Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Illy Medium Roast Ground Espresso Coffee Might Well Be The Ultimate Baseline Espresso!

The Good: Good taste, Appropriately caffeinated
The Bad: Not the strongest espresso flavor, Comparatively pricey
The Basics: Illy Medium Roast Ground Espresso Coffee is a wonderful baseline blend for ground espressos, even if it is a little more expensive than comparable blends.

Recently, my incredible wife picked me up a home espresso maker. I’m not sure if the five year anniversary was supposed to be coffee or if she just was inspired, but for our fifth wedding anniversary, she gave me a whole espresso making system with all sorts of goodies and accessories. Ever since, I have been experimenting more with new ground espressos, creamers, and coffee flavorings (I found a wonderful local distributor for Torani syrups!) both for review and personal enjoyment. For the espresso I use as a baseline to explore flavored coffee additives, I find I keep returning to Illy Medium Roast Ground Espresso. Illy Medium Roast Ground Espresso coffee is a dark roast coffee that lives up to its flavor potential, without being overbearing to the palate.


One of the premium coffee roasters and distributors in the United States and Europe, Illy produces a number of blends. Medium Roast Ground Espresso is one of the more subtle blends by Illy that I have found in stores and for the 8.8 oz. metal canister, it is priced a little higher than most of its competitors. Apparently, Illy is under the impression that people cannot easily find whole bean coffee and an incredible coffee grinder in order to make espresso-quality ground coffee. Medium Roast Ground Espresso is one of the few blends made explicitly for espresso makers and it yields a decent cup of espresso. Illy Medium Roast Ground Espresso comes in an 8.8 oz. metal canister of ground coffee. Because it is not whole bean, no grinding is required. With a metal lid that one simply lifts off, the Medium Roast Ground Espresso Coffee is easily protected from absorbing scents of other foods. The container is fairly smooth and easy to handle.

Medium Roast Ground Espresso Coffee is an aromatic blend in the canister and it is only mildly caffeinated.

Ease Of Preparation

Medium Roast Ground Espresso Coffee is remarkably easy to prepare, no advanced culinary degrees necessary! First, open the can. Illy Medium Roast Ground Espresso Coffee is vacuum sealed when first purchased, but it has only a foil seal to get through to break the vacuum seal. After removing the foil seal, procure a scoop (not included) and measure out the ground espresso beans to the proportions of your espresso maker/serving. Medium Roast Ground Espresso Coffee is intended for espresso coffee makers, like my Mr. Coffee Espresso Coffee maker (reviewed here!). This is NOT an instant coffee. As a result, it needs to be brewed.


The Illy Medium Roast Ground Espresso Coffee smells surprisingly lightly of coffee, despite being an espresso drink. When brewed, this is not the most aromatic blend, though it does smell like coffee.

On the tongue, the Illy Medium Roast is a bitter, powerful espresso beverage. It starts bitter with a very dry aftertaste that lasts in the mouth for about thirty seconds before finishing bitter. Each sip of this espresso restores the bitter flavor to the mouth and reaffirms that this is a powerful espresso. The flavor of this coffee is equivalent to about double the strength of most dark roast coffees, making it pretty much the archetype of an espresso.

With a flavor syrup or frothed milk, the Illy Medium Roast Espresso is a powerful dark coffee flavor without the bitterness of the unadulterated espresso. This espresso continues to assert its coffee flavor while still allowing the creamer, steamed milk, or flavor syrups to flavor the beverage.


This is coffee, not something that appears on the nutrition pyramid! Illy Medium Roast Ground Espresso Coffee does not contribute anything to one's daily recommended allowance of anything. In fact, the canister lists only 100% Arabica coffee as the only ingredient.

This is a caffeinated blend, though the container notes it has a caffeine content not greater than 1.5%. Outside that, there are no nutritional notes for the coffee on the canister.


Medium Roast Ground Espresso Coffee ought to be stored sealed in its container with the top firmly on. Coffee is known to absorb flavors of food nearby it, so keeping the top on is highly recommended. There are different schools of thought on refrigerating open coffee and I have a very clean refrigerator with a lot of ways to segregate coffee, so I tend to come down on the side of refrigerate it. Stored properly, this coffee might have easily made it to the May 2015 expiration date found on the bottom, but given how frequently we have espresso these days, it will not last that long at all!

After brewing, coffee grounds ought to be disposed of. As an espresso, the coffee grounds cannot credibly be reused for a second brewing. These grounds may be thrown in the trash when used or put in a compost pile, if available. Coffee grounds make great compost.


Illy Medium Roast Ground Espresso Coffee is a good espresso blend, but it is hardly an incredible one. Instead, this is perhaps the embodiment of quality average espresso beans for home brewing.

For other coffee reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Taster's Choice Gourmet Roast
Starbuck's French Roast
Melitta Extra Dark European Blend Coffee


For other drink reviews, please check out my Drink Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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