Italian Coffee Beans: Comprehensive Guide to All the Big Italian Brands
Italian coffee has been synonymous with great coffee since the day that Achille Gaggia filed for the first patenet for an espresso coffee machine. Interestingly enough no coffee is grown in Italy at all however Italians have perfected the art of roasting coffee to create the perfect espresso and espresso based beverages. Italian coffee beans (or more precisely, Italian roasted coffee beans) are famous around the world with many displays being seen in coffee shops around the globe. We have created this guide to give an overview of the more famous Italian brands out there, and to help you decide which one will suit your taste best. The 6 big Italian coffee brands out there are: Illy, Lavazza, Danesi, Fantini, Kimbo and Segafredo. We will start with the two most popular namely, Illy and Lavazza
Illy or Illycafe as it is correctly known is one of the most famous Italian coffees in the world. The name Illy comes from the surname of their founder and is currently run by the third generation grandson Andrea Illy. Illy has only one signature blend of coffee which is roasted in different degrees. More recently Illy has launched a range of single origin coffee blends from Brazil, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Colombia, Costa Rica, and India (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illy) Illy’s signature blend is a 100% Arabica blend whose exact constituents are unknown. Their coffee is stored in their signature 3kg steel canisters and preserved by means of methylene chloride to replace the oxygen in the steel canister.
Lavazza, like Illy, gets its name from their original founder, Luigi Lavazza. Lavazza’s famous blue logo reads “Italy’s favourite coffee” which is a self- proclaimed award but it is indeed enjoyed in many parts of Italy. Lavazza has a range of coffees from 100% Arabica coffee blends to robusta-arabica mixes. The exact origins of Lavazza coffee beans are also unpublicized however it is known that most of their coffee beans hail from South America with Brazil probably being their biggest import. Lavazza is also famous worldwide for their Lavazza calander which features a number of almost clothe-less models covered in some well placed coffee beans (probably Lavazza beans :-))
Danesi or Danesi Caffe was founded in 1905 by Alfredo Danesi. Danesi has 5 signature blends including Doppio Danesi, Gold Quality, Emerald, Classic and Naturally Decaff coffee bean blends. Danesi, despite not having the brand appeal of Illy and Lavazza, has seen a lot of success worldwide due to their easy drinking blends. Danesi also has expanded into a range of soft and hard pods to try to increase their domestic footprint.
Segafredo or Segafredo Zanetti has a turnover of over $1.2B making it a similar size to Lavazza. Segafredo was founded by Massimo Zanetti and has since added a large retail part of their business on top of their coffee bean supply. Segafredo branded shops can be seen in a number of airports worldwide which has helped to boost the brand across the globe. Their packaging system is also unique and the Segafredo “brick” or vacuum sealed coffee bean packs can be seen in a number of retail outlets in over 100 countries. Segafredo acquires its green beans from 3 main countries: Peru, Brazil and Costa Rica and Segafredo has setup a green bean processing plant inside of Brazil where it processes most of its coffee beans.
Fantini is a more economical Italian coffee bean brand with prices starting at about half of that of Illy and Lavazza. Fantini has 2 major blends namely “3 Star Espresso” and “Extra Bar Espresso”. 3 Star is a blend of 100% Arabica beans whereas Extra Bar has that extra kick due to its robusta content. Fantini’s other 5 blends are named:
- 4 star excellence
Fantini is involved in everything coffee from coffee beans to filter coffee to soft and hard pods.
Kimbo is one of the fastest growing Italian coffees in the world today. Kimbo has grown quickly in popularity throughout northern Italy and has at the same time seen a big explosion in worldwide distribution. Like most other Italian coffees, the majority of Kimbo is harvested in Brazil. Kimbo today can be found in some of the most high-end coffee bars in London, Johannesburg and Paris.
Italian coffee beans come in all sorts of blends and roasts and although Italian coffee might not be able to guarantee the freshness of your local roaster, they do bring with them years of experience, coffee know-how and buying power. Italian roasted coffee beans still today have the most history and “coffee-knowledge” behind them and to drink coffee without having experienced a true Italian coffee is a pleasure not yet fulfilled.
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