The Pleasure of a Perfect Coffee: Q&A With illy CEO Massimiliano Pogliani

Every day, more than 7 million cups of illy coffee are enjoyed worldwide—a confirmation of how much the historic brand born in Trieste in 1933 has contributed, in a decisive way, to the diffusion of a global “coffee culture.”

illy’s quality originates from a search for excellence that is not limited to the raw material, but is also oriented on all-important aspects such as product and process innovation, relations with growers and partners, employee engagement and retail experience. illy has built a universe of ethics, technology, experience, taste, science and art around the “coffee culture” concept, leading the brand to represent an iconic role in coffee quality in over 140 countries and to record significant financial results, with a turnover of €467 million in 2017.


The cornerstone of the illy brand is sustainability, which is guaranteed by careful and scrupulous control over the whole production chain, from the beans to the cup. This achievement is fulfilled by focusing on the company’s relationship with its coffee growers, passing on to them all the know-how necessary for producing the best possible coffee and guaranteeing that they are paid a profitable price for the harvest.

The only way a production can be truly sustainable, in fact, is by paying the farmers well. For this reason, on top of the price set on the basis of the international market quotation, the company adds an equitable margin that takes into account production costs and helps to compensate the farmers for their greater commitment and dedication to achieving top quality.

Massimo Pogliani illycaffè

Further evidence of illy’s commitment to sustainability and to its growers is the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award, instituted recognize excellence in the cultivation of the highest-quality coffee using sustainable methods. The award, named after the late Ernesto Illy, son of the founder of illycaffè, celebrates almost three decades of collaboration between the company and the producers, and will be presented on October 4, at the United Nations in New York City.

A few days before the presentation of this important award, Manfredi Ricca, Chief Strategy Officer EMEA and LatAm, Interbrand, met Massimiliano Pogliani, CEO of illycaffè, to talk about this great brand which, by combining tradition and innovation, continues to pursue Francesco Illy’s dream of making the best coffee in the world.

Get more insights in our Q&A series.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *