THE ERNESTO ILLY PRIZE
Some two decades ago, Brazil’s reputation in coffee had been high volume, fair quality. illy’s pioneering work with Brazil’s farmers would change that, helping create wide recognition of, and a market for, stellar, high-quality Arabica.
A major pillar in Brazil’s quality revolution was the Ernesto Illy Prize for Quality Espresso, which since its introduction in 1991 has rewarded the most deserving Arabica farmers with cash. . Over 10,000 coffee farmers have participated in the competition, earning more than $2 million (USD) in prize money. Most farmers have reinvested their winnings back into their farms, proving the potency of a sustainability model with clear objectives.
The award has been instrumental in developing entire high-quality coffee growing regions within the country, such as the areas around Pirajuí (in the State of Sao Paulo), the hinterlands of the Cerrado, and the mountainous regions of the State of Minas Gerais.