If you’re into Italian coffee then you’ll have seen, heard, and likely tried Lavazza or Illy. They’re both available almost everywhere and they’re used in coffee shops and sold in supermarkets the world over. But which one is best?
In this Lavazza Vs. Illy guide, we’ll put them both to the test to see which one comes out on top. It’s worth nothing though, that you can’t really go wrong by choosing either of these – a lot of it will come down to personal taste.
Illy – An Overview
Illy sells its coffee lines all over the world in its highly recognisable red and silver cans. It offers ground coffee or whole beans in decaffeinated, medium and dark roast variations. There are also single-origin coffees from India, Tanzania, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala and Brazil, which are all made from Arabica beans.
Besides coffee, the company also makes espresso machines, coffee makers and coffee accessories. Illy also offers a coffee subscription service.
- A huge range of coffee origins
- A fantastic range of makers
- Roast level selection is good
- There is a subscription service
- They offer ground coffee, whole beans and pods
- The prices are competitive
- They don’t offer a light roast
- There aren’t as many whole bean options
- Only uses Arabica beans
Lavazza – An Overview
Lavazza is also a family business like Illy. In this case, it was Luigi Lavazza who founded the company in Turin in 1895. The company first began trading from a small grocery store. To this day it remains in the hands of the Lavazza family.
Lavazza sources its coffee from all over the world, including Central and South America, the United States, Africa and Indonesia.
With a number of Robusta/Arabica blends available, Lavazza offers slightly more when compared to Illy.
Lavazza is also a leader in the coffee industry in terms of its approach to sustainable coffee production.
- Produces both blends and single-origin coffee
- There is a great range of whole bean varieties
- There is a good range of roasts
- There are Arabica/Robusta blends available
- The company focuses on sustainability
- Not many options of pre-ground coffee
- The roasting level isn’t standard
- There aren’t many coffee makers by Lavazza
Illy Vs Lavazza Comparison
|Speciality||Blends for Moka pots||Espresso|
|Coffee origins||U.S., Mexico, Uganda, Indonesia, Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica||Costa Rica, India, Ethiopia, Colombia, Brazil, Guatemala|
|Coffee types available||Ground coffee, pods, whole bean||Ground coffee, pods, capsules, whole bean|
|Well-known for||· A focus on sustainability
· A stronger roast
· Wide range of blends, including Robusta beans
|· 100% Arabica beans
· Wide range of machines and coffee maker types
Taste & Flavour
Taste and flavour are hard ones to judge and it all comes down to personal preference. What some people prefer for their coffee will be different to others. That said, Lavazza and Illy do have some subtle taste differences that might sway your preference one way or the other.
Knowing your preferred style of coffee will be helpful in deciding which one to go for. Here at Ideal Grind, we love a strong coffee and so Lavazza has the edge for us. This is because Lavazza has several different blends that incorporate Robusta coffee beans, which means a bolder cup is guaranteed.
In addition, Lavazza also has a better selection of different roast levels to suit wider palates. It’s worth knowing, though, that Lavazza’s roasting scale is somewhat atypical and most people say their light roast is a little stronger than other brands.
Don’t get us wrong, Illy’s coffee is simply delicious too but their lack of Robusta beans and light roast means that Lavazza does have the edge as a brand.
Let’s look at some of the more individual characteristics of the taste and flavour compared:
Smoothness – Illy’s bean quality really comes through in the coffee’s smoothness. Illy’s coffee is slightly smoother than Lavazza’s. Lavazza coffee has a full structure, though.
Bitterness – Lots of the Lavazza coffee blends are sweeter but they are more bitter compared to Illy. Illy’s coffees are a rich yet mild flavour.
Acidity – Both Illy and Lavazza are mild tasting. Lavazza’s range all tends to be mild while Illy does have some options that have a higher acidity.
When it comes to the type of beans used to make coffee, it really is something that is down to individual taste.
Around 75% of the world’s coffee is Arabica, and Robusta makes up the remaining 25%. Generally, coffee drinkers tend to prefer the flavour of Arabica coffee because of its distinct flavour profiles and its higher sugars. That said, Robusta coffee beans have more antioxidants and caffeine and so this is often preferred by those who enjoy a stronger brew.
Lavazza only uses Arabica beans while Illy offers some blends as well as 100% Arabica products. With this variety in mind, we think Illy comes out on top.
Price and Quality
When it comes to price and value for money, it’s Illy that has the edge. This is because Illy’s range is generally lower in price than Lavazza’s but there isn’t an awful lot of difference. The quality overall means that Illy works out at slightly better value for money.
As we’ve mentioned above, Lavazza’s coffee is excellent but this high quality means it’s a little more expensive. For those looking for a decent coffee on a budget, Illy’s is most recommended. For anyone who doesn’t mind paying a premium, you’d probably go for Lavazza.
Lavazza Vs. Illy on Coffee Accessories and Coffee Makers
Illy really stands out when it comes to accessories and coffee makers. On the Illy website, there are around fifty different machines on offer, including espresso machines, French presses, drip brewers, milk frothers, pod machines, and ground coffee machines.
With so many types of coffee brewing machines available, it will come as no surprise that Illy offers a huge range of coffee to suit their machines. It really doesn’t matter what type of coffee brewing method you prefer; Illy can offer it.
To compare, Lavazza only has a few machines on its website. It has partnered with SMEG for a couple of them, though, which is a positive. However, there is nowhere near the range that Illy offers.
Lavazza Vs. Illy on Coffee Subscription Services
Lavazza is quite new to subscriptions but has now started offering this service. There are two different types of subscription on offer: a coffee-only subscription or a machine and coffee subscription.
What’s great about the machine and coffee subscription is that it allows you to buy your new coffee machine from them for as little as £1 as a part of the package. When choosing this option, you’ll need to subscribe to a minimum of ten boxes of capsules (or 2kg coffee beans). However, it means that you can spread the cost of purchasing a new coffee machine, which is great.
There are three types of coffee-only subscriptions: capsules, coffee beans and ground coffee. The capsule subscription offers 25% off while the ground coffee and coffee beans subscriptions offer a saving of up to 15%.
With Illy, you can also choose a machine and coffee subscription or a coffee-only subscription. Illy is slightly more open about their pricing on this from the first page.
The machine and coffee option starts from £27.88/month at the time of writing while the coffee-only option starts at £12.38/month. Illy’s subscription plan also means you collect Loyalty Hearts, which if you’re a member of Illy Lovers, you’re able to use for discounts and other offers.
Overall, Illy has the edge when it comes to subscriptions. There is more choice of products and their loyalty scheme is good too.
Most people that like Italian coffee will love both Lavazza and Illy. As we all have different tastes, the verdict as to which one is best is very individual and these two brands are almost neck-and-neck. However, if you’re someone who is all about taste and flavour and you love a strong cup, Lavazza will probably be the one to go for. If you’re looking for which brand is best overall though, we’d probably argue that it was Illy. Though Lavazza has the edge in terms of the quality and variety of coffee roasts available, Illy’s impressive offering of machines and coffee types will come out on top. While Lavazza’s taste and variety are impressive, Illy is a one-stop-shop when it comes to everything coffee lovers want and need.
But don’t just take our word for it, try them and let us know what you think!