Italian coffee. Just mentioning it evokes images of sunlit piazzas, the distant hum of Vespas, and the rich aroma of freshly brewed espresso wafting through the air. Italy, with its deep-rooted coffee culture, has mastered the art of coffee-making and shared its passion with the world, influencing how we all savor our daily brew.
If you’ve ever set foot in Italy, you’ve likely relished that indescribable joy stemming from the initial, robust sip of Italian espresso, whether brewed from a moka pot on nonna’s stovetop or crafted by a skilled Italian barista.
While emulating the precise Italian coffee experience at home can be challenging, several Italian coffee brands are conveniently accessible online, ensuring your days start with the right jolt of caffeine.
Here are some Italian coffee brands to explore while on vacation or in the comfort of your kitchen. For more information, check out our article on Italian Coffee Drinks and how to order them in Italian.
Top Italian Coffee Brands Chart: A Quick Overview
|Italian Coffee Brands
A Beginner Guide to Coffee Tasting
Diving into the world of coffee tasting can be an exhilarating journey, much like exploring the depths of a rich, aromatic forest. The nuances, the flavors, the aromas – it’s a sensory experience that’s both enlightening and delightful. Let’s embark on this journey with a comprehensive guide for coffee lovers.
Ask ten people about their favorite Italian coffee brand, and you’ll likely get ten different answers. The truth is, it depends on what you enjoy in a cup of coffee.
If you want a dark roast, bold flavor profile, robusta coffee beans are your best option. If you want a light or medium roast, you likely won’t enjoy authentic Italian coffee. Opt for an Ethiopian or Costa Rican single origin.
Before purchasing, consider what you want from an Italian coffee brand and how you plan to make it. Are you brewing with a moka pot? Are you looking for an espresso bean for your Lelit Bianca? Maybe a drip coffee? This is important in determining what to buy.
Here are some things to consider:
- Aroma: The first impression is often the lasting one. The aroma of the coffee can set the stage for the tasting experience. Whether it’s the comforting scent of freshly baked bread or the invigorating aroma of citrus fruits, the smell can be a window into the coffee’s soul.
- Acidity: Often misunderstood, acidity in coffee is not about the pH level but the bright, sparkly sensations that can be reminiscent of certain fruits. It’s that zesty, vibrant quality that can make a coffee stand out.
- Sweetness: Contrary to popular belief, coffee does possess sweetness. It’s not the overt sugary sweetness we’re accustomed to but a subtle, underlying note that balances out the flavors.
- Body: Think of body as the texture or weight of the coffee in your mouth. Is it light and tea-like? Or is it rich and full-bodied, like a creamy broth?
- Finish: The aftertaste or the lingering flavor post-sip can be a revelation. Some coffees leave a memorable trail, while others have a more subtle finish.
- Bitterness: While often viewed negatively, bitterness in coffee can be a defining characteristic. It’s all about balance. A hint of bitterness can complement the coffee’s other flavors, but too much can be overpowering.
- Flavor: The pièce de résistance of coffee tasting. Flavors in coffee can range from fruity to nutty, chocolaty to spicy. The key is to identify these notes and understand how they contribute to the overall profile.
Coffee tasting is not just about identifying flavors but understanding and appreciating the complexities of this beloved beverage. It’s a journey of discovery, one sip at a time. So, brew a cup, take a moment to savor it, and let the flavors dance on your palate.
It’s important to note that if you are going for the old-school Italian espresso flavor, opt for robusta beans because they give espresso coffee great crema, take to dark roasting well, and provide significant amounts of caffeine.
Espresso Brew Ratios for Italian Coffee
This is going to get pretty nerdy, so bear with me. Espresso preparation involves controlling several variables, with the brew ratio being a crucial one for achieving the desired taste.
The brew ratio is the weight of ground coffee to the weight of espresso in the cup.
Measuring the brew ratio accurately is essential, and a scale measuring to the .1 g is recommended.
Sidenote: If you’re looking for an amazingly accurate scale, I recommend the Acaia Lunar Scale. It’s the one I own and it’s currently the best on the market.
Brew ratios are categorized as the following:
|1:1 to 1:2
|Known for a heavy body but lacking clarity.
|1:2 to 1:3
|Offering a balanced espresso.
|1:3 to 1:4
|Providing more clarity in the espresso.
Personal preferences for brew ratios vary globally, adding cultural diversity to espresso preparation. Traditional Italian espresso uses a 1:3 brew ratio, with 7 grams of coffee resulting in a 21-gram espresso shot. This will give you a full-bodied coffee.
My home setup includes Lucca a53 Mini Espresso Machine and Lucca Atom 75 Espresso Grinder.
Best Italian Coffee Brands
Before jumping in, there’s one last thing, amongst the most important. It’s the three pillars of coffee buying:
- Golden Rules of Buying Coffee: Always prioritize freshness. Understand that coffee’s quality diminishes over time, losing its aromatic essence and sometimes developing stale notes. Look for roast dates on specialty coffee and be wary of ambiguous “best before” dates.
- Where to Buy Coffee: Explore three primary sources – supermarkets, local cafes or coffee shops, and online platforms. Each has its pros and cons, affecting the freshness and variety of your choices.
- Decoding Coffee Labels: Learn to interpret the information on coffee bags. From understanding roast degrees to recognizing flavor profiles, this knowledge will empower you to make informed choices.
1. Illy Coffee from Trieste
Trieste, a picturesque port city nestled by the Adriatic Sea, is not just known for its rich maritime history and vibrant culture, but also as the birthplace of the renowned Illy Caffè.
Founded in 1933 by Francesco Illy, this brand quickly rose to prominence, becoming synonymous with high-quality Italian coffee. The city’s unique position as a major port played a pivotal role in Illy’s growth, allowing easy access to diverse coffee beans from around the world.
Over the decades, Illy Caffè has contributed to the global coffee culture and been instrumental in pioneering innovations in the coffee industry, solidifying its reputation as a leader in the world of espresso.
Illy Coffee Blend: What Sets it Apart
Illy’s distinct coffee blend is a harmonious fusion of nine different Arabica beans, meticulously sourced from the top producers across Africa, Central and South America, and Asia.
What truly distinguishes Illy’s blend of whole beans is its consistent taste profile, achieved through a rigorous selection process and a unique roasting method that accentuates the beans’ natural flavors while minimizing bitterness.
The result? A smooth, balanced espresso with subtle notes of caramel, chocolate, and toasted bread, crowned with a velvety, reddish-brown crema that’s a testament to its quality.
Whether you’re sipping on a classic espresso or a creamy cappuccino, Illy’s blend promises an unparalleled coffee experience, capturing the very essence of Italian coffee craftsmanship.
2. Lavazza from Piemonte
Nestled in the heart of Piemonte, a region renowned for its rich culinary and wine traditions, Lavazza stands as a testament to Italy’s love affair with coffee. Founded in 1895 by Luigi Lavazza, this brand has woven itself into the very fabric of Italian culture and has become synonymous with “espresso” worldwide.
The story of Lavazza is one of passion, innovation, and an unyielding commitment to quality. From its humble beginnings in a small grocery store in Turin, Lavazza embarked on a journey that would see it pioneering the concept of coffee blending – the art of combining beans from different regions. This innovative approach was driven by Luigi’s insatiable curiosity and his quest to create the perfect cup of coffee. Over the years, Lavazza has not only preserved its founder’s vision but has also continuously evolved, embracing modernity while staying true to its roots.
Lavazza Coffee Blends: A Symphony of Flavors
Lavazza’s blends are a harmonious symphony of flavors, each telling a unique story. These blends are a reflection of the brand’s century-old expertise and its deep-rooted respect for tradition.
- Qualità Oro: A blend that pays homage to Lavazza’s heritage, Qualità Oro is a combination of Central American and African beans. It’s characterized by its smooth, mild flavor with hints of fruit, making it perfect for those who appreciate a delicate and aromatic espresso.
- Crema e Gusto: A testament to Lavazza’s blending prowess, this mix combines South American Arabicas with African and Indonesian Robusta beans. The result? A full-bodied, rich espresso with chocolate undertones.
- Super Crema: A blend that promises a velvety crema and a long-lasting taste, Super Crema combines beans from Brazil, India, Colombia, and Indonesia. It’s a versatile blend, perfect for espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos.
- Gran Riserva: A premium blend reserved for true connoisseurs, Gran Riserva boasts beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ plantations. With its intense flavor profile and hints of chocolate and dried fruit, it’s a coffee that promises an unforgettable experience.
3. Caffe’ Borbone from Campania
Campania, a region known for its breathtaking coastlines, historic ruins, and vibrant culture, is also home to one of Italy’s coffee gems – Caffe’ Borbone. Established in the heart of Naples, Caffe’ Borbone is an authentic Italian coffee roaster with the spirit and passion of Neapolitan coffee traditions.
The story of Caffe’ Borbone is deeply intertwined with the rich tapestry of Campanian culture. In a city where drinking coffee is a ritual, Caffe’ Borbone has managed to carve a niche for itself, standing shoulder to shoulder with age-old establishments.
The brand embodies the Neapolitan ethos – a perfect balance of tradition and modernity, of respect for the past and a vision for the future.
Caffe’ Borbone Coffee Blends: Where Heritage Meets Flavor
Caffe’ Borbone’s blends are a testament to its commitment to quality and its deep respect for Neapolitan coffee traditions. Each blend is a journey, a dance of flavors that captures the essence of Naples.
- Rosso Blend: A true representation of Neapolitan coffee, the Rosso blend is a dark roast, offering a robust and full-bodied flavor. Made predominantly with Robusta beans, this blend is intense, with a thick crema and a persistent aftertaste, making it perfect for those who like their coffee strong and invigorating.
- Blu Blend: A harmonious blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, the Blu blend is balanced and round. It boasts a rich aroma, a velvety crema, and a sweet aftertaste, making it a favorite among those who appreciate a well-rounded coffee experience.
- Verde Blend (Decaf): For those who love the taste of coffee but prefer to skip the caffeine, the Verde blend offers the perfect solution. Made using a natural decaffeination process, this blend retains all the flavors and aromas of traditional coffee, ensuring that you don’t miss out on the authentic Neapolitan coffee experience.
- Oro Blend: A premium offering, the Oro blend is a symphony of flavors. Predominantly Arabica, this blend is aromatic, with floral notes and a hint of fruitiness. It’s a delicate and refined coffee, perfect for those moments of quiet contemplation.
4. Caffe’ Vergnano Coffee from Piemonte
Nestled in the picturesque region of Piemonte, known for its rolling vineyards, historic castles, and the majestic Alps, Caffe’ Vergnano stands as a beacon of Italian coffee craftsmanship. With its roots tracing back to the 19th century, this brand has evolved, adapting to the times while preserving its core values and traditions.
The tale of Caffe’ Vergnano began in a small grocery store in the town of Chieri, just outside Turin. What started as a humble venture soon transformed into a passion for premium coffee beans. Over the decades, the Vergnano family’s dedication to sourcing the finest beans and their meticulous attention to the roasting process set them apart in a land renowned for its coffee culture.
Vergnano Coffee Blends: The Art of Coffee Alchemy
Caffe’ Vergnano’s blends are a culmination of years of expertise, innovation, and a deep-seated respect for coffee traditions. Each blend is a masterpiece, crafted with precision and an unwavering commitment to quality.
- Espresso 1882: Paying homage to the year Caffe’ Vergnano was founded, Espresso 1882 is a blend that captures the essence of traditional Italian espresso. Rich, bold, and aromatic, this blend offers a harmonious balance of flavors, with a lingering aftertaste that beckons another sip.
- Arabica 100%: Sourced from the finest Arabica beans from Central and South America, this blend is a celebration of the delicate and aromatic characteristics of Arabica coffee. With notes of citrus, floral undertones, and a hint of sweetness, it’s a coffee connoisseur’s delight.
- Cremoso: As the name suggests, Cremoso offers a creamy and velvety coffee experience. A blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, it boasts a full-bodied flavor profile with a rich crema, making it perfect for those who love their coffee smooth and indulgent.
- Decaffeinato: For those who seek the pleasure of coffee without the kick of caffeine, Vergnano’s Decaffeinato blend is the answer. Crafted using a natural decaffeination process, this blend retains the depth and richness of flavor, ensuring that even without the caffeine, the coffee experience remains uncompromised.
5. Kimbo Coffee from Naples
In the vibrant streets of Naples, where the aroma of freshly baked pizzas fills the air and the melodies of Neapolitan songs echo, Kimbo Coffee has carved its niche. Born in the 1960s, Kimbo is a testament to Naples’ rich coffee culture, capturing the essence of the city in every cup.
Kimbo Coffee Varieties: A Tapestry of Flavors
- Kimbo Espresso Napoletano: A tribute to its birthplace, this blend offers a robust and intense flavor, reminiscent of the traditional Neapolitan espresso. With a rich crema and a strong character, it’s a favorite among purists.
- Kimbo Aroma Italiano: A harmonious blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, this variety boasts a balanced flavor profile with hints of spices and a smooth finish.
- Kimbo Bio Organic: Sourced from organic farms, this blend is a nod to sustainability and nature. With a delicate aroma and a light body, it’s perfect for those seeking a more eco-friendly coffee experience.
6. Pellini Coffee from Verona
In the romantic city of Verona, where the tales of Romeo and Juliet still linger, Pellini Coffee has been brewing its story. Established in the 20th century, Pellini has become synonymous with quality, offering a coffee experience that’s as enchanting as the city itself.
Pellini Coffee Varieties: An Ode to Flavors
- Pellini Top: Crafted from 100% Arabica beans, this blend is the epitome of luxury. With a velvety texture and a rich aroma, it’s like sipping on the finest silk.
- Pellini Espresso Bar: A blend that captures the essence of Italian coffee bars, it offers a strong and full-bodied flavor, perfect for those who crave an authentic Italian espresso.
- Pellini Bio: Embracing the organic movement, this blend is sourced from certified organic farms, ensuring a pure and untainted coffee experience.
7. Segafredo Coffee from Bologna
From the historic city of Bologna, known for its medieval architecture and rich culinary heritage, emerges Segafredo Coffee. Founded in the 1970s, Segafredo has been at the forefront of the Italian coffee scene, blending tradition with innovation.
Segafredo Coffee Blends: Marrying Tradition and Modernity
- Segafredo Intermezzo: A classic blend that offers a perfect balance of strength and aroma. With hints of cocoa and spices, it’s a coffee that resonates with the soul.
- Segafredo Espresso Casa: Designed for the home barista, this blend boasts a rich crema and a robust flavor, bringing the Italian coffee bar experience to your kitchen.
- Segafredo Zanetti Espresso: A premium blend that’s a favorite among coffee aficionados. With a rich body and a smooth finish, it’s a coffee that celebrates the art of espresso-making.
Italy, with its rich tapestry of history, culture, and flavors, has gifted the world with an unparalleled coffee legacy. From the bustling streets of Naples to the romantic heart of Verona, each region and city has poured its soul into crafting delicious coffee blends that resonate with both tradition and innovation. These are some of the best Italian coffee brands that have significantly impacted the global coffee scene.
As we’ve journeyed through the tales of these iconic Italian coffee brands, it’s evident that each cup tells a story, each sip is an experience, and each aroma is a memory. But the beauty of coffee lies not just in its taste but in the conversations it sparks and the memories it creates.
Which Italian coffee brand holds a special place in your heart? Which blend transports you to the cobblestone streets of Italy? Share your favorite Italian Coffee Brand in the comments below, and let’s celebrate the timeless allure of Italian coffee together.