Handing over the title of World Barista Champion – by Sasa Sestic

What an exciting month I had! I travelled all the way to Dublin to hand over the title to the next World Barista Champion. Passing the title was not the only interesting thing. I was also there to coach two people: Hugh Kelly, the current Australian Barista Champion and already for six years one of my employees at ONA Coffee; and Natalia Piotrowska, the current Irish Barista Champion.

With two competitors under my guidance, it was very interesting especially when they both got to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, the semi-finals did not go as planned and Hugh finished 8th and Natalia finished 7th in the finals.  For both, this was a very great result though. I eventually passed the title on to Berg Wu from Taiwan.  I was happy that Berg won, because the coffee that he used in the competition was from a farm in Panama that I also work with!

Being the World Barista Champion is great, but it was a big relief to hand over the title and let go of the reigns after a very hectic year. Not that I don’t like to travel (I have the best suitcase to travel with!), but it has been a bit over the top: in 14 months, I travelled to around 60 countries. I was away from home for 200 days. I am sure I’ve helped to inspire a lot of people all over the world, and that is wonderful of course. The down side is that I have not spent enough time with my family, ONA Coffee and Project Origin. So that’s what I hope to be doing the next coming months.

Next up is Honduras, where I will be organizing the Best of Honduras Early Harvest Auction. After that, I’m going on a long, well-deserved holiday with my family! All that and more in my next blogpost!


Sasa Sestic is is a Serbian-born barista from Canberra, Australia, who won the 2015 World Barista Championship, beating almost 50 countries. Sasa is the founder of ONA Coffee, and travels the world on a very regular basis. Samsonite designed a custom-made suitcase for Sasa to protect his very valuable belongings he needs for his job. Sasa shares his adventures with us for the coming six months!