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Illy vs Lavazza [2023]: Which Is the Best Italian Coffee Brand?

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Discovering Lavazza was like stepping into the real Italian espresso world for me. It was a game-changer! The smell, taste, and even how the beans looked – everything was just different and amazing.

I was hooked.

Lavazza and Illy are both giants in the Italian coffee scene. Illy shines with its espresso, mastering the art like few others. But how does it stack up against Lavazza? It’s tough, like picking between two dear friends. Yet, I’m diving into this challenge. Get ready for the ultimate showdown: Illy vs Lavazza. Who will take the crown?

The Most Unique Thing About Italian Coffee Brands

First, let’s talk a bit about coffee from Italy in general.

Prepare to be amazed! This fun fact will shock even the most casual Italian coffee fans.

What can’t you grow in Italy’s climate?

Coffee beans.

Surprise! Italian coffee beans don’t exist. Italy’s fame in coffee comes from their unmatched skill in making it, not from growing beans.

Today, we’re exploring something unique. The top Cuban coffee brands shine because they stick to Cuban beans. Brazil is a coffee giant, with Brazilian beans dominating global sales. And did you know? Ethiopian coffee is where our coffee journey began.

Italy didn’t grow its own coffee beans but still became a coffee powerhouse. Ever wonder how they mastered espresso and cappuccino, becoming the go-to for top-notch coffee?

Italian coffee roasters have made their mark by perfecting how to find, mix, and roast coffee beans. This skill transforms beans from around the world into the beloved Italian coffee we all enjoy.

What Is Italian Coffee Like?

Italian coffee often features dark roasts that aren’t too oily, with medium roasts also popular. However, light roasts from Italian roasters are rare, but they’re out there if you look!

A cup of coffee, with the crema shaped like Italy

Italian coffee fans adore dark roast because it’s perfect for espresso. Why? Dark roasted beans are porous, letting out rich flavors during brewing. On the other hand, light roasts can lead to a sour espresso, as they often don’t release their flavors as fully. It’s all about getting that deep, delicious taste!

Italy is like two different worlds when it comes to coffee! Up in the north, folks love their coffee made purely from Arabica beans. Head down south, and you’ll find a tasty mix of Arabica and Robusta beans in their cups. It’s a delicious way to explore Italy’s diverse coffee culture.

Illy and Lavazza: The History of Italian Coffee

Italian coffee culture has a rich story, starting in the 16th century when Venice began importing coffee beans. But, the big change came in 1901, thanks to Luigi Bezzera, a coffee historian. He invented a way to make a strong, quick coffee by pushing water through coffee grounds under pressure. This brilliant idea gave birth to what we now love and know as espresso.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Italy saw the rise of several coffee brands. Among them, Illy and Lavazza stood out, capturing a large part of Italy’s coffee scene and winning fans worldwide. Illy, officially called Illycaffè S.p.A., started in 1933 in Trieste, Italy. Its founder, Francesco Illy, was a World War I officer with a knack for innovation. He created the first coffee maker that used compressed air, paving the way for today’s espresso machines. These brands aren’t just coffee sellers; they’re pioneers in the coffee world, shaping how we enjoy our daily brew.

Founded in 1895 in Turin, Italy, Lavazza was the brainchild of Italian entrepreneur Luigi Lavazza. Today, this iconic coffee brand is still in the hands of the 3rd or 4th generation of the Lavazza family, keeping the tradition alive.

Illy vs Lavazza: Type of Coffee Beans

Illy exclusively selects 100% Arabica beans for their coffee, famed for their sweet taste and distinctive flavors. This decision significantly boosts their status as a premium coffee brand.

A side-by-side look at Arabica and Robusta coffee beans

Lavazza loves Arabica beans, often mixing in 20% to 40% Robusta for a kick. Some of their blends are all Arabica, but adding Robusta gives your coffee an earthy taste and more caffeine. Want a bolder coffee or creamier espresso? A mix of Arabica and Robusta beans is your best bet. Dive into the world of blends for that perfect cup!

The Quality of Illy vs Lavazza

Lavazza shines in Italy, thanks to their ground coffee. It’s the top pick for the cherished Italian Moka Pot. What sets Lavazza apart? They mix in Robusta beans, known for their bold flavor and extra caffeine. This blend brews a superior cup in Moka Pots compared to using only Arabica beans.

Illy shines in the Italian espresso scene, offering a luxurious sip compared to Lavazza.

Illy vs Lavazza: Coffee Tastes and Varieties

Lavazza’s coffees

Lavazza offers 19 unique blends, each bursting with its own special taste. Here’s a sneak peek at some of them.

Lavazza Espresso Italiano

  • One 2.2 pound bag of Lavazza Espresso whole bean coffee
  • Roast: Medium
  • Intensity: 5/10 Delicate
  • Aromatic Notes: Fruity and Floral
  • Blend: 100% arabica
  • Best used for espresso but also suitable in any coffee maker

Dive into the world of 100% Arabica coffee, where the flavors are rich but not too intense. Meet Espresso Italiano, a medium-roast delight crafted from Central and South American beans. This blend offers a full-bodied experience with a highly aromatic twist, featuring hints of fruits and flowers.

Lavazza Gran Espresso

  • One 2.2 pound bag of Lavazza Gran Espresso Italian whole coffee beans
  • Balanced and rich flavor medium roast with notes of cocoa and black pepper
  • Blended and roasted in Italy
  • Best used with Espresso machine
  • Produced in a nut-free facility center, Contains only coffee

Gran Espresso dazzles with its rich, full flavor and enticing aroma. It’s a medium roast that perfectly balances the bold tastes of cocoa and black pepper. This blend mixes 40% Arabica and 60% Robusta beans, promising a truly stimulating experience.

Lavazza Super Crema

  • One bag of 2.2 lb Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend
  • Roast: Light/ Medium
  • Taste: Mild and creamy
  • Aromatic Notes: Hazelnut and brown sugar
  • Blend: 60% Arabica and 40% Robusta
  • Best used in espresso machine
  • Contains only coffee

My top pick blends 60% Arabica with 40% Robusta beans, creating the Super Crema. It’s wonderfully aromatic and full-bodied, perfect for a creamy coffee. With delightful hints of hazelnut and brown sugar, this medium roast is a real treat.

Lavazza Crema E Gusto

  • 2.2LB bag of Lavazza Crema e Gusto Whole Bean coffee
  • Taste: Full-bodied
  • Roast: Dark
  • Aromatic Notes: Spices notes
  • Composition: 100% Arabica
  • Origin: Mainly Central and South America

Crema E Gusto brings together dark roasted Brazilian Arabica and robust beans from Africa and Indonesia. This blend creates a rich, full-flavored coffee that’s both aromatic and spicy, offering a perfectly balanced and intense experience.

Illy’s coffees

Illy keeps it simple with a smaller range of coffee beans, focusing on their star, the Classico roast. Their main coffees, including the Classico, mix beans from 9 different places into a secret blend. While they keep the exact recipe under wraps, you can explore the flavors in their Arabica Selections to get a hint of what’s inside.

Illy Classico

  • FULL-FLAVORED ILLY WHOLE BEAN COFFEE - Start your adventure with fresh coffee beans and lingering sweetness and delicate notes of caramel, orange blossom, and jasmine
  • PREPARE COFFEE WITH EASE - Evoke a classic Italian beverage at any time. Coffee is to be freshly prepared and enjoyed immediately. Create the finest coffee experience in the comfort of your home
  • FLAVORFUL & FRESH - Over the years, illy has perfected the roasting process to obtain a coffee with a rich aromatic profile, balanced flavor and a one-of-a-kind aroma of arabica coffee beans
  • WE BRING THE TASTE OF ITALY TO YOU - We’ve spent eight decades refining a singular, signature blend celebrated over the world as the pinnacle of what whole bean coffee can be
  • SUSTAINABILITY IS OUR VISION - We pride ourselves on the constant focus on our environment and the community. We are part of a global movement with a common goal: to pave the way for a better, more liveable and more enlightened world

Discover the sweet taste of Illy’s Classico Medium Roast, with hints of caramel, jasmine, and orange blossom.

Illy Intenso

  • FULL-FLAVORED ILLY WHOLE BEAN COFFEE - Start your adventure with fresh coffee beans that have a bold roast and pleasantly robust finish with warm notes of cocoa and dried fruit
  • PREPARE COFFEE WITH EASE - Evoke a classic Italian beverage at any time. Coffee is to be freshly prepared and enjoyed immediately. Create the finest coffee experience in the comfort of your home
  • FLAVORFUL & FRESH - Over the years, illy has perfected the roasting process to obtain a coffee with a rich aromatic profile, balanced flavor and a one-of-a-kind aroma of arabica coffee beans
  • WE BRING THE TASTE OF ITALY TO YOU - We’ve spent eight decades refining a singular, signature blend celebrated over the world as the pinnacle of what whole bean coffee can be
  • SUSTAINABILITY IS OUR VISION - We pride ourselves on the constant focus on our environment and the community. We are part of a global movement with a common goal: to pave the way for a better, more liveable and more enlightened world

Illy is famous in Italy for its espresso, so it’s no surprise they offer a dark roast. The Illy Intenso Dark Roast takes the same beans as their Classico blend but roasts them longer. This extra step gives it a strong flavor, with delicious notes of cocoa and dried fruit.

Illy Forte

Illy’s Forte extra bold roast is their richest, bursting with a deep toast smell and dark chocolate flavors.

I usually don’t suggest going for Forte coffee. Why? It’s only available pre-ground, not as whole beans. That’s a big deal for freshness. Sure, Illy packs it in special steel containers filled with a gas that keeps it fresh longer. But, once you open it, the freshness fades fast. So, it’s something to think about when choosing your coffee.

Illy Arabica Selection Collection

Exploring Illy’s single-origin coffees is a journey of flavors! Each type, from Indian to Brazilian, Guatemalan, Ethiopian, Costa Rican, and Colombian coffee beans, brings its own special taste. Discover what makes the Illy blend so unique by tasting these quality roasts. It’s a perfect way for beginners to explore the world of coffee.

Other Products From Illy and Lavazza

Ready to drink coffees

Illy is now offering delicious ready-to-drink coffee options! Check out Illy’s coffee drinks like the smooth Classico Cold Brew, creamy Cappuccino, rich Caffe Latte, sweet Mochaccino, classic Caffe, and even a Caffe unsweetened version. While Lavazza offers similar drinks in Europe, they’re not yet in the US.

Instant coffee

While both brands offer fewer choices in instant coffee compared to their whole beans, grounds, and capsules, the Lavazza Intenso and Illy blend instant coffees stand out for their quality.

Coffee makers

These two coffee giants have been in the game for ages, exploring every coffee corner. It’s natural they’d dive into creating espresso makers and coffee machines, bringing their rich experience into your cup.

  • Effortlessly prepare Espresso and coffee with easy to use one-touch operation
  • Compact design with fully frontal use (4. 80" X 10. 60" X 10. 50")
  • Room for two cups and the commands make it possible to memorize and select two different Espresso sizes
  • Water tank: removable, Can be refilled even when the machine is in function; capacity 0. 70 liters (23. 70 oz)
  • Works with illy iperEspresso capsules

Illy has zoomed in on making coffee capsule machines. Their iperEspresso machines are a lot like Nespresso ones. I won’t compare them in detail, but while Nespresso is known for better machines, Illy shines for the tastier coffee it produces. Perfect for those who prioritize flavor in their cup!

Lavazza knows variety is key, especially with coffee machines. They offer two types: Lavazza Blue and Lavazza Espresso Point. But for most coffee lovers, the Lavazza Blue Classy Mini is the top pick. It’s their standout choice for everyday use, blending style and function perfectly.

Not into pod machines? For a taste of traditional Italian coffee, try the Lavazza Carmencita. It’s a modern twist on the beloved Moka pot, a staple in Italian kitchens. Perfect for classic coffee enthusiasts!

Other Notable Italian Coffee Brands

Vergnano

  • Medium Espresso Roast
  • Whole bean coffee in vacuum bag
  • 80% Arabica / 20% Robusta blend for perfect espresso coffee
  • Delicate, fragrant, full-bodied
  • Imported from Italy

Caffè Vergnano, with roots stretching back to 1882, stands among Italy’s coffee legends. Balancing rich tradition with innovative twists, they’ve mastered the art of coffee. Their star offering, Espresso Crema, blends Arabica and Robusta beans for a deliciously sweet, chocolatey taste.

Danesi

  • Danesi Gold: 92% Arabica and 8% Robusta beans make a perfect Italian espresso flavor
  • If you search for a 100% Arabica espresso coffee, please try our Manaresi Blu, the perfect smooth espresso form the Tuscany region with a lingering aftertaste
  • Please call us 800 746 6174 Italian Bean Delight for all upcoming questions in regards of espresso flavor and crema problems
  • True Italian Quality - fresh imported each second month

Danesi’s Caffe Espresso Gold is a special brew crafted from 100% Arabica beans, celebrated for its smooth, sweet, and rich taste. What sets it apart, though, is the surprising twist of lemon hints mingled with chocolate flavors—a combination you might not expect in your coffee cup. Plus, it’s worth noting that Danesi is a pioneer in quality, being among the first roasters to earn the ISO 9001 certification for their roasting techniques.

Segafredo

Segafredo stands out for its distinctive, rectangular vacuum-sealed coffee bags. Over the years, they’ve grown a lot, but they still mainly get their Arabica and Robusta beans from Peru, Brazil, and Costa Rica. This commitment to quality beans is what makes their coffee special.

Kimbo

Italian coffee usually favors Arabica beans, but Kimbo is different. Their Extra Cream Espresso mix flips the script with 35% Arabica and 65% Robusta beans. Want a thick, creamy layer on top of your espresso? Kimbo is your go-to. Give it a try for a rich coffee experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Illy or Lavazza make coffee pods?

Yes! Both Illy and Lavazza have a few varieties of coffee pods.

There are Illy k-cups available for their Classico, Intenso, Forte, and decaffeinated blends. They’ve even added Keurig pods for several of their Brazilian and Colombian single-origin roasts. 

Lastly, Illy has capsules for their own machine: the iperEspresso.

Lavazza offers several varieties of k-cups, including their Espresso Italiano, Classico, and Gran Aroma light roast. They also have a line of Nespresso OriginalLine capsules, and these are some of the best Nespresso-compatible capsules on the market.

Of course, Lavazza also offers capsules for their own machines: the Blue and the Espresso Point.

Do Illy and Lavazza have decaf coffee beans?

Yep! If you are looking for decaf options, Illy and Lavazza both have them.

The decaf variant of Illy’s famous blend is available as ground coffeewhole beansk-cupsiperEspresso capsules, and E.S.E. pods.

All of those are based on their Classico medium roast, decaffeinated by steaming and then rinsing with dichloromethane or ethyl acetate. This is a common approach to decaffeination, but it takes out too much of the flavor, which is why the Swiss Water Process is preferred by most high-end brands.

Lavazza has both medium-roast and dark-roast decaf options, and these are available as ground coffeewhole beansk-cupsKeurig Rivo podsNespresso capsulesLavazza Blue capsules, and Lavazza Espresso Point capsules.

Lavazza uses a carbon dioxide decaffeination method that is more environmentally friendly than Illy’s process and leaves much more flavor and aroma in the beans. It’s comparable in product quality to the Swiss Water Process, but not quite as good for the environment.

  • FULL-FLAVORED ILLY WHOLE BEAN COFFEE - Start your adventure with fresh decaf coffee beans and lingering sweetness and delicate notes of caramel, toasted bread, and chocolate
  • PREPARE COFFEE WITH EASE - Evoke a classic Italian beverage at any time. Coffee is to be freshly prepared and enjoyed immediately. Create the finest coffee experience in the comfort of your home
  • FLAVORFUL & FRESH - Over the years, illy has perfected the roasting process to obtain a coffee with a rich aromatic profile, balanced flavor and a one-of-a-kind aroma of arabica coffee beans
  • WE BRING THE TASTE OF ITALY TO YOU - We’ve spent eight decades refining a singular, signature blend celebrated over the world as the pinnacle of what whole bean coffee can be
  • SUSTAINABILITY IS OUR VISION - We pride ourselves on the constant focus on our environment and the community. We are part of a global movement with a common goal: to pave the way for a better, more liveable and more enlightened world

Which One Is the Best Italian Coffee Brand: Illy vs Lavazza?

It’s no secret: Illy coffee comes with a higher price tag. Sometimes, it’s 2-3 times pricier than others. If you’re willing to spend more, its smooth and refined taste could be worth it. However, Lavazza beans are also a great choice, offering quality that stands out from what you usually find at the grocery store.

Choosing between these two is a win-win! Both offer top-notch espresso beans and tasty medium or dark roast for filter coffee. Whichever you pick, you’ll dive into the rich coffee culture Italy is famous for, and truly understand why it’s celebrated worldwide.

Waking up to the smell of fresh Italian coffee brewing is a joy everyone loves. Simply magnificent.

illy vs lavazza

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