Francesco Illy founded illy coffee in 1933, and his invention of illyta in 1935 was described as a guide for modern espresso machines. The innovative packaging method, based primarily on the pressurization system, made possible illy's first exports to Sweden and the Netherlands in the 1940s. Francesco Illy's packaging method ensured that the coffee remained as fresh as the first day during transportation and storage.
Francesco's son Ernesto had a doctorate in chemistry and joined the company in the late 1940s. With his passion for learning, which started in his home laboratory on the chemistry of coffee, illy's scientific and technological research efforts rose. He pioneered the development of the company in the 1950s and managed to sell coffee by packaging it in smaller boxes for the first time , thus entering homes. In 1965, the company moved its headquarters to Via Flavia, Trieste , where it is currently located.
Dr. Illy introduced the ESE Pod in 1974, making the company a world leader in coffee innovation . Ese Pods are the first pre-sized espresso pods, making it simple to make quality espresso at home or in the bar. In 1988, he introduced and patented a digital coffee sorting machine to detect the highest quality coffee beans individually and precisely at their source.
In the 1990s, illy introduced its ART COLLECTION to the world, its new logo designed by the famous pop-art artist James Rosenquist, and its excellence in coffee cultivation. Today illy has the same meaning as “ Premium Italian Coffee ” in over 140 countries. Under the guidance of Ernesto's son, Andrea Illy, illy continues its tradition of innovation and coffee excellence.
1933- FOUNDATION OF ILLYCAFFÈ
Francesco Illy , of Hungarian origin, goes from Vienna to the coffee city of Trieste at the end of the First World War. He founded illycaffè in 1933 with the dream of offering the best coffee in the world.
illycaffè patented the revolutionary pressurization system that it still uses to package its products today. Thanks to this system, properly matured coffee can maintain its aroma and freshness as it travels around the world.
1935- FIRST HIGH PRESSURE ESPRESSO MACHINE: ILLETTA
Illetta, the first modern espresso machine , was designed with a patented system that offers separate water heating and pressurization processes.
1939- ILLYCAFFÈ IN EUROPE
illycaffè became the ambassador of espresso culture in Europe and began exporting through its first foreign base in Switzerland.
1957- FIRST RESEARCH LABORATORY
Ernesto Illy joined the company after his doctorate in chemistry and established the first research laboratory, creating a joint synergy with prestigious international science institutes.
1957- ACHIEVING QUALITY AT HOME
With the new product department, small cylindrical cans were designed for home use and filled with ground coffee.
1962- GROWTH CONTINUES IN EUROPE
The company reached Northern Europe and opened its first branch in the Netherlands .
1965- NEW HEADQUARTERS
illycaffè moved its headquarters to Via Flavia, where it remains today. At this time, Ernesto Illy began to focus on international developments, which was the dream of the founder.
1974- THE FIRST SINGLE PORTION COFFEE ON THE MARKET
illy was the first company to market the coffee pod, which allows you to make perfect espresso at any time and place with a single serving dose of compressed ground coffee: this innovation paved the way for illy's internationalization. You can find illy ese pod coffee varieties here.
1980- ILLY IN AMERICA
With the first Italian roasting machine imported to America , espresso culture was carried across the ocean.
1982- FINE QUALITY IN EACH COFFEE BEAN
illy coffee has patented a digital coffee sorting machine that analyzes the color and shape of beans to make sure each one is perfect.
1991- A PIONEER IN SELECTION OF ORIGIN
In order to obtain the best quality coffee, The Prêmio Ernesto Illy de Qualidade do Café para Espresso was created, thanks to the collaboration of Ernesto Illy and his daughter Anna, transforming coffee production in Brazil. In this way, a direct relationship began to be established with coffee growers, right at the source.
1992- ILLY ART COLLECTION
Beauty and harmony. Francesco Illy came up with the idea of an iconic trophy designed by Matteo Thun. A contemporary interpretation of the centuries-old decorative porcelain art, illy Art Collection was designed by up-and-coming artists and has become the world's largest collection of art objects over the years. You can view illy art collection series products here.
1992- COMMUNICATION OF THE UNIQUE ILLY BLEND
A new advertising campaign designed by Riccardo Illy and focused on the uniqueness of the illy blend confirms the brand's leadership in bars and homes with its high-quality Arabica coffees from 9 different origins.
1995- X1: DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY FOR ESPRESSO
60 years after the Illetta machine, his grandson Francesco Illy founded Francis Francis and produces the X1 machine , which makes it possible to make espresso at home and is still a style icon today. You can view other Francis Francis brand capsule machines here.
1996- JAMES ROSENQUIST AND THE NEW LOGO
The legendary name of popular art, American artist James Rosenquist, created a new illy logo to express uniqueness among his brush strokes.
AromaLab, opened in the Trieste Science Park area, is a laboratory that works on a single aroma, creating the unique illy blend.
1999- L'UNIVERSITÀ DEL CAFFÈ
L'UNIVERSITÀ DEL CAFFÈ (Coffee University) was opened with the mission of spreading coffee culture all over the world, sharing knowledge to improve quality, and providing information about the entire production chain from bean to coffee.
2001- CHANGE OF TIN CANS
The 250 gr tin cans, designed for the home as a miniature version of the coffee used in cafes, quickly became an international icon. Discover the unique illy blend in cans.
2002- SEBASTIÃO SALGADO
The great photographer Sebastião Salgado embarks on a journey to coffee heaven to pay tribute to the men and women who grow coffee. He completed the project, which he carried out by traveling to 10 countries for 14 years, with the exhibition "The Scent of a Dream" .
2003- SINGLE BRAND STORES
illy coffee launches the espressamente illy project, an authentic Italian bar initiative. illy Caffe and illy shop will continue this initiative in 2015.
2006- 3RD GENERATION ESPRESSO: IPERESPRESSO
Thanks to the brewing and emulsion phase, IPERESPRESSO capsules , covered by 5 international patents, consistently offer coffee with intense aroma and velvety consistency. Check out Iperespresso capsules.
2007- PERFECT MOKA POT
illy researchers develop a new coffee pot that "does not burn the coffee" so that Italians can better feel the sensory properties of their favorite coffee.
illy entered the share capital of Mitaca, an expert in office-specific systems.
2008- READY TO DRINK ILLY
In cooperation with Coca Cola, bottles offering ready-to-drink cold coffee have made the unique illy blend accessible everywhere.
2011- RESPONSIBLE SUPPLY CHAIN
Andrea Illy brings the idea of documenting sustainability to life. The RSCP certificate issued by DNV GL evaluates all stakeholders in the chain in terms of economic, social and environmental aspects.
2013- THIN BOX
Designed in line with the European Union's 20-20-20 targets, illy's new slim box is the first home design box made from pressurized and flexible materials.
2013- THE MOST ETHICAL COMPANY
illycaffe was listed for the first time in the World's Most Ethical Companies list prepared by the Ethisphere Institute.
2015- EXPO MILAN
The biggest coffee celebration in history : illy hosted the Coffee Cluster pavilion, which was visited by 13 million people, in addition to the special programs and events it coordinated with Expo 2015 and the International Coffee Organization, of which it is an official partner.
2019- ERNESTO ILLY INTERNATIONAL COFFEE AWARD
Established in 1991, Premio por la Qualidade do Cafè para Espresso goes global: (Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award) The Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award begins handing out awards to pay tribute to the talent and hard work of quality producers. In this way, it celebrates excellence in growing the highest quality coffee beans in sustainable ways to deliver the best coffee to the world.