Italians are masters of good food and flavors. And they love coffee too, which is no surprise considering they invented the espresso!
But what are the best Italian coffee brands? To help you make that call, we’ve curated the most popular coffee roast from Italy and their pros and cons.
Let’s jump in!
Types of Italian Coffee Beverages
Italian coffee combines art, simplicity, and tradition.
One such tradition is the tradition of drinking espresso. Let’s take a look at a few different types of Italian coffee, specifically espresso.
An espresso is a classic Italian drink and one of the most popular ways to enjoy coffee in Italy. Espresso is typically served in a small ceramic cup and can be served as a single or double shot.
Lungo means “long” in English and is a type of Italian espresso that forces extra water through the coffee grounds. The result is a less intense and slightly larger shot of espresso.
A Caffee Ristretto is a type of espresso beverage that means “restricted”. With these drinks, less water is used so you get a stronger cup of coffee. These are served in a small cup, just like an espresso.
Italian Coffee Beans Explained
Italian coffee beans prioritize the type of roast, and they are more of a medium to dark coffee roast. This roast type extracts the perfect bitter flavors for a ristretto or espresso. To achieve this, manufacturers roast green coffee beans longer at higher temperatures.
The roasting of coffee beans at hotter temperatures results in browner-colored coffee beans with less oily surfaces and a smokier aroma.
Also, Italian coffee beans are more bitter than beans from other cultures. But they are less acidic and are more full-bodied.
In terms of the bean variety, Northern Italy prefers 100% Arabica beans while the Southern part of the country likes a combination of Robusta and Arabica beans.
Tips for Buying The Best Italian Coffee Beans
If you want to buy the right coffee beans for making perfect Italian espresso, there are a couple of tips to keep in mind.
Let’s take a detailed look at a few things to consider when buying Italian beans.
Always Go For Medium to Dark Roast
Medium to dark roast beans is perfect for a cup of espresso. These beans are more porous, so you can extract more flavors at a faster rate.
Unlike dark roasts, light roasts are more prone to being under-extracted. So, they tend to taste sour and less concentrated.
Another thing is that medium to dark roasts is usually the areas of expertise of most roasters. This ensures you get the perfect Italian experience, especially when you use premium espresso machines.
Chose Whole Bean If Possible
If you want to brew at home, aim for whole beans. Whole beans guarantee that you get their maximum flavors.
And if you’re buying pre-ground coffee beans, consider the right grind size. Italian brands would always offer different grind sizes for various brewing methods.
Getting the right grind will also guarantee you get the right flavors in your cup of espresso.
Top 5 Italian Coffee Brands
Now that you’re more familiar with the uniqueness of Italian coffee, it’s time you know about the best brands out there.
Here are a few of the top Italian coffee brands to be aware of.
- It’s ethically sourced, so you know your coffee has premium coffee beans
- Has classic dark flavors, so you get a strong coffee with the right amount of caffeine
- Made with 100% premium Arabica beans, so your coffee is well-balanced
- It’s a premium brand, so it’s expensive.
- Flavors are simple, so the brand is not for you if you love experimenting.
I Italians love Illy because it represents the old Italian coffee culture. And this brand is very consistent with all the blends and flavors it offers. The main reason why Illy offers premium coffee is that it sources its coffee beans through Direct Trade.
Direct Trade is a new movement that streamlines the coffee’s supply chain. If you’re unfamiliar with Direct Trade, it means that Illy works hand-in-hand with coffee farmers globally.
Illy uses premium Arabica beans, giving you well-balanced flavors regardless of the blend you get. It’s also the reason why Italians and even tourists love purchasing Illy coffee.
Illy has a wide range of coffee blends, but this brand’s best-seller is Classico. This signature blend has strong and classic coffee flavors.
Plus, if you love chocolate, you’ll like Illy Classico. It has chocolate undertones with an underlying smokiness to amp up the taste.
Check out Illy.
2. Pellini Espresso Bar
- Combined Robusta and Arabica beans, so it balances sweetness and bitterness.
- It’s a strong coffee, so you get the right caffeine amount
- Versatile brand, so you can drink it plain black or as a cappuccino
- It’s strong, so we don’t recommend it when you palpitate when drinking coffee.
Pellini is an Italian family company that specializes in spreading Italian espresso culture in the world, giving drinkers an authentic Italian coffee experience.
One of this brand’s best-selling viand, Pellini No. 82 Vivace, combines strong flavors that will certainly awaken your palate. This blend combines 10% Robusta beans with 90% premium Arabica beans.
And because it consists of Robusta beans, you get a full-bodied flavor profile with added creaminess. This blend is also dark-roasted, so the coffee flavors are robust and bold, with hints of earthiness and sweetness. It has low acidity too.
While they do have other blends, the Pellini No. 82 Vivace is definitely a fan favorite.
Check out Pellini Espresso Bar.
- Consistent and reliable brand, so every blend tastes great
- Added Robusta beans make your coffee strong
- Not acidic as other coffee brands, so you get a smooth texture when drinking
- It’s a premium brand, so it’s expensive.
Lavazza is another customer’s favorite! It offers high-quality and delicious coffee, regardless of the flavor and the blend.
This coffee brand started out when Luigi Lavazza, the founder, started selling coffee in a grocery store. Even today, Lavazza is run by the 3rd or 4th generation of the Lavazza family.
You can get a vast range of coffee from this brand, including pre-ground coffee, whole beans, and coffee pods.
Lavazza specializes in blending Robusta and Arabica beans together using advanced roasting techniques.
Check out Lavazza.
- With sweet undertones, so they balance the coffee’s bitterness
- Reversed roasting and blending process, so more flavors are extracted
- Added Robusta beans, giving you a strong coffee with high caffeine
- Not an ideal brand for pour-over coffee
- It might be too strong, especially if you’re sensitive to acidity.
Forte by Filicori Zecchini is also an ideal choice for your cup of Italian espresso. It has a unique, bold flavor with a rich aroma for your caffeine fix. And the best part is, Forte comes at an affordable price!
Forte has an earthy and bold taste, with toasted cereal undertones and medium acidity.
Check out Forte.
5. Caffe Vergnano
- Made with 100% premium Arabica beans, giving you a well-balanced coffee
- Caffeine is not as high, so it won’t make you palpitate
- Made with premium beans, so it’s expensive.
Caffe Vergnano uses 100% Arabica beans in a slow and controlled roasting process. This produces a strong cup of coffee with a rich aroma and good balance.
The richness of the Arabia beans gives you a cup with a velvety and smooth texture. And because it’s not that strong, you can drink it anytime.
Caffee Vergnano offers a variety of regular coffee beans, too, so you can pick ones based on your flavor preferences.
Check out the product here.
Experience Italy With The Best Italian Coffee Brands
Italian coffee brands are ideal for those who love espresso and want an authentic, European beverage. The balance of flavors will give you a cup with the right bitterness, sweetness, and creaminess.
All the brands mentioned are of premium quality, so it’s hard to pick a favorite. Illy and Lavazza are world-renowned for their rich dark tastes and ideal level of oiliness. Alternatively, Caffe Vergnano is a great pick if you want authentic Italian roasts.
Whichever you pick, we’re confident you’ll fall in love with a new brand of coffee!