Everybody knew Gianni and that's because he made a point to get to know you.
Gianni Cassatini was a regular and memorable feature at coffee events around the world through his work with Nuova Simonelli, most notably at the World Barista Champs. He loved to give out amazing hugs and he could often be seen whispering encouragement to baristas from under his trademark Borsalino hat. Both Gianni and that hat, Italian icons. Back when I went to my first few WBCs, Gianni always remembered me and made me feel that I was part of the community, even though I was still so fresh and feeling pretty insecure about my position in the whole global set up. And there are thousands of coffee professionals he gave the same encouragement, for over 40 years Gianni spread his love for the coffee community around the world. He used to love saying “Coffee is in my DNA.” But really, it was the coffee people that Gianni lived for and he will always be remembered by them.
Simonelli Group mourns the late Gianni Cassatini, a great friend, and a precious partner. 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.
Born in Sicily in 1937, he moved to Vancouver, Canada where he lived for over forty years. Here, he contributed to the spreading of coffee culture in all of North America, while traveling worldwide and consolidating a strong foundation along the entire supply chain.
His signature Borsalino hat is always with him, – in a recent interview he declared that he loved this type of hat because it was an Italian icon and matched his personality – Gianni Cassatini operated for twelve years in the world barista championships, coffee festivals, and exhibitions. He was always the centre of attention and flawlessly engaged the operators of the industry, and particularly had a special feeling with the many baristas and competitors whom he met and considered real friends.
"We lost a remarkable human," declared President Nando Ottavi, "who with his extreme joyfulness and generosity was always ready to help those in need. It is also thanks to his collaboration that we were able to start, many years ago, our mission of coffee ambassadors around the world. He continued bringing forth this mission along with us during the internationalization of the two brands Nuova Simonelli and Victoria Arduino”.
"Regardless of his age," – says Marco Feliziani, CEO, "he was the youngest and most humorous of the team. He was the last person to go to sleep but the first person to be in the office. He leaves his inheritance of great coffee passion, not only as a product but also as a community."
It is terrible to have lost you, but it’s been a stroke of great luck to have met you.