I get super excited when I go somewhere new and there has been a ‘must go there’ list building up for Canberra during the time I’ve been traveling interstate and overseas. Coincidentally during our ‘day of food and wine’, I was taken to four new places and a much-loved eatery so I was buzzing with excitement and anticipation even if we did meet at 7:40am in the morning on the other side of town. *yawn*
Coffee tasting was the first item on the agenda and with such an early start, it was definitely needed. Most people are shocked (and maybe somewhat alarmed) when I tell them I don’t drink coffee. I don’t need it to wake up, I don’t get a headache if I don’t drink it and I probably add too much milk and sugar for it to still be called coffee but I do adore the smell. Thankfully I was not the only foodie who doesn’t usually consume coffee, there were four of us but we were happy to participate and see what the fuss is all about.
We were taken to The Cupping Room in Civic and we were in for a real treat with half the venue booked out especially for our coffee tasting. Our tables were carefully set with a dash of mineral water in a cup and also cutlery (oh thank goodness there will be food!). The founder of Ona coffee Mr. Sasa Sestic who is very passionate about coffee, welcomed us and gave us a lesson on the coffee growing, sourcing and tasting while the friendly staff served us all cappuccinos.
Who knew the sun and also quite a few people were up during this time of day and on a weekend no less! Beautiful latte art.Ona Coffee founder: Sasa Sestic talking about his passion for coffee, the projects he has developed, the unconventional way they pick their coffee based on the coffee tree matrix and supplying the essential nutrients using natural products like bananas and crushed volcanic rock. His passion extends beyond the coffee bean and incorporates the farmer; through creating Project Origin he ensures quality, sustainability and fairness for the producer.This guy knows his coffee!Our coffees were decorated with beautiful latte art which varied between cups. I looked for sugar on the table but there wasn’t any and I convince myself, just like when I eat pasta, to taste it before adding to it. It was a beautiful creamy coffee that really surprised me and my fellow non coffee drinker that we liked it. There was no bitter aftertaste and no feeling of just having eaten a mouthful of cigarette ash.For once I’m not the only person taking photos of the food at the table. I can get used to hanging with this foodie crowd!Our second tastings arrived and to get the full flavour we were encouraged to ‘slurp’ the coffee from out spoons. This was washed vs unwashed beans. The ‘washed’ was almost like a beautiful strong rich tea but the second ‘unwashedl’ coffee was almost unbearable for me as a non coffee drinker. When asked which style we preferred, it was no surprise that the non coffee drinkers took a liking to the washed while caffeine addicts liked the other. I’m going in for my big ‘slurp’, I’ve had plenty of ramen practise leading up to this moment.Up next was what I am much better at tasting- food!
Cured salmon with beetroot jelly, ribbons of fennel and creme fraiche topped with some croutons and micro herbs. The salmon was so tender it required minimal chewing and the saltiness was balanced out by the subtle sweetness from the delicate beetroot jelly. I thought the croutons gave it a great crunch which gave the dish an extra dimension of texture. Not your typical breakfast, but all the flavours were light and complimentary to each other. Gluten free and vegetarian option of quinoa, fennel and beetroot jelly.Some local humans getting their photo taken for Canberra Times (read the article here).The other side was filling up fast, The Cupping Room proves to be a popular coffee spot on Saturday mornings.Third coffee tasting: filtered vs natural. The difference in taste was surprising and the tastes changed again when you had a sip of sparkling water afterwards. The natural tasted stronger but was still very delicate on the palette.Cocoa avocado – avocado, banana, honey and cocoa topped with strawberries and served with a biscuit oat crumb. A beautifully simple and tasty sweet way to end our meal at The Cupping Room. The mousse was incredibly smooth with flavours of cocoa, banana and honey. A breakfast dessert is not for everyone before 9am but we stopped just short from licking our plates before we left, I should try to replicate this.Last but not least, they shared one of the drinks that they had created during a competition, a raspberry creaming soda iced coffee which consisted of raspberry reduction, dry ice and of course coffee. It was a unique take on familiar flavours as well as theatrics.
After the raspberry and dry ice was added to the espresso, the vase was cupped over the glass to allow the drink to carbonate and cool down. After a few minutes we were able to lift the ‘lid’ and capture the sweet scent of raspberries that was emitted.Brew my pretty, brew…What you’re left with is a dark carbonated coffee with sweet raspberry notes and a slightly bitter aftertaste.
The raspberry creaming soda is served in a wine glass, a cute way to end our coffee tasting at The Cupping Room.The Cupping Room hasn’t started a coffee addiction within me, but it has opened my eyes to the amount of flavour difference there is even between picking beans on different branches and how far away the fruit is from the trunk (which determines how much nutrients they get), how to ‘slurp’ my way through a coffee tasting and how many different projects including ‘Jammin Da House‘ that Sasa is involved in.
I’m excited to come back and try more food.
Venue: The Cupping Room
Address: 1/13 University Av Canberra City, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Phone: (02) 6257 6412
Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm Sat: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Prices: this experience was paid for buy VisitCanberra as part of the 101 local humans campaign for the human brochure.