[il-ee, il-lee]
''For the French commune, see Illy, Champagne-Ardenne

illy is a brand of coffee produced in Trieste, Italy. illy produces only one blend in three roast variations: normal, dark roast or decaffeinated. The blend is packaged as beans (yet to be ground), pre-ground coffee or E.S.E. pods.


The illy coffee blends are obtained by selecting from multiple sources only Arabica beans, which are considered to have a richer taste and lower caffeine content than Robusta beans.

An exclusive illy method is the pressurization technique used by the company to preserve its coffee. In this process, air is extracted from the cans and replaced with inert gasses at a higher-than-atmospheric level of pressure.


The history of illycaffè is inextricably linked to the lives of the company's founder, Francesco Illy, and his family. Of Hungarian origin, Francesco came to Trieste during World War I as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army. After the war, he remained in the city, which had recently come under Italian rule, and in 1933 he set up a business in the cocoa and coffee sector, eventually deciding to concentrate exclusively on coffee. From the beginning, Francesco Illy was interested in espresso coffee.In 1935 he invented the first automatic coffee machine which substituted compressed air for steam: the illetta, the predecessor of today's espresso machines.

He also devised a new packaging system for preserving coffee in which the cans were filled with inert gases instead of air: pressurization. illy coffee was soon "exported" outside the immediate Trieste area, and was eventually sold all over Italy.

After the Second World War, control of the company passed to Ernesto Illy (1925-2008), son of the founder, who started a research laboratory that soon became the source of numerous new inventions and patents. It was Ernesto, a scientist and researcher, who established cooperation agreements with universities and research centers, and who promoted premium coffee around the globe. His son, Andrea Illy is currently the chairman , and his sister and brother Anna Illy and Riccardo Illy are on the board.


Currently, illycaffè S.p.A. is a large international company, selling its coffee-related products in approximately 131 countries worldwide. The illy group is made up of several companies located in North America, Lebanon, France, Germany, Spain and Benelux. The group employs approximately 600 people throughout these six locations.

Environmental concerns

Since the end of the 1980s, illy has not purchased green coffee from the international commodity markets, but directly from the source. illycaffé exclusively purchases coffee of the Arabica species, in particular from Brazil, the largest producer worldwide, but also from the countries of Central America, India, and Africa.

illy was featured prominently in the 2006 documentary Black Gold, in reference to its marketing of coffee from Ethiopia.

See also

External links

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