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The history of illycaffè

Back to all articles 17 november 2017

To produce the finest coffee nature grows, illycaffè relies on technology and research applied to its raw materials throughout its production-related processes, all the way from selection to preparation. Indeed, some of the innovations that have revolutionized the history of coffee over the last eighty years first saw the light of day at illy.


A journey through time

1933
illycaffè foundation
Francesco Illy founds illycaffè based on a dream: to offer the best coffee in the world
1934
Pressurisation
illycaffè patents its revolutionary pressurisation system: the properly ripened coffee can thus travel worldwide whilst keeping its aroma and freshness
1935
Illetta
Illetta, the very first modern espresso machine, is created thanks to the patented system of separating water heating and pressure
1957
The first research laboratory
Ernesto Illy, the founder's son, joins the company after gaining a degree in chemistry and sets up the first research laboratory, creating synergies with prestigious international scientific institutions
1974
The first single portion on the market
illy is the first company to market coffee pods – single-serve doses of ground, tamped coffee - which make the perfect espresso at any time and in any location: a radical innovation in the history of coffee which will pave the way for illy’s internationalization
1982
illy quality in each single bean
illycaffè patents the digital sorting machine, which analyses the colour and shape of beans to ensure each one is perfect
1992
illy Art Collection
Beauty and goodness: Francesco Illy comes up with the idea of the iconic cup, designed by Matteo Thun. A contemporary interpretation of the centuries old art of decorative porcelain, the illy Art Collection has been added to over the years by consolidated and upcoming artists, becoming the largest collection of art objects in the world
1995
X1: design and technology for espresso
60 years after Illetta, the grandson Francesco Illy sets up Francis Francis! and creates the X1 for home espresso: it is still a style icon today
1996
James Rosenquist and the new logo
Art and science of Espresso: the legendary American "pop" artist James Rosenquist create the new illy logo, to express uniqueness also in the stroke
1999
l’Università del Caffè
With a mission to spread coffee culture around the world and share knowledge to improve quality, the University of Coffee covers the entire supply chain, from plant to cup
2006
iperEspresso, the third-generation espresso
Thanks to the two infusion and emulsion phases, the Iperespresso capsule, covered by 5 international patents, produces a coffee with an intense aroma and velvety consistency.
2016
Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award
The Premio por la Qualidade do Cafè para Espresso goes global: the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award is launched, paying homage to the talent and hard work of quality growers.


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The history of illycaffè