Four Pillars

illy’s relationships with farmers who nurture the world’s finest Arabica are– personal, long-lasting and founded on strong mutual benefit, resting on four key pillars:

1. Selection

The process starts with illy agronomists and technicians combing four continents for the best growers of Arabica, and for growers with the potential to become the best, by willing to commit to illy quality standards.  Selection protocols vary, recognizing the on-the-ground realities of each country.  In Brazil, for example, growers are chosen though a competition, The Ernesto Illy Quality Prize for Espresso.

2. Training and Incentives

Agronomists from illy’s Università of Caffè program transfer 80 years of coffee experience and wisdom to growers, spanning in-field cultivation techniques through business management strategies —an exchange aimed at quality and respect for the environment.

3. Recognize Quality. Guarantee a Profit.

The only way to truly sustainable production is through rewarding farmers who achieve high quality standards.  illy does just that by adding a substantial margin to international market Arabica prices, directly paying farmers a premium that accounts for the greater cost and effort required to achieve superior quality.

4. Build a Community and Culture of Excellence

The right kind of culture naturally spreads, and creates interest among the like-minded.  Illy’s works every day to develop a culture of coffee excellence throughout its growing regions, in a variety of creative ways.  For example, il Clube illy do Café.
In 2000, illy founded the Clube illy do Cafè in Brazil which now includes more than 600 growers. Through the program, illy establishes direct relationships with thegrowers, based on the exchange of knowledge and mutual growth.