Illy:espresso good.... beans bad?


New member
Nov 19, 2003
Hi... new member here. Always trying to improve my brew. I've really enjoyed Illy's ground espresso, but I have yet to get their med roast beans to make good espresso or coffee via drip or French press.

Anyone else have this problem or have a solution? Bad beans? They often look kinda dry in comparison with the oily sheen of other local (Austin) offerings.

TIA... Brian


New member
Mar 7, 2003
Coffee Shop
illys coffee

I sent a message to illys and invited them to come to this forum and help answer your issues. hopefully they come by would show good customer relations :D They answered the e-mail back to me in a nice manner they just need to find someone to come on here. Hope they do soon! :)


New member
Dec 8, 2003
illy caffe

My name is Roy Forster and I am a Quality Assurance Manager with illy caffe. The subject of oil not being on the beans is a common inquiry and many people are surprised to learn that oil on the outside of the beans is not a good thing. If the oil is on the outside, it will not be in the cup. The oil actually gets there by either over roasting the coffee or through the aging process of the coffee where the oils are expelled from the cells. In illy's case you do not see oil because we pay very special attention to both the roasting temperatures and pressures during the roasting process and then after cooling we use our patented system of pressurization with nitrogen which keeps the oils locked into the beans until the the can is opened. The illy you drink in the ground form is from the same beans so you should be enjoying the same great results provided your grinder is in good shape and you are grinding it to the correct grinding dergree. Please recognize that the grinders we use to grind our beans are of the highest quality and often the ground coffee is better than that of a home user grinding our beans.

Thank you for you interest in illy caffe and if you have any further questions please feel free to visit our website at


New member
Sep 8, 2003

Huh. I see oil on the surface of many beans of many roasts. I've never before seen it stated this is undesirable.

Every day holds fresh wonders! :-D
Pretty interesting comments from Roy. In my distant past....when I was at Univesity...I used to save up my hard earned dough to buy Illy canned coffee. I would have to say it was the best canned coffee I could buy at the time. However.... one day a roaster opened a cafe/roastery in my town. My life was changed forever one Thursday afternoon (when I should have been in class) when I discovered freshly roasted beans. I will never knock Illy.... but some of the best arabica's coffees I have roasted have indeed been roasted to second crack....where oils do indeed get forced to the surface. I think the Italian roasters I have experienced...Illy, Bonomi, Lavazia etc all use percentages of robustas in their espresso blends..... could this explain the question of oils... in my experience robustas do not roast so well past the second crack


Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
Boca Raton
I agree with alun....I also feel that oil on the outside of the bean is not always a "bad thing"


New member
Mar 10, 2004
Emerald City
Oils on the beans vs. in the beans

illy makes one blend, for the whole world. To my knowledge no other known company puts all its eggs in one basket to that extent. What they do they do perfectly well. illy's blend is "perfumed" like very few others. This perfume comes in part through the pressurization (Pr) process that illy has mastered; many have copied it, none has duplicated it. Oil droplets inside the coffee expand during Pr and coat the inner surface of the bean. The gas formed inside the cells during roasting is saturated with aromas and tries to escape once the beans are cooled. The counter-pressure exerted by the nitrogen (inert gas) forces those aromas to settle inside the beans. The oil droplets become saturated with aromas, trapping them, to only release them under the extreme pressure the coffee receives once ground and extracted through a pump-driven espresso machine. While under Pr the the CO2 and aromas circulate between the individual cell walls. In under a week fatty bubbles coat the cell walls. The carrier gas CO2 passes through while the heavier aromas remain entrapped. Traditionally perfumes used to be made in a similar fashion. For example, rose petals would be deposited on layers on organic grease. The grease would absorb the aromas, and distillation would then take place. This process was very expensive. illy's process is also very expensive. They don't do it because they want to be different. They do it because the coffee that we get through this process is truely superior, consistently superior. Of course, one needs to drink it unadulterated (no milk, syrups, or whipped cream) and as soon as it poured into a preheated 2 oz porcelain cup to really appreciate it for the true elixir that it is. I have tried many coffees around the world over the past ten years. None has ever consistently come close to illy's perfectly rounded cup.

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