illy at Salone del Mobile di Milano

Celebrating more than 80 years of coffee between Design and Innovation

Trieste, 08 April 2016 – A story of beauty and innovation that winds through the milestone tales of technological and formal innovation, a long tradition, and the latest creations: this is the multisensory journey that illycaffè is set to take visitors on during the Salone del Mobile starting in Milan on April 12.

It’s an important anniversary year for illycaffè that it is excited to celebrate and share during Design Week - its storehouse of knowledge associated with technology and design applied to the world of coffee -two great passions that have been part of the Illy family’s and the company’s DNA for four generations.

Since 1933, the year of illy’s founding, the company’s continuous and ongoing focus on research, the quality of its products, the “beautiful and the well-made”, has become a beacon of excellence for coffee culture around the globe. The company’s diligent commitment to investing in technology has made it possible to develop radical innovations that have revolutionized how we make, think of and taste coffee:

80 years of illetta
Invented by founder Francesco Illy, the “illetta” is the forerunner of today’s modern espresso machine which introduced for the very first time automatic water flow and the formula of high-pressure coffee.

20 years of X.1
Designed by Luca Trazzi, the X.1 was the first espresso machine by illycaffè to combine aesthetic research & technology in a “retro futuristic” style referencing 1960s and 1970s Italian design, and earned the status of a true design icon. Today, to celebrate 100 years of design (80 for illetta & 20 for X1), illy presents the X1 Anniversary Edition, which includes the latest espresso machine technology and the heritage of illy design.

10 years of Iperespresso
The Iperespresso system, launched by illycaffè in 2006, allows everyone to make a perfect espresso, even at home, with all the qualities of freshness, smoothness, full-body, and aromas, with a rich, persistent and velvety cream, as if a prepared by a barista.
This is possible due to the patented capsule system with a special valve that has a two-phase extraction of coffee:  hyper infusion and emulsion.
Maximum expression of aromas that are conserved and refined over time can be obtained with the inventive illycaffè packaging system that uses the principle of pressurization.

Building on the foundations of these pioneering, leading-edge inventions, illycaffè has now taken the experience of savoring a cup of espresso to a more personal and individual level with the Personal Blender.  Launched as a prototype on the occasion of Expo 2015, the illy designed and patented coffee machine makes it possible to select one’s individual taste profile from the nine ingredients and notes of the illy blend with a remote mobile device.  This invention opens up new horizons, in a world where individual choices trend has great importance especially for younger consumers.

Two installations at Design Week offer people the chance to live the illycaffè experience:

  • At its illyartlab space in the Triennale building, visitors are invited to expand their knowledge and experience of coffee in the “illy Coffee Room. A polysensory journey to discover coffee”, a  multisensory journey through learning and experiential modules.
    At the entrance to illyartLab, visitors will be introduced to the world of coffee through a video that will prepare them to future experiences. Following a kind of initiatory path, they will enter into the “illy Coffee Room”, a completely dark and silent space where they will find, illuminated by a ray of light from above, 9 icons: each of them will introduce – through sounds, aromas, colors and emotions – to the 9 ingredients (nine Arabica coffee varieties coming from different countries) that make up the unique illy blend.

    At the end of the path, through practice and training and with the assistance of an expert, each visitor will discover their personal taste preferences to assemble an individual blend using the Personal Blender.  One leap forward in the process of becoming a connoisseur.
  • On the occasion of the OPEN BORDERS exhibition sponsored by Interni, the historic courtyard at the Università degli Studi di Milano will host the “X.1: the story of a family passion” installation, through which we can retrace the history of illy espresso coffee machines, from illetta to the X.1 Anniversary Edition, created to celebrate 20 years since the first X.1.

    Rounded columns – red-and-white on one side, black-and-white on the other – give the space an anamorphic effect. In the middle of the space stands the illetta; the X.1 Anniversary Edition is on display along the sides, its hallmark pressure gauge featuring the historic illy logo.


illycaffè was founded in Trieste in 1933; the company manufactures and markets a unique blend of 100% Arabica espresso coffee and is the leading brand in top quality coffee. illycaffè has been an official partner of Expo 2015, creating and managing the content, exhibits and events centred on coffee in the common area of the Expo Coffee Cluster. Almost 7 million cups of illy coffee are consumed daily throughout the world. illy coffee is sold in more than 140 countries and is served in over 100,000 of the world’s finest restaurants and cafés. The stores and monobrand illy shops are about 230 in 43 Countries. The company also set up and runs the Coffee University with a view to fostering and spreading the culture of coffee; this centre of excellence provides comprehensive academic and hands-on training for coffee growers, baristas and fans covering every aspect of the product. The company has approximately 1,084 people on its global payroll, and in 2014 posted consolidated revenues of €391 million. illy purchases green coffee beans directly from growers of the highest quality Arabica, based on partnerships underpinned by the principles of sustainable development. Out of its Trieste headquarters the company encourages long-term partnerships with the world’s best growers in Brazil, Central America, India and Africa, sharing know-how and technology and paying higher than market compensation.