Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award

illycaffè takes you on a journey to discover the best harvests from the world’s main coffee producing countries

Trieste, 22 June 2020 – illycaffè, a leading company in high-quality sustainable coffee, takes consumers on a 9-month long sensory journey exploring the 9 best Arabica coffee beans making up illy’s unique blend.

From the largest plantations to tucked-away coffee gardens, starting from June 2020 customers of directly-owned illy Caffè in Italy and around the world will have the chance to enjoy, for just one month, exclusive micro-lots from the best finalist harvests in the fourth edition of the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award, held in New York on October 5th 2019.

The Award – named after the visionary leader of illycaffè, son of the founder of the company and pioneer of the virtuous cooperation with farmers for the production of high-quality sustainable coffee – also serves as a reminder and renewal of illycaffè’s commitment to improving the life of coffee producers around the world.

The best of the world’s coffee production for the 2018-2019 edition of Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award is represented by harvests from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Nicaragua and Rwanda. The “Best of the Best” award was given to Colombian producer association “Spirit of Peace Ex Combatants” – Ascafè, while the winner of the “Coffee Lover’s Choice” honor, bestowed on the producer who received the most votes from consumers through blind tasting events held at selected illy Caffè locations, was Rwanda’s Ngamba Coffee Washing Station for the second consecutive year.

Starting from June 2020 and for the following 9 months until February 2021, illycaffè will offer its customers the chance to try a different taste experience from the world’s best harvests each month. The journey will start from Brazil with notes of chocolate and fresh fruit, then touch down in Colombia and end in Rwanda with a coffee rich in exquisite notes of honey and fresh fruit, exploring – not just through taste – the specificities of each producer country.

The tasting journey is devised to enable consumers to explore the uniqueness of each country and also features an exclusive service: a transparent cup which, like a lens, reveals the exquisiteness of its content and enhances the visual characteristics of each coffee. The cups are paired with specially designed underplates which, along with in-store displays and screens, will guide consumers through the different colors, aromas and flavors of the precious beans. 

In addition, illycaffè will put in place sustainable projects to bring tangible support to the country winner of the “Best of the Best” award. In 2019, the company funded a project for the construction of a classroom for 58 students at Gitega Primary School in Ngororero, Rwanda. The 2020 project will be aimed at building a classroom at a rural school in Colombia’s Cauca region, with the goal of providing a dedicated space to address the issue of sustainability across the entire coffee value chain. 

The tasting calendar is as follows:

June 2020 - Brazil
July 2020 - Colombia – winner of the “Best of the Best” award
August 2020 – Costa Rica
September 2020 - Ethiopia
October 2020 - Guatemala
November 2020 - India
December 2020 - Nicaragua
January 2021 - Honduras
February 2021 – Rwanda – winner of the “Coffee Lover’s Choice” award

The 9 exclusive micro-lots are only available at a small number of selected cafés.
Visit for a list of participating locations.