To find some of the country’s best coffee in Canberra may be a surprise to many but not those that are familiar with the name Saša Šestić. Boasting the title of 2015 World Barista Champion as well as owning local Canberra roaster, ONA Coffee, and popular haunt, The Cupping Room, Saša has established himself as a force to reckoned with in global coffee.
The Cupping Room was opened in 2013 to create a unique and engaging coffee experience for the local Canberra community. As you would imagine, much of the focus rests on coffee, though not as you know it. Offering a coffee menu that is filled with a changing selection of roasts and single origins from an array of countries, this may seem more like a wine list than a coffee menu, but The Cupping Room aims to offer only the best.
The usual rules of coffee ordering are scrapped here and instead of opting for your usual latte, cappuccino or short black, you will be given the choice of milk coffee, black coffee or filter. Milk coffees are served as what Saša and his team refer to as a ‘traditional cap’, which is best described as a flat white. Black and filter coffees are strictly single origin and are sourced through ONA Coffee’s stringent direct trade coffee-sourcing initiative, Project Origin.
Though coffee may rest at the heart of the operation, the brunch menu is what the crowds keep flocking back for. The Cupping Room’s menu changes with the season so it is likely you may not be able to feast on the same dish twice, but having the option to taste more delicious creations that the kitchen pumps out is definitely not a downside. Picture yourself with an Egg and Bacon Roll with guacamole and spicy BBQ sauce on a potato bun or Pork Belly Benedict with kimchi hollandaise, pickled slaw and horseradish powder, perfect to warm your insides in Canberra’s icy winter chill.
You would think that this unique take on coffee would attract only the bearded hipster crowd, leaving a clutter of fixies to block the path outside, but that is far from the case. The Cupping Room’s central location, just a stone’s throw from ANU’s Acton campus, means that the spacious cafe is regularly filled with university students, academics, lawyers and judges as well as coffee nerds that have ventured from near and far to get their hands on some of the city’s best brews.
Located on University Avenue, The Cupping Room is not at all hard to spot, the huge brightly coloured mural reading ‘Straight From the Source’ that takes up much of the front façade. Inside, the cafe is filled with light, polished blonde wood and leafy indoor plants. This clean, crisp design paired with the polished food and coffee offering makes for a venue that has left no detail neglected.