These two giants could certainly be called competitors.
So what we’ll look at today is, which one is better, Illy or Lavazza?
It may be a difficult question to answer, but we’ll look at different aspects of each of these coffee companies and try to figure this out.
To be sure, both of these are great companies and you really can’t go wrong with either of them if you want a delicious cup of Joe!
There’s a reason why they’re both super popular names in Italian espresso/coffee.
But without further ado, let’s take a look at both of these Italian Stallion coffee roasters.
While Illy is known for great coffee beans, they are more than just a producer of coffee beans.
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Illy has quite the impressive line of espresso machines, coffee makers, and other coffee-related accessories.
If you’re looking for a particular origin or a specific roast of coffee, the chances are Illy has what you’re after.
They offer quality Arabica beans from around the world, including coffees from South and Central American such as Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and African origins like Ethiopia.
Illy usually gives their beans a medium to extra dark roast, making them an excellent choice for French press, Moka Pot, and espresso.
As a long-standing company with a great reputation, Illy offers many great coffees and coffee products for the coffee lover.
Illy Pros & Cons
Here are the pros and cons, at least the way I see it.
- Good variety of origins
- Competitive pricing
- Good variety of coffee makers
- Decent selection of roast levels
- Whole bean, ground, or pods available
- They don’t do light roast
- Small selection of whole been options
- Uses only Arabica beans
Lavazza is also a long-standing company, having started in 1895… 38 years before Illy.
Lavazza uses coffee beans in their blends from South and Central America, Africa (Uganda), Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States.
Unlike Illy, Lavazza has a number of arabica/robusta blends, making their options slightly more specialized than Illy’s.
Lastly, Lavazza is an industry leader in a movement towards creating sustainability practices in coffee production.
Lavazza Pros & Cons
And here are the pros and cons of Lavazza…
- Single-origin coffee and blends available
- Good variety of roast levels
- Offers Robusta-Arabica blends
- Nice selection of whole bean coffee
- Focus on sustainability
- Non-standard roasting level
- Not many pre-ground options
- Smaller selection of coffee makers
What’s The Taste Difference?
There are some differences to consider when it comes to taste when comparing Lavazza and Illy.
If you prefer a stronger cup of coffee, you’re probably better off going with Lavazza.
They have several blends which use robusta beans in the mix, and this will yield a strong, bold cup… also more caffeine.
Lavazza is also a good option if you want a broader selection of roast levels.
Even though they don’t use a regular roasting scale, people have generally agreed that their lowest level is a light to light-medium roast.
Illy, on the other hand, doesn’t use robusta beans and they don’t have a light roast in their lineup.
Because of this lack of selection alone, I’d have to say that I give Lavazza a slight lead.
Illy makes some delicious coffee, to be sure, and which coffee you most prefer could certainly come from Lavazza or Illy.
But still, Lavazza has a wider selection.
There are other things to consider as well, including price point.
One thing to note is that Illy uses these really sleek looking, awesome tins for packaging.
They don’t use bags.
The not-so-awesome thing about the tins is that generally Illy costs more than Lavazza, and this is probably at least partly due to the tins they use.
Lavazza generally hovers around $ .65- .70 per ounce for their coffees.
Illy, on the other hand, is somewhere around $1.50 on average for their coffee tins.
So per ounce, Illy is much more expensive.
One area where Illy really shines is their choice of coffee makers, though.
On their website, Illy offers 50 coffee and espresso makers, while Lavazza only has two listed on their website.
And Illy makes awesome, quality machines.
So Illy definitely takes the cake on that one.
So, Which One Wins?
Well, this is nearly impossible to say who wins as it’s all subjective.
But, in my opinion, and you may have figured out…
I’d say Lavazza wins overall in the Italian coffee race.
The range of selection for roasts, the awesome taste, the price point, in my opinion all point to Lavazza being the generally better selection.
Illy makes some delicious coffee, don’t be confused.
And it’s hard to go wrong with any Illy coffee!
If you were to pair up Lavazza and Illy espresso and do a side-by-side taste test, it would be quite difficult to easily state a winner.
But again, when you look at all things considered, we can certainly say that Lavazza is a great choice that will save you money as well in the long run.