The global coffee community is in mourning after a terrorist attack in Melbourne, Australia, took the life of Sisto Malaspina, the iconic owner of Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar and forefather of Australian specialty coffee. Malaspina was an Italian immigrant who came to own Pellegrini’s in 1974 with his business partner, Nino Pangazio. Pellegrini’s is credited as having the first espresso machine in Melbourne and cementing café culture in the city, and its bright red neon sign has been Heritage listed in the city.
On Friday, November 6, Malaspina was fatally stabbed near his shop by a terrorist; two other victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the encounter. The suspect was shot and killed by police during the incident. Since local authorities announced that Malaspina was a victim of the attack on Sunday, people have flocked to Pellegrini’s to leave flowers outside the café and sign their name in a condolence book. Pellegrini’s re-opened for business on Tuesday, November 13, serving for free Malaspina’s favorite drink, long blacks, in his memory.
A state funeral will be held this week in honor of Malaspina. Details about the service have yet to be released. Proposals have also been submitted to change the name of Crossley Street, which runs beside the café, to Sisto Lane in honor of Malaspina.