The Coffee Cluster: A Physical and Digital Venue

From 1 May, everything you wanted to know about coffee with illy on physical and virtual tours

As the Official Coffee Partner at Expo Milan 2015, illycaffè has organized the content and activities at the Coffee Cluster, a hyper-technological space that offers visitors a chance to experience a genuine digital adventure.
Visitors to the Coffee Cluster – including people who cannot physically make it to the themed pavilion – will be part of the greatest ever celebration of coffee, embarking on a high-tech adventure through the world of coffee via the digital projects illycaffè has developed.

The Digital Coffee Experience begins with a complete online replica of the Coffee Cluster. The Digital Coffee Cluster (which goes live online from 1 May at is an exact replica of the exhibition space at the Cluster in Milan. Navigating through a 3D architectural model of the pavilion, online visitors learn all about coffee “from plant to cup”, hear the stories of people who work at the various stages of a process that transforms coffee beans into one of the world’s most popular beverages, and watch a series of videos on the history of coffee and how it has inspired creativity. The Digital Coffee Cluster will help promote coffee-related culture in an innovative and entertaining way: through videos and written material, games to pick the perfect bean or coffee, animated illustrations and three-dimensional images.

In this blend of virtual and physical, visitors to the online Digital Coffee Cluster can book guided tours of the actual physical Cluster pavilion in Milan. Once on site, visitors can choose between either a classic or digital reality tours. As they travel through the Cluster, accompanied by an expert guide, visitors access specially developed content by wearing cutting-edge Epson Moverio glasses that allow them to record their tours. Then, when they get back home, visitors can play back their very own personal “Coffee Experience”. Reality tours of the Cluster with Epson Moverio smart glasses are scheduled three times per day.

“We have pulled out all the stops for the digital version of the Coffee Cluster because we want to offer as wide an audience as possible the chance to be part of the greatest celebration of coffee in history,” says Andrea Illy, Chairman and CEO of illycaffè. “We will continue to enrich and revitalize the Digital Coffee Cluster with new material. Our intention is to turn it into a true legacy for the world of coffee after the Universal Exposition is over.”

At a series of special events, Oculus Rift technology further enhances tours of the Coffee Cluster by offering a chance to take an immersive trip to a coffee plantation.

illycaffè, with headquarters in Trieste, produces and markets a unique blend of espresso coffee and is the leading brand in the high-end segment of the coffee market. illycaffè is the official partner of Expo 2015 and it takes charge of the content project and management, the exhibitions and the events associated to coffee, in the Coffee Cluster common area. More than 6 million cups of illy espresso coffee are enjoyed every day. Sold in more than 140 countries around the world, illy is available in more than 100,000 of the world’s best restaurants and cafés. espressamente illy, the Italian-style coffee franchising chain, is present with 230 outlets in more than 30 countries to date. To grow and spread the culture of coffee, the company has established Coffee University, a center of excellence that offers full training in all aspects of coffee theory and practice to growers, baristas and coffee lovers. Globally, the company employs around 1,050 people and, in 2013, recorded consolidated sales of € 373.9 million. illycaffé buys green coffee directly from growers of the best Arabica through partnerships based on sustainable development. Working with the best growers in the world – in Brazil, Central America, India, Africa and China – the Trieste-based company develops long-term relationships that transfer know-how and technology to growers while paying above the market rate for their production.