Espressamente Illy in Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur is one of my favourite place for coffee.
And yesterday (Friday the 3rd, 2009), with a personal invitation from Michael, went there to witness a special event.
Andrea Illy, the President and CEO of illycaffè was there for a press conference.
Make no mistake, illycaffè as a company has done tremendous job in educating and promoting premuim arabica blend of coffee to the public. Their research facility is probably one of the biggest in the world. They even have a University of Coffee as a training institute.
Though among coffee geeks, many tend to whacked them for their apparent lack of freshness in their beans on retail, I can’t really fault them for it. If you want to market worldwide, mass production, storage, international shipping… it is virtually impossible to offer fresh roasted coffee (or anything less than a month). But they did try their best in attempting to preserve freshness. Their 3kg tin of illy coffee apparently has undergone much scientific research to ensure minimal degradation of bean quality.
(But frankly, trying to prevent degradation of roasted coffee beans is like trying to prevent human aging. We all hope for breakthough but it is not happening.)
When you first open the 3kg tin, the aroma contained in the pressurised tin can filled the entire cafe for a minute. Brew them on the spot, it is still very decent. But after a day or two, staleness set it. Compare that to a pack of fresh roasted coffee of 2 weeks old, it can last more than a week before staleness set in. If you open a pack of coffee that is 3 days from roasting, it remain fresh for 2 weeks.
Back to Espressamente Illy…
Mr. Andrea Illy intro them to quite a bit of the history of illycaffè. You should see the reaction of the journalists when Mr. Andrea Illy ask all of them to try some espresso (without sugar?). It was pretty funny. There were distinctively lack of enthusiasm.
Francis Francis X7 using the iperEspresso System. Suppose to brew you espresso CONVENIENTLY. Looks great but unfortunately, they did not actually demonstrate its capability. Making real and good espresso is NOT CONVENIENT, so I’m really don’t expect great espresso from this machine. But then, CONVENIENCE is a very important factor to many people and I believe it can consistenly brew you something average and not horrible. Believe me, an espresso that is not horrible is better than most espresso you buy in $bucks or any of those major coffee chains.
You want a GOOD espresso, either learn to make it yourselves or order one from Espressamente Illy.
Many cafes in Malaysia offer coffee from illy but not many are good. Though the beans may be from the same source, it is the preparation that makes all the difference.
At Espressamente Illy, their baristas were properly trained. They grind their coffee by orders. They adjusted their grinds for optimum extractions and they know how to froth the milk. And they take criticism positively and improve all the time.