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How much? Would you pay $16 for a cup of coffee?

Kristen says the $16 coffee is worth trying, even if it’s only once.
Kristen says the $16 coffee is worth trying, even if it’s only once.

THERE'S a new Sydney cafe selling its top tier coffees for $16. That's about $80 if you buy a cup every work day, more than $4000 every year. On coffee. Yep, Australia's coffee obsession is about to send us broke.

Is this the perfect brew? Or are fancy baristas taking us for a ride, because they know we're getting picky and the pod at home hit just isn't floating our boat anymore?

You can blame a bloke named Sasa Sestic for the price. If you're a Canberran he's no stranger. He owns global distribution company ONA Coffee Wholesale and a range of cafes in the nation's capital.

He's just opened ONA Marrickville in Sydney's inner west and wants you to think of coffee like wine.

The price does vary across the menu, depending on the blend origin and availability. So just like wine, the fancier the hometown, the more money you fork out for it.

Before you baulk at the price, if anyone knows coffee it is this bloke. Bosnian-born immigrant Sasa has a stack of awards to his name, most notably was crowned 2015 World Barista Champion.

This guy has scaled the globe to bring the best beans to our lips but the question is; do Aussies love coffee that much, that they'd pay $16 a cup?

Sasa reckons some people have asked "why?", adding they're outraged at the $16 price "Are you crazy? Are you ripping us off?"

"But", he continues, "it gives us an opportunity to say why and after they find out what we are doing with these coffees and what we're doing for the communities and then they taste it, they say wow.

"A lot of people think coffee is just a morning fix. In my opinion, coffee is a lot more than that - it's an experience".

You'll get that if you wonder into the ONA Marrickville store. One long bench where you sit and talk to the baristas, hear about the origins of the international beans and how they've been developed.

How many people are sitting at that bench, ordering from the 'vintage' menu, with coffee's ranging from $9 to $16? Sasa says more than you might think.

"On the weekend we see anywhere between 50 to 100 a day. People try it for curiosity," he said.

The price, he continues, is because they are "niche coffees that take hours to get to and it rewards the producer for their hard work".

The $16 coffee is worth the wait, according to Kristen, and the many people lining up each weekend.
The $16 coffee is worth the wait, according to Kristen, and the many people lining up each weekend.

That doesn't stop people ordering something that makes him want to throw his head into his hands. "I once had someone ask for a decaf on skim with cream on the top. That just doesn't make sense. Or a decaf half skim half full cream".

This is where I made a gag about my office buying Nescafe blend 43 in bulk. Pretty sure I offended my new friend. To save face, I ordered the $16 coffee (while in Rome, right?).

A hot tip. This is not the place to swing by on your way to work and grab a cup while you're on your way to a meeting. They want to sit, grind, chat, brew. This process is a 15-minute experience.

The verdict? It wouldn't be something that I could afford daily, but it was chocolatey, passionfruit, coffee goodness in one small accurately warmed cup. With beans he grinded in front of me, while explaining the exact origins of the beans and how far they had travelled to pick me up.

It was delicious, educational, warming coffee-magic for Sydneysiders only at this stage, coming to Canberra in a few months.

Topics:  beverage cafe coffee editors picks food money sydney