Last Updated on November 29, 2023
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Gianni Cassatini, a revered figure in the global coffee industry, passed away on Nov. 24 in Burnaby, B.C. His departure marks the end of an era for the coffee community, which he served with passion, enthusiasm, and a spirit of unyielding joy. He was 86.
Born in Milazzo, Sicily, on June 28, 1937, Cassatini’s life was a tapestry of diverse experiences and profound impacts. His journey took him from the picturesque landscapes of Sicily and the bustling streets of Dusseldorf, Germany, to the vibrant culture of Vancouver. It was here that Cassatini, with his iconic Alfa Romeo Veloce and an irrepressible zest for life, found his true calling.
Cassatini’s career began far from the world of coffee, at Johnson Controls, where he spent 30 years. His retirement at 59, however, was merely a new beginning. Cassatini immersed himself in the coffee industry, joining forces with the Simonelli Group. He became an ambassador for Nuova Simonelli and Victoria Arduino coffee machines, traveling across continents and leaving an indelible mark on the industry.
Renowned for his signature Borsalino hat and infectious smile, Cassatini was much more than a coffee professional. He was the heart and soul of every event he attended. From the World Barista Championship to local coffee festivals, he was a ubiquitous presence known for his boundless enthusiasm, unwavering support for baristas and genuine love for the coffee community.
Cassatini’s influence extended beyond the professional realm. He was a family man, deeply devoted to his wife Delia, his children Anette, Sandra, and Robert, and his grandchildren. His hobbies, ranging from sports car racing and winemaking to gardening and following Formula One races, reflected a life lived to the fullest.
His legacy in the coffee industry is profound. Cassatini transformed the way coffee professionals interacted, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie. He was a mentor, friend, and source of inspiration for many in the industry. His approach to life, characterized by joy, optimism, and an enduring passion for coffee, left a lasting impact on all who knew him.
Cassatini’s story is a testament to the power of human connection and the joy of pursuing one’s passions.