What Is Illy Coffee?

Are you wondering what is Illy coffee? Illy is an Italian coffee brand offering espresso and various other coffee products. They are one of the world’s top brands, providing a top-class experience, from customer service to taste

Cup of Illy coffee, a brand of Italian coffee roasting company that specializes in the production of espresso - What is Illy coffee
Illy specializes in the production of espresso

When my friend moved to Europe after closing down her coffee shop in the US, she discovered Illy and declared it the best coffee she’d ever had. Illy coffee has become a beloved brand of Italian espresso worldwide, mainly because of its rich and complex flavor profile and extreme freshness.

About the Illy Coffee Company

The Illy Coffee Company was founded in 1933 by Francesco Illy, born in what is now Timișoara, Romania. The company is currently based in Trieste, Italy, and is still family-owned. 

In 1935, the Illy family decided to focus on espresso. Around that time, Francesco Illy invented the first automatic coffee machine. This machine used compressed air instead of steam to make espresso and pull shots. It was named the Illetta and was the catalyst for the creation of many espresso machines commonly used in coffee shops across the world today.

Illy coffee shop
Illy is the catalyst of espresso machines today

Their innovative pressurized and oxygen-resistant containers keep the coffee incredibly fresh, which provides export success.

Dr. Illy also created the first pre-measured espresso pods in 1974.

What is Illy coffee? Illy coffee comes in several forms:

  • Pre-ground coffee for coffee makers, Moka pots, and espresso machines
  • Whole-bean coffee
  • Instant coffee 
  • Capsules and pods
  • Ready-to-drink cold brew

The Arabica coffee that Illy uses comes from the following countries:

  • Brazil
  • Guatemala
  • Colombia
  • Nicaragua
  • Costa Rica
  • Tanzania
  • Ethiopia
  • India
  • El Salvador

In 2019, Illy expanded to the United States, opening cafes and production plants throughout the country. They even collaborated with Italian-American gelato shops to get their coffees into stores offering affogato, or ice-cream-topped, options.

You might also be interested in our Luwak coffee guide. 

The Pros and Cons of Illy Coffee

Illy coffee is a household name that has gained respect from coffee aficionados worldwide. While Illy makes high-quality coffee, it still has both pros and cons.

Some of the most notable pros of Illy coffee include:

  • Their coffees come in decaf and regular versions.
  • Their coffee comes in grinds suitable for coffee makers, Moka pots, or espresso machines.
  • Their Arabica coffees come from a variety of origins.
  • They have a variety of coffee maker coffees for different tastes.
  • Their roast levels have a good selection and variety.
  • Illy offers a subscription service for loyal customers that delivers right to your home.
  • There are many Illy coffee forms available.
  • Illy has reasonable coffee prices when purchasing beans.
  • Illy is available at cafes and in local supermarkets.

A few main cons of buying Illy coffee are:

  • There are no light roasts available since light roast is not popular in the Italian coffee culture.
  • There is a small whole-bean selection available.
illy Classico Ground Drip Coffee, Medium Roast
$14.99 ($1.70 / Ounce)

Composed of 9 of the finest Arabica coffee sources worldwide, Classico, Medium Roast is our classic roast coffee has a lingering sweetness and delicate notes of caramel, orange blossom and jasmine.

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03/08/2024 12:35 am GMT

The Delicious Taste of Illy

Sweet, velvety, balanced, and rich, most Illy coffee can be categorized as fruity, floral, and decadent. The taste notes include caramel, chocolate, cherries, toast, almonds, honey, and sometimes even brown sugar. Because of these flavors, many people choose to drink the coffee black or only with milk — forgoing sweetener.

Illy Cappuccino in a branded coffee cup with Illy sugar
Illy coffee has fruity, floral, and decadent taste

How to Make an Italian Illy Tiramisu Espresso

Whether you want to treat yourself at the end of a long workday or want to introduce your friends and family to a decadent Italian treat, an Italian Illy Tiramisu Espresso is the perfect way to go. To make this unique and festive beverage, you will need to prepare it with the following ingredients:

  • 2 Illy espresso shots
  • 2 scoops of vanilla gelato 
  • 2 ladyfinger cookies crumbled up in a bowl
  • Unsweetened cooking cocoa powder
  • A spoon for mixing
  • A mug
  • Hot water
  • An espresso machine

To make the Italian Illy Tiramisu Espresso, simply follow these steps:

  1. Pull 2 espresso shots.
  2. Place the espresso into a small pitcher or cup.
  3. Put the cookies and gelato in a small blender.
  4. Blend ingredients together for 30 seconds or until thick.
  5. If the mixture becomes too liquidy, add some ice, cookies, or ice cream until a thick texture emerges.
  6. Pour into your favorite mug and top with cocoa powder.
  7. Sip or taste with a spoon and enjoy!

Consider experimenting with your own new recipe, from an Illy Mocha hot chocolate to a martini featuring rich Illy brewed coffee, if this drink is a hit.
If you loved this article check out What’s Better For Portable Espresso: AeroPress vs V60.


  • Cian Murray

    Cian Murray is an experienced writer and editor, who graduated from Cardiff University’s esteemed School of Journalism, Media and Culture. His work has been featured in both local and national media, and he has also produced content for multinational brands and agencies. Find Cian on muckrack.com.