A cup of Italian coffee – cappuccino, macchiato, or espresso – can easily be the highlight of the day for most people in the western world. Many people have formed a habit of drink a great coffee almost as soon as they wake up in the morning.
Coffee has virtually become something of a tradition and the perfect excuse to meet up with a few friends or colleagues in the morning, or afternoon. If you have been a coffee lover for a considerable length of time, it is highly likely that you have heard of or know these Italian brands: Illy and Lavazza. Yes, the traditional caffé espresso hails from Italy.
Why Italian Ground Coffee?
Recently, the sectors of Italian ground coffee and tea have significantly driven the Italian exportation of agro-food products through the roof, by double-digit percentages. Italian coffee has always been highly rated as one of the best in the world as far back as the early days of the first patented espresso coffee machine. What is more interesting is the fact that coffee is not grown in any part of Italy.
However, Italians have learned and perfected the fine art of roasting coffee beans to create the perfect espresso-based beverages.
Italian roasted coffee beans or Italian coffee beans are well-known globally with numerous displays seen in first-rate coffee shops around the world.
Here are six big Italian coffee brands out there:
Let’s take a more in-depth look at illy and Lavazza, leaders in the Italian coffee brand market, and find out what makes them tick in the hearts of espresso lovers around the world today.
A brief history of the production of Italian coffee
In the early days before the general acceptance of this refreshing caffeine-rich beverage, there was stiff opposition in Italy. Back then, members of the church in Italy opposed the introduction of coffee into the country. Some Christian fanatics approached Pope Clement VIII, asking that he should ban the so-called “devil’s drink” and forbid its entrance into the Italian market.
However, when Pope Clement had a taste of the beverage, he liked it tremendously and encouraged its use. Thanks to the blessing of the Pope, coffee became one of the most popular beverages in Italy and rapidly became a household name.
Coffee thrives mostly in tropical regions of the world and comes in two major varieties: Robusta and Arabica. Arabica is among the most common and popular ground coffee amidst several varieties of Italian ground coffees. In fact, Arabica comprises over three-quarters of coffee production globally.
Espresso has Italian origins, not only for the production methods but also with regard to the numerous espresso makers out there. The techniques – as well as the machines – used for producing espressos these days are prevalent in Italy. But it all stemmed from the development of a full-size functional model that was first introduced in 1855 at the Paris World Expo.
Criteria to Follow When it Comes to Choosing or Buying the Best Espresso Beans
1. The quality of the coffee beans
A high-quality machine is a good tool to have in your arsenal if your goal is to start every morning on the right notes. However, no state-of-the-art espresso unit can adequately compensate for the inferior taste of low-quality coffee beans.
There are cheap coffee beans almost everywhere, especially in the department store in your neighborhood. But if you crave something more energizing and refreshing, you should stay away from substandard coffee beans.
When it comes to choosing the best espresso to buy, the first and most important thing you should look out for and focus your attention on is the color of the coffee beans. Coffee beans may come in light, dark, or in-between colors.
The color usually depends on how long the coffee beans have been roasted. If, for instance, the beans have been roasted and have remained in that state for a considerable length of time, the espresso you will get when you use the beans will be very strong. But it will no longer be acidic since the stimulant in coffee and tea, known as caffeine, is burned off.
Dark coffee beans are – as a rule – more oily than their lighter counterparts. Lightly-roasted coffee beans, on the other hand, are significantly sweeter than their opposite numbers.
2. Choose the best origin
Have you ever been to the local supermarket in your neighborhood and found it difficult to decide on the coffee to choose?
This is because there are so many varieties of coffee, types, flavors, brand names, etc. such that you become confused. Since you also have to choose between a myriad of coffee brands out there, it becomes even more difficult for you to know where you should start from. But do not be troubled any longer; this write-up will highlight what you should do.
After checking out the quality of the roasted coffee beans, the next best thing is to find out the source or origin of the beans.
As mentioned earlier, coffee grows exceptionally well in temperate areas, and therefore, different countries that produce coffee provide unique tastes. Asia, Africa, South, and Central America provide only two varieties of coffee: Robusta and Arabica.
If you love to drink coffee that has a good aroma, is light in color, and has lots of cream on the top of your early morning cup of espresso, you should go for Arabica coffee beans. But you should bear in mind that Arabica has fewer flavors and lesser caffeine content than its counterpart, Robusta.
Robusta comes with a strong aroma and has lots of caffeine; if you are a fan of caffeine, coffee that is made from Robusta beans will give you that zing that your body craves every morning.
3. Go for ground coffee
A majority of the coffee beans sold in bags at retail outlets are roasted and previously ground. You can buy these to save some money as well as the time it would take you to grind the coffee beans on your own at home.
In most cases, the grind size of the coffee beans is usually printed on the bag. The grind size of coffee beans also signifies the area that is available for extraction. Keep in mind that the finer the grind size, the more flavor, and caffeine will be extracted.
You should also watch out for mixed ground espressos. Some unscrupulous manufacturers use cheap or low-quality coffee beans and mask them with flavors to hide its bad quality. Therefore, do not go for flavored coffee grounds unless they are from well-known or reputable brands.
Of course, some individuals prefer to do everything all by themselves – including the roasting of the coffee beans. If you belong to this class of people, you are free to purchase raw coffee beans and prepare them according to your preference.
But it takes special skills as well as proficiency to be able to roast your coffee beans. Also bear in mind that after roasting the coffee beans, you may not ground them for about 24 hours. Therefore, make sure that it will not, in any way, affect the grinding process.
4. Keeping your coffee fresh
The aroma of coffee beans also plays a significant role in determining its quality, not just “la flavour”. If, for instance, your espresso does not have a good taste or does not provide your desired flavor – in addition to lack of aroma – then that is the first indication that the coffee beans have been over-roasted. When this happens, the oils are lost forever, and there is nothing you can do to replenish the taste of your drink.
One of the limiting factors that can affect that perfect shot you’re aiming for is storage. Although most ground coffee comes in paper bags – which is still not a very suitable way of keeping the coffee fresh – a few of these paper bags come with special layers inside them. These inner layers do an excellent job of preventing the coffee from drying.
However, this protection is temporary and lasts as long as the coffee remains in the grocery store.
The best thing to do to extend or prolong the lifespan of the coffee is to move it to a safer place. But first of all, take a look at the label and search for the date of production, just to be sure that the coffee you are about to buy has not been sitting on that store shelf for a considerably long time.
Keeping your coffee in the refrigerator also robs it of its flavor; so, if you have been practicing this, you should discontinue, unless you’re comfortable with the flavor of your espresso.
Further Reading: Does Coffee Go Bad? A Guide to Coffee Freshness
Illy Coffee Brand
Illy – also known as illycafe – is one of the most popular Italian coffee brands in the world today. The brand name “Illy” was coined from the surname of the founder of the company which is currently under the management of Andrea Illy who represents the third generation of family leadership. Massimiliano Pogliani is the Chief Executive Officer.
The coffee organization had 1,177 employees (as of 31 December 2015) and is present in 140 nations. Illy produces one blend, but in three roast variations; normal, decaffeinated, and dark roast. Illy is known for one signature blend of espresso or coffee which is roasted in different degrees. The signature blend is 100% Arabica blend, but the precise constituents of this coffee blend are not known.
At regular intervals, the company also produces a low-caffeine Arabica – known as Idillyum – which is grown in the volcanic and rich soils of El Salvador. The illy brand of coffee comes packaged in several unique ways: pre-ground coffee, whole beans, iperEspresso capsules, and ESE (Easy Serving Espresso) pods.
Illy stores their coffee in their distinctive 3kg steel canisters and preserves them using methylene chloride as a substitute for oxygen inside the steel canisters. A few years ago, illy launched a variety of single-origin coffee blends – known as Monoarabica – from six different countries: Ethiopia, Guatemala, Brazil, Costa Rica, India, and Colombia.
Illy is also the world’s first coffee company to receive Responsible Supply Chain certification.
Illy is slightly acidic, sharp, and at least one-half to one step above when compared to other big coffee brands out there. When it brews, you will be pleasantly surprised by the improved fragrance, especially after you take a sip or two.
It has a somewhat balanced and mellow flavor. Depending on how long the illy canister has been on the shelf, you may perceive a slight hint of staleness. However, it is still a step above other coffee options out there.
You will love the smooth taste of the coffee and be able to identify the caramel and chocolate notes which do not, in any way, make it an unpleasant experience.
One thing that should be mentioned here is that the brewing method you use may also significantly affect the flavor. The flavor of coffee when brewed from, say a Chemex – using a Chemex brand bonded paper filter – may taste differently when you make the coffee using the drip brew method.
The loss of freshness – after you open the canister and leave it that way for a few days– may also affect the flavor of the coffee. This, however, is not unique to coffee from Illy.
The official website states that the ground drip coffee is coarsely ground, but you may be surprised to discover that it is more finely ground than a majority of the coffee brands on the market today.
Illy goes out of their way to ensure that they retain the freshness of their coffee. This is why their product comes in a pressurized, air-free can complete with a metal seal.
To open the canister, you need to pull the metal tab back so that the top peels away. Be careful when opening the can so that the tab doesn’t break off accidentally. You will find it more difficult to open if the tab breaks off by mistake.
Illy makes good coffee, no doubt about it. Most people who love to drink coffee from this brand often report that they find themselves making more than a single cup of coffee to get going, especially in the morning.
This, in itself, is a good thing as it will save you money and time. You should also remember that the lighter the roast, the higher the caffeine content of the coffee. Medium roasts appear to be the best, however, as it is more likely to wake you up faster than illy’s dark roast options.
The pricing depends on what you’re looking for. If you need a whole bean or ground coffee, you should expect to pay nothing less than $15 per 8.8-ounce canister. Single-serve options usually vary from $14 to $19. (Check out the latest rates here!)
Don’t be put off by the price; you can subscribe and buy a lot of illy canisters at once to save up to 10 percent. You will also get free shipping orders that cost up to $75 or even more. If you can identify the specific coffee type you love to drink and you’re also confident enough to drink it for several weeks or months, you can save even more money by purchasing six canisters of the same variety. This will help you to take the price down by $1 per can.
It is not a good idea to purchase only one canister from illy’s official website as the shipping costs alone may be outrageous. For instance, shipping one canister of illy coffee via FedEx to Georgia costs $7.95.
Therefore, before you go online to place an order for illy coffee, take the time to check your local grocery stores. You may come across your favorite illy coffee – or at least a variety from illy’s line of coffee products that you’ll love to try first – for a lesser amount (compared to the price on their official website).
This means that you’ll not have to worry about ordering Illy coffee in bulk or pay for shipping. You may have limited selections, though; but then, it is an excellent place to start if you are not too familiar with illy coffees or you want to spark up your adventurous spirit by trying a new one.
The Shopping Experience on the illy.com Website
The grocery stores in your neighborhood may not have Illy coffee. However, you can get the variety you want from the official Illy website.
Illy coffee lovers have reported that the shopping experience they had on the illy.com website was:
- Quick and they did not experience any difficulty in finding the illy coffee flavor they were looking for
- User-friendly as the site was easy to navigate
- Amazingly fast. Don’t be surprised that you can receive a shipment notification in less than 24 hours and the box of Illy coffee on your premises in as little as two days
- Not too difficult to checkout with PayPal, a debit card, and a credit card
Best illy coffee products
Here are a few of the best illy coffee products on the market today:
1. illy Caffe (Espresso, Ground coffee), 8.8 oz Tin
- 8.8 oz of Espresso, 8.8 oz Tin
- Made using 100% Arabica coffee beans. Packed in Nitrogen to conserve freshness
- Espresso has a perfectly balanced and smooth flavor
- Remains fresh for up to two years minimum
- Sourced from the top 1% high-quality Arabica coffee beans grown all over the world
- Well-balanced and rich with tasty notes of chocolate and caramel
- Unique and pressurized coffee packaging preserves complexity as well as the flavor of the illy blend.
- Coffee packaging enhances the aroma of the coffee
- Finely ground to allow optimal extraction using high-quality espresso machines that take on the ground, tamped coffee
- The balanced and smooth taste made with the signature illy blend which consist of 100% Arabica coffee beans
- Packaging may vary
2. illy Ground Espresso Medium Roast
- Finely ground coffee, medium roast
- Two canisters, each one contains 8.8 oz of medium roast, finely ground coffee beans – a total of 17.6 oz
- Made using 100% Arabica coffee beans and packed in nitrogen to maintain freshness
- Remains fresh for up to two years
- Medium roast comes with a balanced and smooth flavor
3. illy, Ground Coffee Drip Grind (Medium Roast) 8.8 oz Tin
- Made using 100% Arabica coffee beans
- Packed in nitrogen to uphold its freshness
- Coffee beans roasted skillfully, air-cooled, and then packed in a pressurized, hygienic environment
- Roasted in Trieste, Italy from Arabica beans purchased worldwide
- The medium ground is perfect for French press preparation or brewed coffee
4. illy K-Cup Pods, Medium Roast, 10 Count
- Each box comprises ten different coffee pods
- Balanced and smooth taste as a result of using 100% Arabica coffee beans
- Sourced from the top 1% of high-quality Arabica beans grown around the world
- Balanced and rich notes of chocolate and caramel
- Designed exclusively for use in all Keurig K-Cup Brewers
5: illy Caffe Scuro Drip Dark Roast Ground Coffee 8.8 oz Tin
- Ground coffee, available in a pack of two, total 17.6 oz (i.e. 8.8 oz per canister)
- Comes with a rich flavor
6: Decaffeinated Ground Coffee (Medium Roast) 8.8-oz tins 6 per case
- Two cans, each one contains 8.8 oz decaffeinated medium roast (finely ground coffee). The total is 17.6 oz.
- Roasted in Italy (Trieste to be precise) using high-quality coffee beans that were purchased around the world.
- Coffee beans are roasted by experts, air-cooled, and then packaged in air-free pressurized settings
- It is made using 100% Arabica coffee beans and to preserve its freshness, it is packed in nitrogen
- Medium roast comes with a perfectly balanced and smooth flavor
7: illy Caffe Normale Drip Medium Roast Ground Coffee 8.8 Ounce
- Made using 100% Arabica coffee beans
- Packed in nitrogen to maintain freshness
- Roasted in Trieste, Italy from high-quality Arabica coffee beans purchased worldwide
- Coffee beans are skillfully roasted, air-cooled, and packaged in a sterile and pressurized environment
- Consist of two canisters, each one containing 8.8 oz of medium grind, medium roast for drip coffee machines – a total of 17.6 oz
Bottom Line for illy Coffee Brand
Illy coffee is one of the best – much better than a majority of the coffee brands out there on the market these days.
Lavazza Coffee Brand
Lavazza is an Italian manufacturer of a line of coffee products and was established in Turin in 1895 by Luigi Lavazza. The company started out at a small grocery store located at Via San Tommaso 10. The coffee business of Lavazza is presently administered by both the third and fourth generations of the Lavazza family.
Lavazza imports coffee from all over the world, including:
- Costa Rica
- United States
Environmental production concerns have led Lavazza to develop a sustainable agriculture project in Peru, Honduras, and Colombia – known as the ¡Tierra! Project. The program was set up to enhance the quality of coffee as well as to improve the working and environmental conditions of these communities.
Lavazza is branded as “Italy’s Favorite Coffee” and claims that more than sixteen million out of the twenty million coffee purchasing families located in Italy love and choose Lavazza.
Lavazza is not only one of the leading coffee brands in Europe but also the sixth largest roaster globally as well as a universal provider of coffee, espresso, and single-serve systems for the Out-of-Home and Home markets.
Lavazza Line of Coffee Products
Here are the Lavazza coffee products that are offered (included all the Super Crema varieties):
- Caffè Espresso
- Caffè Crema
- Qualità Oro
- Coffee capsules A Modo Mio
- Lavazza Gold Selection
- Qualità Rosso
- Crema e Aroma
- Lavazza Gran Selezione
- Crema e Gusto
- Gran Aroma Bar
- Lavazza Santa Marta
- Il Perfetto Espresso, etc.
The Top Lavazza Coffees
1: Lavazza Super Crema Espresso
- The best place to start for beginners or those looking for a versatile coffee
- Available in whole bean form for those who can grind their coffee beans at home. This will enable you to grind the coffee beans according to your preference – coarse grind for French press or drip coffee or finely ground for espresso
- Mild, creamy, and balanced flavor, with a blend notes of dried fruit, hazelnut, and honey
- Made using a mix of Robusta and Arabica coffee beans sourced from Columbia, India, Brazil, Vietnam, and Indonesia
2: Lavazza Crema e Aroma
- Creamy, medium roast
- Made using a blend of unwashed and washed Robusta coffee beans as well as Arabica coffee beans
- The Arabica coffee beans used in this product are sourced from Central and South America i.e. Honduras and San Paulo Brazil. Robusta coffee beans are sourced from Uganda in Africa
- It has a balanced and strong flavor with notes of spice, cocoa, wine, and woods
- A perfect beverage during the winter months
- Although it is an espresso blend – produces lovely cream when used in an espresso machine – it can also be brewed in a coffee pot
- You can add sugar and cream or drink it black
3: Lavazza Gran Selezione
- Dark roast with strong chocolate notes, though it is not precisely a flavored beverage
- It is best used in a regular French press or coffee maker
- Comes with a full-bodied flavor as a result of the use of 100% Arabica beans sourced from Central and South America
- The Arabica coffee beans used in this product are sustainably grown 100%
- It has an intense and bold flavor and a certain creaminess to it
- It can stand up to sugar and cream, though not the best choice for anyone who wants to change to drinking black coffee
4: Lavazza Gold Selection
- Medium roast with milk chocolate and vanilla notes
- Perfectly balanced flavor and made with a combination of high-quality Robusta coffee beans sourced from the Island of Java and Arabica coffee beans from Colombia and Brazil
- Laced with the signature bitterness that is common with espressos to combat the sweetness
- It is a perfect blend that can be used successfully in a drip coffee maker, a French press, and an espresso machine
- Whole coffee beans are available so that you can grind them appropriately to suit the method of preparation i.e. finely ground for espresso and coarsely ground for French press or drip coffee
5: Lavazza Santa Marta
- Medium toast and it has an intense flavor, though not as strong as the Gran Selezione option.
- Made using 100 percent Arabica coffee beans and comes with a nutty praline note
- This product is a single-origin blend from Colombia – right at the point where the coast links to the Sierra Nevada Mountains
- The product translates poorly when used in an espresso machine
- To enjoy the best taste from this single-origin product, you should use processes that do not involve the use of too much pressure to make the beverage
6: Lavazza Pienaroma
- Medium roast with a balanced and flowery blend
- Gives off a remarkable aroma of jasmine flowers and figs as it brews
- The coffee beans used in making this product are washed and sourced from Peru, Mogiana, Honduras, and the south Minas regions
- Comes with a balanced and smooth flavor
- It is the perfect option in specialty drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes but can be brewed using regular coffee makers
- It is ideal for people who love and enjoy thrilling aromas and a blend of floral-over-nutty or fruity options.
- The coffee beans used in this product originate from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ plantations.
- Buying this product makes you indirectly support sustainable livelihoods and biodiversity. These are good causes that you can contribute to whenever you purchase this product
Lavazza Coffee: Pricing
You can expect to pay as little as $6.15 to as much as $49.49 for your favorite Lavazza coffee, depending on your taste or preference.
Note on Pricing: I generally check ALL of the listings before ordering as prices are frequently changing…
- Check Amazon Here: Particularly for better pricing on single bags, pods, etc…
- Check 1st in Coffee Here: I typically order my bulk Lavazza via 1stinCoffee.
illy vs Lavazza Coffee Brands Comparison
These coffee brands have made their mark in the coffee universe as well as in commerce and industry. Their line of products meets the taste of espresso or coffee lovers worldwide, and aside from a few complaints here and there, there’s hardly any complaint about the effectiveness of coffee from these time-tested brands.
There is no single coffee brand that is the best for everyone. This is because we are unique individuals, with preferences and tastes. These are two solid brands to start with. So, go ahead test them all out and decide for yourself which is best for you. Stay caffeinated!
- Top 6 Best Lavazza Brand Coffee
- The Best Espresso Coffee Beans You’ll Really Love
- The illy Coffee Review: What Makes it Special?
Gordon is seriously addicted to coffee. He also likes to write. Match made in heaven? Yes. After years of boring casual coffee drinkers to death with bean origin stories, he took to writing publicly here at 2Caffeinated.