Before I influence you with my impressions of Illy, what is your opinion? Is is priced reasonably in relation to quality? What does it taste like? How does the dark roast differ? Post a comment now before reading any further. (Technically, I have already biased you with my title.)
Two days ago, I broke down and purchased some Illy coffee. Seduced by the premium price, fancy packaging a la tin can, and the curiosity of what I might be missing, I plopped my hard earned cash on the iconic red can. Thankfully, the supermarket placed Illy on sale for two dollars less than normal! Coming to 12.99 for 8.8oz of whole bean, medium roasted Illy coffee.
A pretty penny to be sure.
Naturally, I am a big fan of fancy, intriguing packaging. The reflective, circle tin can along with the simple Illy logo appeals to my appreciation for aesthetics. Yet, a fantastic taste is what turns a first time customer to a return customer. (We hope!) After removing the metal seal, pouring the beans into the grinder, and firing up the espresso machine, I tasted the vaunted Illy brand. What did I think?
It was a deflating "decent." Perhaps, my expectations exceeded what I secretly knew. No roast date, the coffee is being sold at a supermarket, and Italian coffee generally has a reputation for solid but simple tasting coffee. In conjunction with the elevated price and only receiving 8.8oz of coffee it's difficult to justify buying it every week. With that said, the espresso embodied a smooth and moderately bright taste which is quite pleasant, but leaves a small, but noticeable, ashy aftertaste.
I found Archer Farms' Peru San Ignacio a superior supermarket coffee, which at 4-5 dollars cheaper and more flavorful than Illy, would be my choice between the two. Am I being too harsh? Is my coffee palette not refined to marshal out the nuanced flavors of Illy? Sound off in the comments section.