Illy’s Current Direction

I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow upon seeing the following photos (via Gizmodo):

Quite cool, but a shame it is all backed up by a pod machine that serves really quite a different espresso from that you can read about it the books that had previously defined Illy within the industry.

It is interesting to see where they are choosing to go.  It seems we hear less and less about the coffee and more about position, branding and identity.  I have no doubt that behind it all is a roastery that would blow my mind, roasting some good greens and doing it with knowledge and care.  Perhaps as a company they feel that there is no more mileage in talking about the coffee, or that it is now getting drowned in a sea of noise or perhaps that their positioning has been sufficiently successful and that people do see them as the highest quality Italian coffee.

I’d certainly love the budget and room for experimentation and research that they have!

So – who wants a crate cafe?

12 Comments

  1. I’m a sucker for design, and that’s just plain cool- Even if the coffee is lame

  2. somehow I don’t think the open plan toilet will catch on…

  3. That’s some serious hotness! I think it would be very cool to build the new Spro just like that.

    But really, Illy is a very large, multinational corporation – is it “odd” to see them move to super-automatic espresso machines? Certainly it’s disappointing, but is it really surprising?

    Starbucks has set the standard for large-scale retail coffee operations. They do it best. All of us know how difficult, invovled and costly it is to train a proper barista. All of us also know the pain of that training only to see that person leave. If I was running a company as large as these people I know that a super-auto solution would be hard to ignore.

  4. I think I’m with jepy on this one; that is some good design right there. I recently saw an Illy auto-pod machine in action. There was crema (a little shocking). Didnt bother to taste it because the water looked just about boiling and thats all I’ll say.

  5. I started my ‘coffee life’ at Illy university, great place, great people…but the moment you leave factory and want to have a cup of Illyespresso else where, even in Trieste, Illy is so bad tasting. As for espressamente bars, fabulous concept, but have you try espresso or cappuccino there (Frankfurt airport, London, Milan…)? So sad… and like that almost everywhere. Just logo, no taste! I have to admit, i’m in love with the concept and blend ( so many don’t like the taste but..) and i miss illy in my caffe but whats the point of putting so much in branding and positioning when you have not so many places to enjoy in proper Illy taste!? Thats why i moved on, no logo, just taste! As for their ‘Cube’ machine, gives really good shot for pods, crema and taste, just that there is Nespresso…as for Fransis, better with having your own grinder or ground coffee cos pods are to coarse grounded and no way of getting lets call that a ‘proper espresso’. Illy have also a book, or magazine called ‘illywords’ and for me it’s my favorite magazine, how they connect coffee and large scale of different ideas and things in life that are around us, but sometimes we don’t pay attention on, just great. The last one is called ‘KAIZEN’ from Japanese words; KAI-change and ZEN-better. Lets change for better coffee world, with illy, but how without? Help Jay and James!

  6. Btw, i think that pictures are from Venetian Biennale where Illy is sponsor of, building on the side is ‘Espana’ pavilion.

  7. I posted a comment over on coffeegeek recently about Illy’s decline , seems a natural progression I guess.
    Over here in New Zealand Illy coffee is now served at quality “Burger King” restaurants. All from a superauto of course, but this is a new discussion yet again. McDonalds Cafe and Starbucks still use traditional machines currently, but with recent trends I’m guessing this won’t be long the case.

  8. I bought a late night drive through coffee from Burger King here in Auckland New Zealand the other week and it wasn’t until I noticed the taste (not horrible – which had kinda been my expectation) I noticed the red logo on the side of the cup. I’ve got no problem with Illy at Burger King or anywhere else if it means a decent cup when the cafes are closed.

  9. I am interesting to have buisness with illy coffee company as an agent in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.Please send me the contact information including the name of the general maneger and the E-Mail.Thankyou

Submit a comment