Illy Coffee Review

The Illy brand has a reputation for creating high quality coffee. The brand is best known for sourcing superior Arabica coffee beans, their top range packaging, and their smooth, balanced, flavorful and aromatic coffees. 

Illy is one of the coffee industry’s most innovative companies. The award-winning company is renowned for its technological innovations, great tasting coffees, superior coffee makers, and fair-trade practices. The eye-catching packages and coffee subscriptions wins the company fans around the world.

This post offers a comprehensive guide of the Illy brand and coffee products. The guide looks at the company’s history and tradition while also featuring its current coffees and coffee makers. If you want to know more about Illy coffee, read on. 

Company History

Illy Coffee Review

The Illy Company was founded by Francesco Illy in 1933 in the city of Trieste, Italy. The company sources its coffee beans directly from farmers and cooperatives in major growing regions such as Ethiopia, Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. The company strictly uses only 100 percent Arabica beans, ensuring top quality blends. 

Illy coffees are available in all possible varieties including capsules, espresso, pre-ground beans, and whole beans. The range of coffee blends includes dark roasts, medium roasts, and decaffeinated options. 

As the company grows, they have continually partnered with other food and beverage producers and extended their product lines. Through these partnerships, Illy also brings you different types of teas, wines, chocolates, and jams. Some of the brands which illy have partnered with include:

  • Agrimontana
  • Coca-Cola
  • Damman Freres
  • Domori
  • Mastrojanni
  • Venice La Biennale

Education and Charity

Illy company is a leader in innovation within the coffee industry. To fuel the drive for better technologies and sustainable practices, the company runs its own university based in Brazil, the Università del Caffè. 

The university offers courses touching on research, technology, and modern farming of coffee. The university is a leading research facility and also offers short seminars for culinary institutes globally on modern and traditional coffee brewing. 

Awards and Certifications

Since the company’s inception, Illy has won many awards for innovation and fair trade. For instance, Illy was the first company in Europe to acquire the ISO 9001 certification. 

Due to the company’s environment-conscious policies, the company also earned the ISO 14001 certification in 2003. The ISO certifications ensure the company monitors its practices to align with environmental best practices. In 2004, the company further enhanced its commitment to environmental protection by adopting the EMAS refrigeration. 

Because the company strives to provide profitable and sustainable farming and production, Illy was the first eve3r company to be awarded the Responsible Supply Chain Process certification by Det Norske Veritas in 2011. The company continues to assert its commitment to environmental, social, and economic sustainability throughout its supply chain. 

In 2015, Illy launched the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Awards to recognize and reward the efforts of coffee growers from all over the world. 

Quality Assurance

No matter how you like your coffee, a good cup starts with quality beans. That’s why in 1988, illy started using their patented digital photo-chromatic sorting machine. The machine works to sort through bean harvests and only pick the best and highest quality beans for further processing. 

To keep their coffee fresh, illy uses an exclusive process where their coffee blends are packed in air-free, pressurized cans. Illy was the first company in the coffee industry to used pressurized inert nitrogen to preserve their coffee. This system allows your coffee to remain fresh for up to two years. 


One of the most attractive things about Illy coffee is the packaging. Each blend comes in a sturdy, brushed recyclable 8.8-ounce aluminum can. The shiny lid unscrews with unmatched engineering precision. 

Inside the can, the coffee is protected from the environment by a ring pull membrane. Once you pull the ring, you feel and hear the distinctive whoosh of escaping pressurized air. 

The natural inert nitrogen packed inside the can keeps the flavors and aromas intact for more than two years, ensuring your coffee remains fresh throughout the shipping journey from Italy to all corners of the world. In fact, the whole packaging process is designed not just to keep your coffee fresh but to allow the flavors to keep developing. 

Trade Practices

Illy Coffee Review

Illy was the very first company in the world to receive a Responsible Supply Chain Process certification from Det Norske Veritas (DNV). Such a high-ranking certification offers assurance that the company adheres to sustainable trade practices which guarantee profits for farmers. 

Illy is known for sourcing all their coffee beans directly from farmers, leaving out middlemen. In the coffee industry, middlemen often pay farmers low prices while overcharging coffee companies. Additionally, some middlemen procure high quality beans from farmers then blend with lower quality beans to hike prices in the supply chain. By leaving out the middlemen, illy ensures the quality of their product maintains its integrity and farmers continue to afford to adopt green practices for healthy and organic produce. 

Illy Subscription

If you love Illy coffees and want to enjoy constant deliveries for home brewing, then a subscription could prove to be convenient and cost-saving. Illy subscribers can decide which types of coffee blends best suit their tastes and demands. 

Whether you prefer capsules, grounds, or whole beans, you can pick how often you want to receive your deliveries. Each new subscriber receives an induction gift to welcome you to the global club of illy members. 

If you’re really dedicated to the Illy brand, you can enroll in their ‘illy a casa’ program. Each member receives one of five types of espresso machines upon signup. You then receive monthly deliveries for iperEspresso capsules, whole beans, or ground coffee. 

Website Experience

The Illy website is generally user friendly. You can quickly and easily find whichever blend you’re looking for. 

The site has an easy checkout process. Shoppers can pay using a credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Maybe soon they might include options for crypto-currency purchases but at the moment you can’t. 

Once you make your purchase, the shipment notification email will typically reach you within 24 hours. Most orders come with a couple of K-cup samples

Illy Coffee Cafe Time

If you’re new to Illy, then the Cafe time is the best way to experience different illy blends. The company’s founder, Francesco Illy, launched the Caffe as the official espresso envoy in Europe. The aim was to expose the rest of Europe to the traditional Italian bar and traditional Italian coffee. 

The practice spread and the Italian Coffee bars eventually reached the US. Today, the Illy Caffe Bar is a popular international brand with over 265 cafes all over the globe. The Caffe Bars offer authentic Italian coffees, sandwiches, pastries, cakes, and salads together with select Italian traditional dishes. 

Illy Coffee Blends

Illy company offers an impressive number of coffee variants and blends in their product lines. Most of their coffee comes either as capsules, beans, or grounds. 

For instance, the company offers a variety pack which contains coffees sourced from nine different growing regions. The coffee pack contains coffees from regions such as Rwanda, Guatemala, India, Brazil, El Salvador, Indonesia, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia. The range of Illy coffee options include:

Illy Intenso

The Intenso is a dark roast with very intense flavors. Intenso has a sharp acidity and a bold natural bitterness but still offers a balanced brew. 

The Intenso is strong and most espresso lovers will likely find delight in the sharp tastes and wafting aromas. The dark roast delivers a robust coffee flavor and a subtle cocoa aroma. 

Illy Classico

Illy’s Classico coffee is ground and tamped coffee of a medium roast. The blend tantalizes your taste buds with delicate notes of jasmine, caramel, and orange blossom. 

Like most of Illy’s coffees, Illy Classico is purely Arabica beans, with blends from several growing regions around the world. 

Illy IperEspresso Capsules

Illy’s capsules allow coffee lovers to enjoy superior quality coffees prepared with minimal machi9ne interference. The capsules pack different varieties of coffee in individual capsules so the taste, flavor, and aroma remain intact even after you’ve opened the package. 

These capsules can’t be prepared in Nespresso machines or other espresso machines. They have to be prepared in iperEspresso machines such as the Francis Francis espresso machines. The capsules are packaged in two sections. First is the trademark container with ground coffee and second is the small filter designed to provide a smooth drinking experience. 

Illy Decaf Espresso

If you’re looking to reduce your caffeine consumption then the Illy decaf can be your choice of brew. The decaf is full-flavored and doesn’t taste diluted like most decaf espressos tend to be. 

The decaf offers the intense taste of a full-flavored espresso without the effects of the caffeine. 

Illy Coffee Makers

Illy Coffee Review

While Illy is more traditionally known for their coffees, they also have coffee making machines. The company ventured into design and manufacturing coffee pods and coffee makers from around the 1930s.

Back in 1935, there was intense competition in the coffee brewing industry for the development of a possible espresso machine. However, due to the high-pressure requirement, most machines kept blowing up when in use. It was then that the Illy company introduced the concept of using air pressure rather than steam like most companies were experimenting with. 

The use of air pressure led to the very first prototype for an espresso machine

The result was the Illeta, Illy’s first coffee machine. Illeta was the world’s first high-pressure espresso machine and it used automatic water dousing. Since then, the company has led in technology and innovation in making coffee machines and other kitchen appliances. 

Illy coffee machines range from drip machines to espresso machines. As a leader in innovation, all Illy machines are regularly updated with the latest trending technologies. Additionally, consumers don’t have to worry about service as the company’s global network offers service points in many countries. 

The company offers a wide variety of basic coffee makers on their website. Some of the current machines available in the market include:

Francis Francis Y5 Single-Brewing Machine

For instance, one of their latest and best coffee makers is the Francis Francis Y5 duo. The Y5 iperEspresso Milk, Espresso and Coffee Machine from Illy is a single-serve machine meant to deliver a better-quality brew than what you would expect from a regular instant coffee machine. 

The Francis Francis Y5 is an entry-level user-friendly machine meant for home use though it can serve a mid-size cafe. The Y5 is sleek and slim, with a modern look. It can easily fit on a small countertop. 

To work the machine, you start by inserting a coffee or espresso pod then press the start button to brew your coffee. 

Cuisinart Buona Tazza for Illy

If you love Illy capsules then the Cuisinart Buona Tazza can be your kitchen companion. It features an easy-to-use LED display with three buttons. The machine offers two temperature settings and can be used for manual brew. 

The 19-bar pump delivers high pressure perfect for all types of espresso brews. A cup warming plate ensures your cup is warm for perfect serving temperature. The unit comes with a two-year warranty. 

Is Illy Coffee Worth It?

Overall, Illy coffees deliver a nice experience. However, it comes with a price tag that’s higher than most brands, especially outside of Europe. If you can afford it and there’s a store near your which stocks illy coffees, then it can be a wonderful coffee option. 

A few things which may work against Illy coffee is that it’s not always easy to find it in local stores outside of Italy. The saving grace is ordering online is easy. Additionally, Illy capsules have to be prepared using an Illy IperEspresso machine. If you don’t already own one, you will find it difficult using other machines such as a Nespresso or Keurig. 

If you’re a fan and don’t want to miss your coffee, it’s easy and convenient to join the regular subscription or the ‘illy a casa’ program. Overall, Illy serves great coffee which arrives fresh.

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