TRIESTE, Italy — Università del Caffè, illycaffè’s University of Coffee, is celebrating its 20th anniversary, marking a milestone as the most influential authority in coffee worldwide by having shared over eight decades of scientific and industry expertise.
Founded in Naples in 1999 before moving to illy’s headquarters in Trieste in 2002, the University of Coffee was conceived by Ernesto Illy, son of illycaffè’s founder Francesco Illy, to promote, support and spread quality coffee culture around the world.
Today, University of Coffee stands as an epicenter for training coffee producers and hospitality professionals, and educating coffee lovers, at 28 locations around the world, from San Francisco, California to Seoul, Korea. Over 270,000 people have attended University of Coffee programs since 2000, including more than 10,000 coffee producers.
“My grandfather’s dream was to bring coffee culture to every corner of the world,” said Daria Illy, Ernesto’s granddaughter and Director of Coffee Culture at illycaffè, the department that oversees Università del Caffè. “We are celebrating 20 years of learning and sharing that makes his dream come true. We’ve been innovators and pioneers in spreading coffee culture over these past 20 years, and now we’re ready to embark on a new chapter filled with opportunities to further our vision.”
University of Coffee aims to raise the quality of each phase of the coffee professional’s work, while establishing a virtuous circle of knowledge to create value over time through growth, sustainability and transparency. The program offers a wide range of innovative, in-depth courses to meet a broad spectrum of training needs, with a sharp focus on practical, real world needs, especially in hospitality.
Professors also conduct training activities in the field covering the technical, managerial and operational aspects of being a coffee professional. In addition to its structured curriculum, University of Coffee’s expertise is available for consultancy services across areas such as product transformation, personnel development and café management.
Beyond the coffee producer and professional training, University of Coffee promotes coffee culture through tasting experiences and skills building lessons for coffee lovers who want the tools and knowledge to better understand and enjoy the world of coffee. These discovery courses can often be found at illycaffè shops, retail partners and select cultural and food festivals.
The 20th anniversary milestone was officially celebrated earlier this month at the Fourth Annual Ernesto Illy International Coffee Award (EIICA) in New York City, which honored top coffee growers from around the world who offer the highest quality, sustainably grown coffee.
In the spirit of sharing quality coffee culture, growers attended a seminar at the United Nations to learn the latest developments in agronomical practices, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and long-term sustainability. That evening, illy proudly announced the EIICA “Best of the Best” honoree for the 2018-2019 harvest: Colombia’s ‘Spirit of Peace Ex-Combatants’ – Asacafè. Only a short time ago, the group’s leaders were part of anti-government insurgency. Through the Spirit of Peace project, an effort illy has supported since its inception, a rural Colombian community has been given the opportunity to learn the craft of quality coffee growing: a vital engine for a larger transformation.
University of Coffee will celebrate its first two decades of sharing coffee expertise at events running through 2020. As it looks toward its future, the program remains focused on sharing its passion for coffee culture, building on its reputation as a premier global coffee education institution and broadening its training and educational offerings.