MILAN — On the sidelines of a past edition of the World Barista Championship, we met one of the most particular figure of the coffee community, Giovanni Cassatini. Giovanni, Gianni to his friends, is an old coffeelover who wears only Borsalino, and knows everybody and everything about the Barista competitions.
Who’s Gianni Cassatini?
“I was born in 1937 in Sicily. I have worked in Simonelli Group for almost 40 years and I love what I’m doing.”
What is coffee for you?
“Coffee is my life. I enjoy very much my job because I think that the coffee industry brings people toghether. ”
What does the World Barista Championship represent for the coffee world?
“The World Barista Championship is a great opportunity to showcase our products, our machines. We have to improve constantly through innovation.”
Tell us about your experience in the coffee sector.
“I know every barista, every producer and that’s amazing. This world is my family. It’s an honour to be part of it.”
Why are you so popular?
“I think that everybody likes to meet me because I’m very friendly and I have a great knowledge of this world.”
What about you hat?
“The Borsalino? I like it. I only wear Borsalino because it is an icon of made in Italy and it reflects my personality.”
What does the Specialty Coffee Expo represent for the entire sector?
“This is the only show that brings toghether the entire coffee chain: from seed to cup. And it’s growing bigger every year.
Tell us some stories from the Wbc
“Sometimes baristas ask me how their coffee tastes like. I only speak the truth. When the coffee is bad, I simply say it and the barista appreciates it. One time in Seattle, a few year ago, I went to congratulate one of the winners, but I also told him not to bring the same coffee to the World Championship.”
What about the Sca Exhibition?
“This show is great for everybody. Every year they bring more high quality coffee. I hope I will be in Milan for Host2019 to see the next level of coffee excellence.”
That time you met Howard Schultz …
“It was three or four years ago. During an event in Seattle, I was with a friend of mine, the owner of Caffè Vita, and then I heard someone calling my name: “Thank you for what you’re doing for Starbucks.”
I answered: “That’s my pleasure”. So he said: “I know that you live in Vancouver and one of these days I’ll come to visit you.”
And then my friends told me that it was Howard Schultz who had spoken to me.”
But what have you done for Starbucks?
“I just love them. The company really puts a mark into the industry. They are the best coffee shop chain in the world. Now they have their Reserve Roasteries in Shanghai, in Italy, and in New York. And a new one in Chicago is coming soon. In addition to that, the partnership with Rocco Princi is amazing.”