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Cirelli X Sim & Mack

To celebrate the release of the undisputed underdog of the Sim & Mack range, our West-side T-shirt, we caught up with the founder and owner of the iconic Cirelli coffee, Gianni Cirelli, a man who embodies the essence of the west.

The heritage

The story of Gianni Cirelli and his coffee is one of family, passion and commitment. Born in the western suburbs of Adelaide to Italian migrant parents, Gianni grew up with coffee running through the veins. Whether it was the mocha pot or expresso machine, coffee always flowed at home and young Gianni’s earliest memories were spooning sugar and coffee from the bottom of father Frank’s empty tazza (cup).

Frank Cirelli migrated to Australia in 1962, soon followed by mother Tina who he’d met in the same village near Rome. He started work as a construction labourer in Adelaide, eventually becoming a tiler as the country rode a wave of post WWII growth. As a man who knew a hard life on the tools, Frank advised young Gianni to get a good education and well-paying corporate job. He followed that advice for a while with a successful career in town planning & property development but deep down had a passion for coffee that had to be explored. While friends at the time were buying expensive bikes, Gianni decided to invest in a Giesen coffee roaster and toy around with Frank to come up with the ultimate blend.

What started as family roasting beans for family soon turned into roasting for friends and then catching a break selling to a nearby café. Cirelli Coffee was born in 2011 and has gone on to become South Australia’s understated king of coffee roasters, with production now occurring inside their iconic west-side café.

The philosophy

For Gianni, the motivation to succeed in business comes down to sharing his love for coffee. It’s about seeing the joy customers experience from drinking the real deal. Cirelli beans come from over 30 origins, from Brazil to Mexico, Ethiopia and many in between but it is the blending of varieties where the magic happens. Gianni knows that not everyone will taste the best of one origin so his blends are made to bring out the unique elements of several. In other words, the sum of the parts is not equal to the whole!

Gianni says making the perfect roast is about getting the length of roast just right – and we’re not talking about cutting it short as some might favour. Cirelli is the full bodied red of coffee which leaves a lingering taste that’s hard to surpass. And when asked about the French press method Vs pour over Vs expresso debate, Gianni wouldn’t be drawn in – it’s about what goes in, not how you make it! Naturally the Cirelli café offers each method so everyone gets looked after anyway.

Cirelli is serious about sustainability and all takeaway cups have both a compostable lid and base. Coffee grounds are also collected by a local charity to be re-used as garden mulch. But it doesn’t stop there. In coming weeks Cirelli’s café will move to bulk delivered fresh milk stored in a keg, eliminating the use of plastic milk containers.

The family

Like Sim & Mack, Cirelli is a family business Gianni runs with partner Emily while Nonna Cirelli makes fresh Zeppole for the café every day. When asked the best thing about Nonna’s famous Zeppole, Gianni tells us it’s being able to see her every morning to pick them up. We think that says it all about Cirelli…..

You can visit for their superb coffee beans, but you really need to go to their café for Nonna’s Zeppole. It’s at 568 Port Rd, Allenby Gardens, S.A. (on the west-side).

And if you want your very own West-side t-shirt, you’ll have to come visit Sim & Mack!


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