The history of illycaffè in Brazil at the end of the eighties, when the company searched for coffee beans for its exclusive blend. Upon finding a market that only sold coffee as a commodity, with little value and poor quality, illycaffè trusted in the potential of the Country and its coffee. A new chapter in the history of the coffee production in Brazil was then written.
The many visits conducted by Dr. Ernesto Illy throughout the countryside proved to the producers that there was a market willing to buy and pay more for a superior quality product. The presence and support of illycaffè gave a new strength for the supply chain, offering tools and mechanisms for the development of this new kind of product. In addition to the investment for the best beans, illycaffè chose to recognize the hard work of the producers that embraced the principles of quality and sustainability. In 1991 it was created an award that would become one of the most important honors on the subject of quality in the country: the Prêmio Brasil de Qualidade do Café para Espresso (Brazil Quality Award for Espresso Coffee). Since 2008, the competition is named Ernesto Illy Quality Award for Espresso Coffee, as homage to the late honorary president of the company. Now in its 21st edition, the award has already bestowed more than US$ 4 million to coffee growers.
Minas Gerais (Brazil) demonstrated the excellence of its specialty coffees at the 26th Ernesto Illy Award for Quality Coffee for Espresso. Arabica beans from three different regions within the state were recognized as the best of the 2016/2017 crop by the illycaffè prize, which elected CBI Agropecuária, from Chapada de Minas; Juliana Armelin, from Cerrado Mineiro and Rafael Marques de Araújo, from Matas de Minas as champions in the national producers’ category.
The Clube illy do Café (illy Coffee Club) was created in June 2000 and has today more than 600 members. Through the Club, illycaffè can bring together its main suppliers and reward them for adhering to its concepts of high quality and loyalty on supplying the best coffee beans. The partners receive informative materials such as videos, booklets and newsletters in order to keep them up-to-date with the newest subjects and important trade news. The benefits also include free courses and seminars at the Università del Caffè del Brasile, and special deals in the acquisition of illycaffè products through deals established by the Clube illy do Café. There are also exclusive meetings for the partner and visits to the farms, which are the highlights of the program, for they offer the coffee growers the chance to establish a network and to exchange experiences and technologies under the orientation of specialists and technicians from the company.
Assicafé, a laboratory that works exclusively with the brand in Brazil, conducted the analysis and sorting of the coffee beans. The 40 finalist samples of the 22nd edition of the prize were assessed by Brazilian and foreign specialists using state-of-the-art selection techniques, under the coordination of Dr. Aldir Alves Teixeira, Diretor Geral da Experimental Agrícola do Brasil.