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For other uses, see Illy (disambiguation).
illycaffè S.p.A.
Coffee Products
Industry Coffee
Founded 1933
Headquarters Trieste, Italy
Key people
Andrea Illy, chairman and ceo
Products Coffee, Espresso Machines
Number of employees
800 approx

Illycaffè is an Italian coffee roasting company that specializes on the production of espresso. The company was founded by Francesco Illy in 1933 and was later led and expanded by his son Ernesto Illy. Today, Andrea Illy is President and CEO, representing the third generation of family leadership. The company has more than 800 employees and reached a gross revenue of 361 million euro in 2012. Illy produces one blend in three roast variations: normal, dark roast, and decaffeinated. In addition, Illy offers Monoarabica, single-origin Arabica beans from six different countries: Brazil, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Colombia, Costa Rica, and India. Seasonally, the company offers Idillyum, a low-caffeine Arabica that is grown in the rich, volcanic soils of El Salvador.

The coffee is packaged as whole beans, pre-ground coffee, E.S.E. pods, and iperEspresso capsules.


The Illy coffees are blended from arabica beans from multiple sources. The grounds are packaged in steel canisters and pressurized with an inert gas rather than air. The Illy decaffeination method involves the coffee beans being first steamed for 30 minutes and then repeatedly rinsed with either methylene chloride (Dichloromethane/DCM) or ethyl acetate for about 10 hours. The solvent is then drained away and the beans steamed for an additional 10 hours to remove any residual solvent.Template:Illy Coffee


The history of illycaffè is inextricably linked to the lives of the company's founder, Francesco Illy(Illy Ferenc), and his family. Born in Temesvár, Empire of Austria-Hungary (since 1918 Timişoara, Romania), Francesco later came to Trieste during World War I as an officer in the army. After the war, he remained in the city, which had recently come under Italian rule, and in 1933 set up a business[1] 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[2] 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 centres, and who promoted premium coffee around the globe.[3] His son, Andrea Illy is currently the chairman and CEO,[1] and his sister Anna Illy and brother Riccardo Illy are on the board.[4]

The Illy brand is available in many countries though with significant price differences depending on import duty rates.


An Illy espresso machine.

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, France, Germany, Spain and Benelux. The group employs approximately 700 people throughout these six locations.

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 Colombia, India, and countries in Africa and Central America.

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

illy’s University of Coffee offers free training for growers. In Brazil, a nine-month program (one week per month) includes 360 hours of lectures. Illy buys between 10 and 30% of University of Coffee-trained growers' yield at a premium price, but doesn't require that growers enter into an exclusive contract.[5]

illy is the world’s first company to receive the Responsible Supply Chain Process (RSCP) certification of sustainability awarded by the DNV.[6][7]

Trieste Science Prize[edit]

From 2004 to 2012, illycaffè funded the Ernesto Illy Trieste Science Prize to give recognition to science researchers from the developing world, in collaboration with TWAS.[8]

illy issimo[edit]

On 22 May 2009, in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, illy launched a line of coffee-flavoured energy drinks called illy issimo. On November 9, 2009, AirTran Airways became the first small regional airline to serve illy issimo to passengers on board flights. illy issimo is available in five flavours as of 16 May 2011: Caffe, Caffe No Sugar, Cappuccino, Mochaccino, and Latte Macchiato.[9]


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