TRIESTE, Italy, Aug. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- illycaffè, the global leader in high-quality coffee and a pioneer of large-scale, directly-traded coffee, today announced the nine nations whose best Arabica beans will be considered for the second annual Ernesto llly International Coffee Award, recognizing excellence in raising coffee of the highest quality through sustainable means. The award, named in honor of illycaffe's beloved late second-generation leader, celebrates his company's hand-in-hand work with farmers to realize its dream of offering the best coffee to the world.
Coffee lots from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Nicaragua and Rwanda were designated as finalists, based on comprehensive evaluation by illy's quality control laboratory of beans from the 2016/2017 harvests of coffee growing countries around the world. Three representative lots from each origin country, a total of 27, were selected.
illy will bring representatives from each coffee lot's grower to the United Nations on October 16, where nine finalists and one "Best of the Best" will be named, after rounds of blind judging by an independent jury of taste experts.
"Twenty-seven years ago my father, Ernesto Illy, created a program in Brazil that helped to transform the country into a producer of sustainably high-quality coffee by offering prizes to growers able to achieve the highest quality, after educating them side-by-side," said Andrea Illy, President of illycaffè. "Last year, we decided to formally celebrate this outcome by taking the prize to an international level, with the objective of showing our appreciation for the efforts of all the women and men of coffee for achieving sustainable quality."
Direct Trade Pioneering
That program in Brazil, originally called Premio por la Qualidade do Cafè, formed the roots of illy's transformation to a company that today purchases nearly 100% of its coffee beans directly from farmers able to meet its exacting quality standards, at a guaranteed premium, not just a floor price. Today illy stands as one of the world's major purchasers of top-quality Arabica coffee directly from farmers, whereby most coffee continues to be purchased on commodity markets, which can guarantee neither consistent quality nor a living wage to the coffee chain's most important stakeholders: its 25 million families of growers.
illycaffè is an Italian family business, founded in Trieste in 1933 and committed to offering the greatest coffee to the world. illy is the world's most global coffee brand, producing the unique illy 100% Arabica blend made of 9 of the world 's best selections of Arabica; each day more than 7 million cups are served in over 140 countries in the finest cafés, restaurants, hotels and in offices and homes. illy has become the standard forerunner of espresso, and thanks to three critical innovations, is considered the leader in the science and technology of coffee. With the bestowing of the first "Ernesto Illy Award for quality espresso coffee" in 1991 in Brazil, illy also pioneered direct sourcing, sharing know-how and paying a premium price for the best quality, based on partnerships underwritten by the principles of sustainable development. The company also founded the University of Coffee with the aim of fostering and spreading its culture, providing comprehensive academic and hands-on training for coffee growers, baristas and coffee lovers in order to cover every aspect of the product. Everything 'made in illy' is enhanced by beauty & art, which represent founding values of the brand, starting from its logo – designed by an artist, James Rosenquist – and including the renowned illy Art Collection, comprised of over 100 cups designed by international artists. In 2016 the company was employing 1,269 people, and posted consolidated revenues of €460 million. There are approximately 230 stores and mono-brand illy shops in 43 countries .
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