Which Italian Coffee Is Best – Illy or Lavazza?

There are two highly popularized Italian coffees, which are both known amongst coffee enthusiasts—Ily and Lavazza. Picking a favorite coffee is all about preference. Whether one prefers high acidity and bitterness, or maybe a more toned down coffee flavor is more satisfying.

Italian Coffee History

Trieste in Italy is known as the coffee capital of the world, because it’s the largest coffee port in the mediterranean area. It’s also called the “coffee city,” and is where the coffee brand Illy is from.

The competing brand, Lavazza, originates from Torino back in 1833. Each brand started as a humble local coffee shop, and proved that Italy knows their coffee flavors.

These brands and other coffee lovers throughout Italy have found the perfect roast for their beans, grind and temperature that create a particular balance to make the best cup of coffee for their tastes. Made with Arabica beans, because of their simple yet familiar flavor, these brands found their balance and have then sold their product all around the world for years.

More About Lavazza

As mentioned, Lavazza started as a family company selling other dried goods. Their founder, Luigi Lavazza roasted the coffee beans on site. The fourth generation is now in charge of the company, and since then they’ve perfected coffee from the art to the science.

Their roasts are mostly all Arabica beans, but some are a mixture of Arabica and Robusta coffees. They also release their coffee in pre-grounds, coffee pods, and whole beans.

This family and company takes pride in their sustainable business ethics like production in hopes to help keep the Earth green.

More About Illy

In 1933, Francesco Illy created Illycafe, and successfully crafted the well-known beloved coffee shot everyone knows today -espresso. Not only do their thoughtful blends put their brand at the top of the lists of best coffees, but the creation of espresso alone is just another reason to be at the top.

Like many other coffee brands today, Illy started selling their grounds in three different ways: decaf, regular, and dark roast. With their speciality being espresso, they’re certainly not limited to it, because they have a large array of blends for each of their categories.

This brand also sells their coffee as iperEspresso capsules for making espresso their way, pre-ground, whole beans, and espresso pods.

Their beans are single-sourced Arabica beans, which come from a range of countries.

Flavor Profile

All beans have varying tastes depending on the beans used, acidity, smoothness, and bitterness. Since mostly Arabica beans are used in both, with the addition of Robusta in Lavazza, these coffee flavors are going to be easy going with any additions and filled with richness.

Both brands will have this smoothness and sweetness to it from the Arabica. Lavazza will be a bit more bitter and acidic and stand out from that sweet flavor when mixed with the two beans.

The Robusta will be nuttier on the tongue, and typically adds more caffeine. This extra hit of caffeine will give a much stronger, harsher taste, which fights with the smooth, sweetie flavor of the Arabica.

Illy will have the smoothest flavor and mouthfeel, with a hint of caramel and fruit. Lavazza will still have a smoothness to it, but is more robust and full bodied in caffeine taste.

Caffeine Content

Depending on which coffee option is chosen from each brand, there will be variations in caffeine. Typically, in about 1 oz. of Illy espresso there will be around 60 mg of caffeine. The coffee will have less than 15 mg of caffeine from each gram used.

Lavazza coffee pods have the most coffee of any coffee pod products sold, and will include a range between 40 to 70 mg of caffeine. In an 8 oz. cup of their coffee could hold around 90 mg of caffeine. 

Nutritional Facts

Many of Illy’s coffee choices don’t have calories, besides their cold brew, which has 5 calories, or with additions in it (like a cappuccino). Whereas one cup of Lavazza could have about 75 calories in it alone.

There will be 0 carbs in a Lavazza cup of coffee, and 0 carbs in Illy’s blend. Illy espresso could have about 2g of carbs.

What’s The Preference?

Depending on which flavor profiles entice the perfect cup of coffee also depends on what taste buds are craving. Due to the different blends of Arabica beans and Arabica mixed with Robusta, these are both going to have a smooth feeling and taste, but Robusta gives it a kick of bold caffeine.

If looking for only smooth richness that won’t clash with extra additions to the cup, then Illy is the way to go. From their decaf, to pre-ground, and espresso this company proves that Arabica beans are the sure-fire way to a delicious coffee.

Lavazza has the smoothness, but with a nuttier and more caramel flavor from the extra Robusta added. This will bring more acidity and bitterness that blends well with the creaminess of the Arabica beans.

Both of these brands have their home in Italy, but have found coffee lovers all over the world that enjoy their blends alone, mixed into lattes and cappuccinos, and sold as cold brews for the grab-and-go experience.

They’re both filled with uniqueness, as Illy created the first ways to make and enjoy espresso, it’s definitely a must-try, and Lavazza has a rare mix of beans. So depending on flavor preference, acidity level, and what the coffee is used for should all be taken into consideration when choosing between the two brands.

These brands are the reason to prove why Italy is the coffee capital of the world. The two are extremely popular and loved all around the world and can be found in cafes, grocery stores, and some of the best cups of coffee.

So make the pick -rich and creamy or smooth and bold? These two brands will have them packed in each cup.