Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Ernesto Illy (1925-2008)

Ernesto Illy, the grandfather of coffee, died earlier this month. He combined a scientific rigour to the development and making of good coffee with a flair for style. A PhD in chemistry, experience on the road selling coffee, Ernesto became managing director of Illy in 1956, the company his father had founded in 1933.

From the Times obit:

'For him, the water temperature should be between 90C and 95C and the coffee the sand-sized grinds of exactly 50 beans roasted at 220C, with 25ml to 30ml of espresso then extracted from it under 9 atmospheres of pressure. The temperature of the coffee to be sipped must be between 80C and 85C, and Illy even designed the shape of a cup for the ideal taste. Milk and sugar he regarded as contaminants.'

Other obits can be read here & here & here.

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