lavazza vs illy

Lavazza vs illy Coffee Brands - The Italian Coffee Brand Debate

When people discuss Italian coffee, the debate about the best Italian coffee usually divides opinion. There are two very big coffee brands in Italy, well known to most people, and as the title of our article would suggest, they are Lavazza and illy.

Before we offer our own thoughts on this debate as to which is the best, we think it is worth knowing just a little more about each brand. We have included an overview of each brand just below.

We should however just mention that the contributors here at  The Perfect Grind are also divided in opinion, but we also like both brands. Each of them offers something different to coffee lovers.

If you have not tried both brands, then we strongly encourage you to do so.

Lavazza Brand Overview

This company was founded in Turin, Italy in 1895. There are actually 30 companies within the Lavazza Group that are spread throughout the world. Those companies include Care Noire, Merrild, Kicking Horse, Eraclea and Whittington Tea.

For quite a few years they work with and contribute to sustainability projects in support of local communities in Central and South America, Africa and Asia. That is where they help small coffee producers with programs to improve the local economy, community life (school, working conditions) and environmental protection.

They are of course best known for their coffee beans with their Qualita Rossa being their best known beans.

illy Brand Overview

This company was founded in Trieste, Italy in 1933. This Italian company is known for high quality and the very distinct velvety taste of its coffee. Their coffee is made up of nine types of pure Arabica.

Like Lavazza they also invest with coffee producers in South and Central America, India and Africa. Their brand now operates in 140 countries with over 100,000 retailers selling illy branded coffee.

So now you know just a little about the two brands. For most coffee lovers though, any coffee is really all about the taste. We do of course all of have slightly different tastes, so what each person likes in their coffee is always that little bit different, from what someone else wants in their coffee.

It is therefore hard to be clear as to which of these brands is the best. The good news is that either of these two coffees taste great, and they are very high quality. So if you haven't tried either before, then please do give them a try - you will not be disappointed.

Lavazza vs illy Coffee - What's the Difference?

lavazza vs illy

Lavazza

illy brand coffee

illy

The main difference between illy branded coffee and the Lavazzo branded coffee is the type of beans that are used.

  • illy use only 100% Arabica beans
  • Lavazza in some products use Arabica only, but in some of their products they will use a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans

That is the key difference between these two brands. Most coffee experts agree that the Arabica coffee bean is superior in quality to the Robusta bean.

That said the Robusta bean, when blended with Arabica does add a certain taste to the blend, that many coffee drinkers. I am in that camp as it adds a little bitterness.

Robusta also has more caffeine in the bean but also has lower acid. The majority of Robusta beans are grown in Vietnam. You will find Robusta beans are used in most instant coffees, simply because they are cheaper.

Arabica beans make up about 75% of the coffee production. It is sweeter than the Robusta and has various tones including nuts, chocolate, floral and fruits.

What Coffees Do Lavazza Make?

lavazza vs illy

Lavazza have a number of coffee products on the market. These include:

  • Coffee beans
  • Ground coffee
  • Instant Coffee
  • Espresso Coffee Capsules

We will show you these below so as you have a good understanding of their product range.

Lavazza Coffee Beans

In terms of beans they have two main products which are Qualita Rossa and Cafe Espresso

Qualita Rossa

This is a blend of both Robusta and Arabica beans that delivers a smooth well rounded flavour. These beans are from Brazil and Africa and they are then processed in Italy.

The beans are a medium roast, and it creates a good crema that is a warm cream colour. The aroma is of hints of dried fruit and chocolate. Overall this is considered to be of a mild intensity, and that makes it ideal for drinking at any time.

Lavazza Caffe Espresso

This product is made from 100% Arabica beans. The beans used for this product are from Africa along with both South and Central America.

The beans are a medium roast, and again creates a golden cream colour crema, but this time the aroma is of hints of fruit and flowers.

It is recommended to use these beans in some type of espresso machine and ground to a fine grain.

Lavazza Ground Coffee

For those who don't want the hassle of grinding coffee beans, the Lavazzo brand also have quite a few ground coffee options. These include:

  • iTierra Brazil
  • iTierra Peru
  • Qualita Rossa
  • Caffe Espresso
  • Lavazza Decaffeinated Ground Coffee
  • Cream e Gusto
  • Qualita Oro

iTierra Brazil

This one is made from 100% Arabica beans from the Cerrado plateau in Brazil. This is a strong and intense coffee, which has an amber crema colour with notes of honey and chocolate.

This is a medium roast and a very strong coffee.

iTierra Peru

This one is made from 100% Arabica beans from the slopes of the Andes mountains (Cordillera) in Perul. This is a delicate coffee, which has a golden crema colour with floral notes.

This is a medium roast and mild tasting coffee.

Qualita Rossa

This is simply the ground version of the beans that I described above and remains their best selling product.

This one is made from a blend of both Robusta and Arabica beans that delivers a smooth well rounded flavour. These beans are from Brazil and Africa and they are then processed in Italy.

It will give you a golden crema with chocolate notes and is a medium roast with a delicate and mild intensity.

Caffe Espresso

Likewise this is the ground version of their beans that I have described above. These are made from 100% specially-selected Arabica beans. This particular blend produces a dark, intensely aromatic flavour making it the ultimate espresso coffee to indulge in at any time of day.

The crema is a golden cream colour, with notes of chocolate and caramel, and it has a smooth rich taste.

Lavazza Decaffeinated Ground Coffee

For those who prefer their decaf, then this is their main product in the decaf range. This blend is an aromatic and well-balanced 100% Arabica blend, mainly with the beans grown in Central America

This is a full bodied coffee with a golden crema and notes of dried fruit. It is a mild coffee and not for those who prefer strong coffee.

Crema e Gusto

This product is made from a blend of 70% Robusta beans and 30% Arabica beans. This is strong stuff with a dark amber crema with spicy notes.

This is a pretty intense coffee and ideal for those who prefer their coffee strong.

Qualita Oro

This is their high end ground coffee product made from 100% Arabica beans. They are in fact classed as premium or high grade beans. The beans are mainly from Central and South America.

The cream is a golden colour with soft notes of fruit and flowers, and is a sweet and vert refined taste.

Lavazza Instant Coffee

These can be pretty hard to find in most supermarkets in the UK. You can however get them online and I would certainly recommend giving them a try. They have two main offers in instant coffees:

  1. Lavazza Prontissimo
  2. Lavazza Prontissimo Intenso

Lavazza Prontissimo

This is their mainstream offering. The coffee is made from a blend of soluble 100% Arabica coffee. The beans have had a medium roast and that gives a smooth and well balanced coffee drink.

There are notes of caramel. It is also Gluten free. This is a mild coffee and a good choice for drinking at any time of the day.

Lavazza Prontissimo Intenso

For those who prefer a much stronger coffee then this is the one to go for. This will make a strong dark coffee and the beans are 100% Arabica.

These have a toasted coffee flavour and it is what I would describe as a full and intense cup.

With either of the above options the amount of grams is usually 95 grams and that is enough to make about 50 cups of coffee.

Lavazza Capsules/Pods

In total Lavazzo make a total of 18 different types of pod flavours. Be aware though that you need to have a coffee pod machine that is suitable to accept these type of pods.

Lavazza has three types of machines:

  1. Blue
  2. A Modo Mio
  3. Espresso Point

The "Blue" is their old range and pods can be hard to find. Most pods available these days will be for the A Modo Mio or the Espresso point.

POD/CAPSULE NAME

DESCRIPTION

¡Tierra! Bio Organic

Arabica coffee that makes a sweet espresso with aromatic hints of fruit and biscuits. The dark roast leaves a soft, pleasant aftertaste of chocolate. Good and organic

¡Tierra! Brasile - Cerrado

100% Arabica from Brazil. Notes of honey and chocolate. 

¡Tierra! Perù - Ande

100% Arabica coffee from Peru. Has floral notes.

Qualità Rossa

Blend of Brazilian Arabica and Robusta Makes a full balanced and full-bodied coffee

Passionale

Made from Brazilian, Asian and Central and South American Arabica beans. These are strong with a slightly caramelised flavour and hints of chocolate.

Crema e Gusto

Made from a blend of Brazilian Arabica and African and Asian Robusta. This is a full-bodied and aromatic espresso enhanced by sweet and chocolate notes, slightly spiced

Intenso

The beans are from Central and South American Arabica and Asian and African Robusta. This has a full-bodied taste, with spiced notes and long-lasting aftertaste.

Lungo Dolce

Made from Asian and Central and South American Arabica beans. This has fruity notes for a smooth coffee.

Dek Cremoso

The is made from decaffeinated Brazilian Arabica. This one has a very rich taste.

Qualità Rossa Dek

This one is made from a Brazilian Arabica and South East Asia Robusta blend. These make a full-bodied, well-rounded decaffeinated coffee with aromatic notes of dried fruit and a delicate aftertaste of chocolate.

Qualità Rossa Ristretto

Combines Brazilian Arabica with natural Robusta. This is very rich in flavour. This is a full-bodied coffee.

Delizioso

Made from Brazilian, Asian and South American Arabica beans. This makes a soft and sweet bouquet and a slightly liqueur-like aroma.

Qualità Oro

The beans are from Central and South American 100% Arabica coffee. This is an intense and fragrant, sweet and refined aroma, with a long-lasting aftertaste. Gold standard.

Divino

This is a blend of fine Robusta and Arabica for a velvety espresso with chocolate and liqueur-like notes and a hint of dried fruit.

Lieve Lungo

This is a blend of mild Arabica beans from Brazil, refined with exquisite Arabica beans from Central America. Its floral notes and delicate roasting give this blend a velvety and balanced flavour

Soave

These beans come from Brazilian and Central-South American Arabica, a smooth and light espresso with a dreamy floral touch. Naturally Sophisticated

Magia

The beans are fromArabica of South America, India and Ethiopia, a delicate espresso, with a hint of fruit which rounds off the taste.

Ricco Compostable

The beans are from Brazilian Arabica a balanced and velvety espresso, joyfully rich, in a compostable capsule. Nourishes both you and the environment

That is a list of the full 18 capsules/pods that are currently available.

lavazza vs illy

Lavazza

illy brand coffee

illy

What Coffees Do illy Make?

illy brand coffee

illy have a number of different coffees on the UK market and they include:

  • Whole bean
  • Ground coffee
  • K-CUP Pods
  • E.S.E. Pods
  • Capsules

We will show you these so as you can have a good understanding of what illy products are available on the market.

illy Whole Bean Coffees

They have quite a wide range of beans that include:

  • Whole bean medium roast coffee
  • Whole bean decaffeinated coffee
  • Whole bean dark roast coffee
  • Arabica Selection Whole Bean Colombia
  • Arabica Selection Whole Bean Etiopia
  • Arabica Selection Whole Bean Guatemala
  • Arabica Selection Whole Bean Brasile

This type of whole bean coffee is the best choice for coffee lovers who prefer grinding the beans to suit their own individual taste.

All of their coffee beans are made from fine Arabica coffees. They have a smooth, rich and full-bodied taste.

They are consistent, smooth, balanced, and never bitter. Their beans are packed in an air-free, pressurized can that enhances and seals in the precious aromas and oils.

Whole bean medium roast coffee

This is rich and balanced with notes of caramel and chocolate.

Whole bean decaffeinated coffee

Rich and balanced with notes of caramel with no higher than 0.1% caffeine.

Whole bean dark roast coffee

Intense, robust and full flavored with notes of deep cocoa.

Arabica Selection Whole Bean Colombia

Smooth taste with fruit notes.

Arabica Selection Whole Bean Etiopia

Delicate and aromatic with gentle notes of jasmine.

Arabica Selection Whole Bean Guatemala

Complex and balanced, with notes of chocolate.

Arabica Selection Whole Bean Brasile

Intense and full flavored, with notes of caramel

illy Ground Coffees

They have a number of ground coffees available. These are beans that have been ground and are then suitable for using in various coffee machines and makers.

  • Ground Espresso Medium Roast Coffee
  • Ground Espresso Dark Roast Coffee
  • Ground Espresso Decaffeinated Coffee
  • Ground Moka Coffee

Ground Espresso Medium Roast Coffee

They are of a medium roast and are rich and balanced with notes of caramel and chocolate

Ground Espresso Dark Roast Coffee

These are a dark roast and have an intense, robust and full flavored with notes of deep cocoa

Ground Espresso Decaffeinated Coffee

These are medium roast coffee with a rich and balanced with notes of caramel with no higher than 0.1% caffeine.

Ground Moka Coffee

This is a medium roast with a rich and balanced with notes of caramel and chocolate

illy K-CUP Pods

They have a number of pods available which include:

  • illy® Arabica Selection K-Cup® Pods Colombia
  • illy® Arabica Selection K-Cup® Pods Brasile
  • illy® K-Cup® Pods Extra Dark Roast
  • Keurig® illy® K-Cup® Pods Medium Roast
  • Keurig® illy® K-Cup® Pods Dark Roast
  • illy® K-Cup® Pods Decaffeinated

illy® Arabica Selection K-Cup® Pods Colombia

These pods have a smooth taste with fruit notes

illy® Arabica Selection K-Cup® Pods Brasile

These are intense and full flavored, with notes of caramel

illy® K-Cup® Pods Extra Dark Roast

These are an extra dark roast with an extra bold taste with notes of dark chocolate and caramel

Keurig® illy® K-Cup® Pods Medium Roast

These are medium roast with a rich and balanced with notes of caramel and chocolate

Keurig® illy® K-Cup® Pods Dark Roast

These are a dark roast with an intense, robust and full flavored with notes of deep cocoa

illy® K-Cup® Pods Decaffeinated

These have a rich and balanced with notes of caramel and no higher than 0.1% caffeine.

illy E.S.E. Pods

They have a few options in this type of pod and they include:

  • E.S.E. Pods Decaffeinated
  • E.S.E. Pods Dark Roast
  • E.S.E. Pods Medium Roast

E.S.E. Pods Decaffeinated

They are a medium roast with a rich and balanced with notes of caramel with no higher than 0.1% caffeine.

E.S.E. Pods Dark Roast

These have a dark roast with an intense, robust and full flavored with notes of deep cocoa.

E.S.E. Pods Medium Roast

These have a medium roast with a rich and balanced with notes of caramel and chocolate.

illy Capsules

They do quite a range of capsules which include:

  • iperEspresso Capsule Cube Medium Roast
  • iperEspresso Capsules Medium Roast
  • iperEspresso Capsules Dark Roast
  • iperEspresso Capsules Decaffeinated
  • iperEspresso Capsules Lungo
  • idillyum iperEspresso Capsules
  • iper Coffee Capsule Cube Medium Roast
  • Iper Coffee Capsule Cube Dark Roast

iperEspresso Capsule Cube Medium Roast

This is a medium roast with a rich and balanced with notes of caramel and chocolate

  • iperEspresso Capsules Medium Roast
  • iperEspresso Capsules Dark Roast
  • iperEspresso Capsules Decaffeinated
  • iperEspresso Capsules Lungo
  • idillyum iperEspresso Capsules
  • iper Coffee Capsule Cube Medium Roast
  • Iper Coffee Capsule Cube Dark Roast

iperEspresso Capsules Medium Roast

These are a medium roast with a Rich and balanced with notes of caramel and chocolate

iperEspresso Capsules Dark Roast

As the name would suggest these are a dark roast with an Intense, robust and full flavored with notes of deep cocoa

iperEspresso Capsules Decaffeinated

These are rich and balanced with notes of caramel with no higher than 0.1% caffeine.

iperEspresso Capsules Lungo

These have a rich, balanced taste as medium formulated for a longer coffee.

idillyum iperEspresso Capsules

These have an intriguing and distinctive taste with notes of chocolate, caramel and fruit

iper Coffee Capsule Cube Medium Roast

These have a medium roast with rich notes of caramel and chocolate.

Iper Coffee Capsule Cube Dark Roast

These have a dark roast with an intense, robust and full flavored with notes of deep cocoa.

Conclusion

Most UK buyers like and enjoy drinking Italian coffees. Both of these brands make great tasting coffee. Like most things in life, opinion will always be divided on which one people think is the best.

I have always found that coffee choice always comes down to personal choice, and quite simply what you prefer to drink. Over the years I have been a regular user of both brands, and have never been disappointed with either one.

There are also plenty of other brands out there for coffee lovers. I like to try those out also. Variety is, as they say, the spice of life.

Hopefully you are a little better informed about both the Italian Lavazza and illy brands.

Resources Used

Enda McLarnon
 

Enda McLarnon has a Business Management Honour's Degree and applies his professional insight, to analyse and write helpful product reviews with tips and useful advice. I am also a coffee lover and enjoy tasting all of the coffee types the world has to offer.

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