The Top 5 Must-Try Italian Coffee Brands

What is the best italian coffee brands for brewing the perfect cup of joe?

Italy serves as an origin to a lot of great things in the world and that includes a coffee type we all adore: Italian beans! An Italian roasted bean is a dark roast, almost an espresso. If you’re all for the smoky and strong notes, come and learn more with us!

History

Did you know that when coffee was first introduced, members of the church actually did not like the idea? This came to the point when Pope Clement VIII was urged by Christian to forbid the “devil’s drink.” Fortunately, the Pope actually loved how it tasted so he did otherwise.

Pope Clement VIII

There are several Italian ground coffee types and Arabica is definitely the most popular. It makes up three-quarters of coffee production worldwide. Even espresso is said to have originated from Italy!

Italian coffee experts seek nothing but perfection. That remains to be true up to today where they preserve tradition but also ensure to keep on innovating. Two of the most famous Italian coffee brands are Illy and Lavazza, and of course we have to let you know about them!

If you prefer to read our full article comparing these two, check it out here.

Lavazza

Although Lavazza is a blend of Brazil’s Arabic and Africa’s Robusta, its beans are processed in Turin, Northern Italy. With a deep taste, golden cream, and warm color, Lavazza’s medium roast coffee made its way to a lot of homes. It has some chocolate and dried fruit notes. It is ground in the perfect grind type, somewhere in between fine and coarse. 

Robusta and Arabica

Since we’ve mentioned that Lavazza is a blend of both Arabica and Robusta, let’s break down the differences between the two.

  • Arabica accounts for 75% of the produced coffee while Robusta accounts for just 25%.
  • Arabica has a sweeter taste and distinct flavors than Robusta.
  • Robusta beans are known to house more caffeine, thus, more antioxidants.
  • Robusta creates a stronger cup of Joe.

Target market

Lavazza’s pre-ground coffee is a buyer’s choice for Moka pot brewers. This is their top product making them loved by a lot of Italian coffee lovers.

Flavors

For this category, let’s look into the brand’s most popular product, the Lavazza Gran Crema. The Arabica content gives mild acidity that balances the sweetness of the beans. They use washed Robusta beans to take the bitterness away and allow a deeper and more chocolatey flavor. This blend truly is a top seller in both Europe and the US because it’s wonderful on its own and works greatly with add-ons too!

Illy

Illy, or also known as Illy caffe, is one of the most popular Italian coffees globally. The brand’s name is from the founder’s last name and up until today, a member of the Illy family still runs the company. This brand only has a single coffee blend, just roasted to different roasting types. Not long ago, Illy has launched different blends of single-origin coffee from Guatemala, Ethiopia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, and India. Take note as well that Illy is 100% Arabica.

Target market

Ily is deemed to be more high-end than the Lavazza and its presence is of more significance than the latter in the Italian espresso market. Thus, Illy is more expensive.

Flavors

Despite being at a higher price point, Illy remains to be popular globally. Its top seller is the medium roast Moka pot ground coffee. Illy coffee is generally regarded as sweet and velvety with caramel, toast, fruit, and chocolate notes. It also houses a fragrant aroma due to the floral accents, honey, and almond content. The Arabica beans the brand utilizes are sourced across four continents and are carefully chosen to maintain its high quality status. Illy is loved by those who prefer a sweeter cup without the bitterness.

The Top 5 Best-Selling Coffee Brands In Italy

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Illy Classico Whole Bean Coffee

Illy Classico Espresso Ground Coffee, Medium Roast, Classic Roast with Notes of Chocolate & Caramel, 100% Arabica Coffee, All-Natural, No Preservatives, 8.8 Ounce
4,976 Reviews
Illy Classico Espresso Ground Coffee, Medium Roast, Classic Roast with Notes of Chocolate & Caramel, 100% Arabica Coffee, All-Natural, No Preservatives, 8.8 Ounce
  • Freshly brewed perfection: finely ground to provide optimal extraction with Espresso machines that take ground, tamped coffee.
  • Illy Coffee is packed in an air-free, pressurized can that enhances and seals in aromas and oils, for perfect coffee.

On top of our list is from the brand loved by many: Illy. Beans from this company are Direct Trade-sourced which is a means to streamline the supply chain. In other words, they really do work directly with the farmers. 

This blend is actually simple but satisfying. It does not house complicated flavors while remaining strong enough to give quite a caffeine punch. It has chocolate notes and a smoky taste with its 100% Arabica beans. The downside? It might be too pricey for some!

Pros

  • Direct trade
  • Ethical
  • Classic dark flavors
  • 100% Arabica beans

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Not that complex

Lavazza ‘Gran Espresso’ Whole Bean

Lavazza Gran Espresso Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, Bag 2.2 Pound (Pack of 1)
23,430 Reviews
Lavazza Gran Espresso Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, Bag 2.2 Pound (Pack of 1)
  • One 2.2 pound bag of Lavazza Gran Espresso Italian whole coffee beans
  • Balanced and rich flavor medium roast with notes of cocoa and black pepper
  • Blended and roasted in Italy
  • Best used with Espresso machine
  • Produced in a nut-free facility center, Contains only coffee

For Italian espressos, this definitely is our pick. The Lavazza Gran Espresso houses plenty of crema with dark and chocolatey flavors. The beans are sourced from Uganda, Brazila, and Honduras.

This espresso houses a unique but greatly loved spicy flavor, just enough for that delicious kick. It has a full body and is dark roasted with hints of fruity notes. If brewed correctly, you’ll see that the complex notes will be emphasized in ways that makes it an even better cup.

What if you’re not an espresso kind of person? Simple! Throw it into your French Press. Just make sure to grind it a bit more coarse for this brewing method. 

Pros

  • Lots of cream
  • Delicious spice notes

Cons

  • Lacks fruity and bright flavors

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, 2.2 Pound (Pack of 6)
23,430 Reviews
Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, 2.2 Pound (Pack of 6)
  • One case of 6 Packs of 2.2 pounds bag of Lavazza Super Crema Italian whole coffee beans
  • Mild and creamy medium espresso roast with notes of hazelnut and brown sugar
  • 60% Arabica and 40% Robusta
  • Blended and roasted in Italy
  • Best used with an espresso machine
  • Produced in a nut-free facility

Truly one of Lavazza’s classic variants is the Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Blend. Ask any Italians and they’d know this. It is that iconic! This variant offers a consistent cup every time but take note that it’s not the most interesting and complex beans in the market.

With notes of fruit, honey, and nuts, this satisfies a lot of palates. It’s versatile as you may enjoy it alone or pair with your favorite add-ons! Plus, this one has the classic and fluffy crema goodness of the brand. 

Pros

  • Consistent
  • Lots of crema

Cons

  • May be too fruity for some

Lavazza Crema e Gusto

Lavazza Crema E Gusto Ground Coffee Blend, Espresso Dark Roast, 8.8 Oz Bricks (Pack of 4)
4,568 Reviews
Lavazza Crema E Gusto Ground Coffee Blend, Espresso Dark Roast, 8.8 Oz Bricks (Pack of 4)
  • 4 8.8-ounce bags of Lavazza Crema E Gusto Italian ground coffee
  • Full bodied dark roast with creamy flavor, rich aftertaste, and notes of chocolate
  • Non-GMO. 7 medium intensity
  • Blended and roasted in Italy
  • Best used for espresso but also suitable in any coffee maker

For those who prefer pre-ground Italian Roast, run fast and order this one because we adore it! The brand ensures that these are tightly packed to keep it fresh for longer. Keep in mind that ground means stale pretty quickly, so storing them this way delays the process.

Rich in delicious crema and chocolate notes, it’s way too easy to enjoy this coffee. It has some rich bitterness that does not throw it off. This variant though is on the dark side so expect a bolder flavor, and as states, some bitterness. 

Pros

  • Packaged strategically
  • Convenient
  • Bold flavor

Cons

  • May be too bitter for some

Lavazza Dek Ground Coffee Blend

Lavazza Dek Ground Coffee Blend, Decaffeinated Dark Espresso Roast, 8.8-Ounce Bags (Pack of 2)
23,430 Reviews
Lavazza Dek Ground Coffee Blend, Decaffeinated Dark Espresso Roast, 8.8-Ounce Bags (Pack of 2)
  • Two 8.8 oz. bags of Lavazza Dek Decaffeinated Italian ground coffee
  • Creamy dark espresso roast with smooth flavor and exceptional aroma
  • Decaffeinated using a natural process
  • Blended and roasted in Italy
  • Best used with Espresso machine

Are you the type to crave for coffee late in the day? Then get yourself a Dek Blend from Lavazza. This is our top pick for decaf Italian coffee so you can have an access to coffee without risking sleep deprivation.

This one is best brewed in an espresso machine, but if you don’t have one, other methods will work well too. This houses some dark notes but without the excessive bitterness. It’s a rather strong cup despite it not having caffeine.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Consistent

Cons

  • Lacks fruity notes

Buyer’s guide

There are a lot of Italian coffee in the market and finding the right one for you may not be that easy. But with patience and some knowledge, we hope that you meet your perfect blend! Here, we’ve compiled some guides to help get an inch closer to your Italian coffee.

Italian roast vs. Italian coffee

Italian coffee is a coffee blended and roasted in Italy while an Italian roast is a coffee roasted to Italy’s certain level of darkness/oiliness without regard to where it was roasted. 

An Italian roast is a medium-to-dark roast that’s widely loved especially in Southern Italy. These are roasted until oil starts to surface. This roast level works well for espressos because richer flavors are allowed to come through. Additionally, it has been stated that this roast lacks oil that it actually prevents brewer damage. 

Italian roast vs. French Roast

When it comes to strength, both roasts are almost even because they are both roasted dark. However, French roast is darker in color and has less oils on the surface. On the other hand, the Italian roast is a lot shinier because of the oil content.

Origin

No, Italian coffee is not grown in Italy. While there may be a handful who actually grow their own Italian coffee beans, the big brands in the market do not. No commercial coffee is grown in Italy. 

The goodness that is Italian coffee

Italian coffee has truly taken the world by storm. It is loved by a lot of coffee enthusiasts around the world. But can we blame them? They ensure that their beans are grown in the best growing conditions and they know how to work around their blends quite exquisitely. 

We have the Italian coffee brands to thank for making Italian coffee available for us and it seems that they only get better and better with time! Thank you, Italy!

Are Italian coffees strictly roasted espresso?

Although Italian roasts are largely roasted as espressos, not all Italian coffees are Italian roasts. As discussed, they are two different things. Today, you can find Italian coffees that are roasted medium to dark. Light roasts are also available but not as much as the darker roasts. 

Brewing the Italian way

The most Italian means to brew coffee is through an espresso machine. This is just how they are which is why most of their coffee is made to be brewed as espresso. There is no one way  to explain the complexity of the Italian coffee culture, but yes, they mostly drink espresso-based beverages. 

If you wanna do it the way Italians do, here are some fun facts:

  • Italians enjoy their coffee thrice a day: morning, lunch, and afternoon.
  • They drink cappuccinos and lattes almost exclusively for breakfast and brunch only. 
  • On the other hand, espressos and macchiatos are savoured all throughout the day.; 
  • Closest alternative to drip coffee is an Americano.

Final words

So yes, we have two top Italian brands: Illy and Lavazza with the former being top tier. We have also enumerated our best picks, and that includes a decaf option! Italian coffee is a great coffee to fall in love with so make sure to try some!

If you click on the Amazon link or Add to Cart and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Update: 2021-09-20

nv-author-image

Self-proclaimed coffee drinker. I would, on a typical day, start my day by grinding my coffee with a manual grinder and use a French Press as a starter (2 cups), then a pour-over in the afternoon (4 cups). I had my fair share as a barista but I prefer to drink it, not serve it.