finca Los Pirineos in El Salvador.

“One of the coffees was very traditionally processed, showing off the raw potential of this new and unique species of coffee. The other was something we know really well and had a lot of techniques applied to it,” Hugh says.

“It’s two different approaches to improving coffee, which is exciting because there is so much more out there. The idea was that [in coffee,] we have a lot more work to do which is exciting for the future.”

For his signature beverages, Hugh highlighted the unique characteristics of the new species by combing it with a lacto-fermented ruby plum to structure acidity, a slow-reduced passionfruit to lift the tropical character, and a honey from East Timor with a “crazy fruit-driven and unbelievable flavour” which brought out new flavours in the coffee, and macadamia cream blended with whiskey stones to chill it.

This marks the fourth year in a row Ona Coffee has taken out the top three positions in the ASCA Central Region Barista Championship. Hugh thanks ASCA and its volunteers for making these competitions possible and attributes Ona Coffee’s competition success to the roaster’s teamwork and culture.

“Everyone is genuinely passionate, obsessed, and pushing each other. We’ve had a whole lot of new faces enter the barista comp this year, and you’ll see more Brewers Cup too. Everyone is excited and inspired to take part,” Hugh says.

“[Ona Coffee Roaster, 2018 WCIGS third place, and Australian Barista Championship finalist] Danny Wilson whipped the [new competitors] into shape. He’s got a good mind for routines and how to get those fundamental in place. A lot of my concept development actually comes from chats with him too. He’s a bit of a man behind the machines, making sure cool ideas make sense.”

The next regional will take place from 5 to 6 October at Latitude Coffee in Queensland.

For more information, visit australianspecialtycoffee.com.au

Image: Jordan Montgomery, Ona Coffee

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