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Coffee World Mourns Death of Fedora-Sporting Friend Gianni Cassatini

Gianni Cassatini

Gianni Cassatini. Simonelli Group courtesy photo.

Coffee professionals all over the world are mourning the death of longtime coffee professional and industry icon Gianni Cassatini. He was 86 years old.

Born in Sicily in 1937, Cassatini spent five years of early adulthood in Germany before eventually emigrating to Vancouver, British Colombia, in 1964. For more than four decades since, Cassatini has worked as an ambassador of Italy’s Simonelli Group throughout the world.

Almost always wearing a fedora hat made by the Italian brand Borsalino, Cassatini achieved legendary status in the coffee industry in large part through his unbridled enthusiasm and unwavering support for coffee competitions and the baristas taking part in them.

While representing the Nuova Simonelli and Victoria Arduino brands, Cassatini was typically first to congratulate competitors at stages such as the United States Barista Championship, HostMilano or the World Barista Championship.


Gianni Cassatini celebrating with the 2014 US Barista Championship finalists. Daily Coffee News photo by Nick Brown.

By all accounts, including those of our editorial team, Cassatini was as genuine and passionate a coffee person as has ever existed.

“Simonelli Group mourns the late Gianni Cassatini, a great friend, and a precious partner,” the company announced earlier today. “Gianni has been for many years a reference point, a certainty, and an important part of our family. With his extraordinary intelligence and keenness, he was always able to inspire us… Goodbye, Gianni. It is terrible to have lost you, but it’s been a stroke of great luck to have met you.”

People and organizations throughout the coffee industry have been publicly extending their sympathies to Cassatini’s family today, while also recognizing his prominent place in the extended family of global coffee professionals.

“His love for this industry, the connections he forged with every barista and producer, made the coffee world his extended family,” Italian machine company Dalla Corte wrote on Meta. “Our thoughts are with Gianni’s family, friends, and the entire coffee community.”


Cassatini at a Barista Guild “Barista Camp” event in 2012. Roast/DCN photo.

In a statement, Simonelli Group CEO Marco Feliziani said that regardless of Cassatini’s age in years, he was always the most youthful and humorous person in a group.

“He was the last person to go to sleep but the first person to be in the office,” Feliziani said. “He leaves his inheritance of great coffee passion, not only as a product but also as a community.”

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