Winner Announced As Best of the Best at the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award 2016

Ahmed Legesse from Ethiopia Recognized as ’Best of the Best’ at the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award 2016

NEW YORK, November 2, 2016 – On November 1st, illycaffè, the Trieste based family-owned Italian roaster, leading brand in top quality coffee, presented the 1st Annual Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award at the Delegates Dining Room of the United Nations. With this award, illycaffè wants to recognize the coffee growers’ commitment to quality and sustainability, emphasizing the importance of working hand-in-hand with them, while also pursuing the company’s dream to offer the greatest coffee to the world.

The illy Quality Lab in Italy identified, among the 2015-16 season’s crops, the 3 best coffee lots from the 9 most representative coffee producing countries of the unique illy blend. This year the competing countries are Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, India and Nicaragua. Then, an internal jury selected the one that, among those 3, represents the best of each country.

Hosted by the Illy Family and featuring Master of Ceremonies Gordon Elliott, the award gala honored and recognized all of the 27 finalists, who nurture the best quality beans in the world for illycaffè. The coffee producers involved in the event traveled to New York with the support of United Airlines, which now proudly serves the illy blend on all domestic and international flights and lounges.

“Exactly 25 years ago, my father Ernesto Illy created the Brazilian Quality Award, which triggered the transformation of Brazil into a high quality coffee producer – said Andrea Illy, Chairman of illycaffè – Today we celebrate this important milestone by extending this prestigious award to all the major producing countries of the unique illy blend, with the aim of building the future of coffee by bringing together growers & coffee lovers”.

The 9 country winner coffees were tasted yesterday by an international independent jury in different preparations, to choose the ‘best of the best’ coffee of the 2015-16 season’s crops.

The jury – mentored by author Mark Pendergrast and illy Quality director David Brussa, and composed by Peter Giuliano (SCAA Director), Kerri Goodman (publisher), Corby Kummer (journalist), Grace Hightower (philantrophist), Suvir Saran, Viki Geunes and Luigi Taglienti (Michelin starred chefs), Maria Loi (chef, restaurateur, Greek food ambassador), Adolfo Henrique Vieira Ferreira (Chairman of the Brazil Specialty Coffee Association) – awarded Ahmed Legesse from Ethiopia with the Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award.

“This is an Ethiopian coffee with an intense and delicate flavor. Its unique high intensity floral jasmine notes are mixed with a slight hint of citrus and fresh fruit. Coffee is believed to have originated in the forests of Ethiopia, and the coffee plant still grows here in the wild, amid the shady vegetation. It is picked by hand in the plantations and even in domestic gardens, where coffee ripens alongside the other crops – the jury’s spokesperson declared about the winning coffee – A special coffee with a mild, delicate aroma and a unique perfume with distinctive floral notes of jasmine and a hint of citrus fruit”.

An honorable special mention went to Honduras, which took second place obtaining an equal Global Quality Score, but was surpassed by the Ethiopian coffee in the judging category evaluation of Aroma Intensity of Espresso.

During the event, Andrea Illy recalled the 3 virtues of coffee – pleasure, health and sustainability – and the virtuous circle between the well-being generated by the consumer response and the economic value benefiting the producing countries. This virtuous circle must be nurtured and accelerated by increasing product value with quality, differentiation and sustainability.


1. Juliana Tytko Armelin
2. Daniella Romano Pelosini
3. Arabela Pereira Lima

1. Carlos Arturo López Guarnizo
2. Ovalle Duarte
3. Eliecer Torres

Costa Rica
1. Mauricio Barrantes
2. Warner Quesada Elizondo
3. Johnny Marin Badilla

El Salvador
1. Jose Antonio Salaverria Jr.
2. Leopoldo Muyshondt
3. Miguel Angel Caceres

1. Ahmed Legesse
2. Seada Shifa
3. Yismashewa Seyoum

1. Jorge Bolaños
2. Jose D. Guerra
3. Edward Andres Esteve

1. Juan Angel Milla
2. Dario Enamorado
3. Omar Acosta

1. Mohamed Suhaib
2. Tanveer Jabbar
3. Anand. J . Mathais

1. Jose Arauz
2. Carlos Alberto Cruz Lopez
3. Victor Hugo Castillo

More information about illy and its products can be found at and Follow illy on twitter Follow illy on Instagram

illycaffè is an Italian family business, founded in Trieste in 1933 and committed to offer 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 best Arabica, served in more than 7 million cups in over 140 countries in the finest cafés, restaurants and hotels. As a leader in the science and technology of coffee – with three radical innovations – illy is the forerunner of espresso. With the first Brazilian award for the best coffee quality for espresso in 1991, illy also pioneered direct sourcing, sharing know-how and paying a premium price for the best quality, based on partnerships underpinned by the principles of sustainable development. The company also set up and runs the University of Coffee with the aim to foster and spread its culture, providing comprehensive academic and hands-on training for coffee growers, baristas and coffee lovers 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 2015 the company was employing 1,177 people, and posted consolidated revenues of €437 million. The stores and mono-brand illy shops are about 230 in 43 Countries.

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