1 Views from the helicopter were amazing. Here, we flew over Trieste. Trieste is a narrow strip in northeastern Italy between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. It is located at the head of the Gulf of Trieste. Today, Trieste is one of the richest regions of Italy and is a center for shipping, ship building, and financial services.
2 Trieste is the capital of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the Province of Trieste. The population of Trieste is about 200-thousand - many from neighboring regions and countries, such as Venice, Austria, and Slovenia.
3 Trieste has a unique and beautiful natural location surrounded by the Carsic hills and the Adriatic Sea. And, just look at the beautiful clear blue water ahead...
4 One could see for miles and miles - the views were majestic.
5 This is an aerial view of the Duino Cliffs, a nature reserve covering about 107-hectares, or nearly 265-acres.They are some of the only high cliffs on the Italian Northern Adriatic Coast. Some of its plant life includes holm oak, laurel and hornbeam.
6 Here is a view of the Miramare Castle built in the second half of the 19th century by the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg as a residence for himself and his wife, Charlotte of Belgium. The castle stands on the peak of the rocky promontory of Grignano, overlooking the Gulf of Trieste. http://www.castello-miramare.it/eng/storia/castello.php
7 Mr. Andrea Illy, the Chairman and CEO of illycaffe, sat in the front of our helicopter, and told us about the great sights below. http://www.illy.com/
8 I sat right behind him taking lots of photos.
9 This was our pilot - it was a very smooth ride.
10 The waters were very calm on this day.
11 A mix of traditional houses with red barrel-styled roofs in the foreground and the urban city in the background. Trieste is no longer a bustling seaport, but it is still proud of its trading history. By the middle of the 19th century, the city traded goods such as coffee, black pepper, nutmeg, saffron, and dates from Africa and Asia. It served as a true connection between the Eastern World and Europe.
12 Here I am arriving in the lobby of the illycaffe factory. At the center of the reception area was a bar, where anyone could request an espresso.
13 There were many lounging areas for visitors to enjoy their cups of espresso.
14 Look at all the different cups atop the espresso bar. illy continually works with artists who design espresso cups. illy likes to display them at their headquarters and at their cafes.
15 While I was there, I ordered a one-shot cappuccino. At illycaffe, baristas are recognized for artisanship, technical skill and dedication to craft. The baristas achieve the title of Artisti del Gusto (Artists of Tastes) after months of education at illy's Universita del Caffe, which has 24-campuses around the world.
16 The illy history and timeline filled the walls of one area of reception. The company began in 1933 when Francesco Illy decided to open a cocoa and coffee establishment in Trieste. In 1935, he invented the first automatic coffee machine.
17 On this wall, the company explains the pillars of "illy quality" including product quality, and care for the environment. In the glass case is a model of the coffee cluster built for the Expo Milano 2015.
18 illycaffe is an official partner of Expo Milano 2015, and is in charge of the entire coffee cluster - the large pavilion at the universal exposition entirely devoted to coffee.
19 Giant sized cups decorated the factory.
20 The X7.1 Sunrise line is the new limited edition iperEspresso machines. It makes espressos, cappuccinos and lattes using the illy brewing technology that never allows the coffee to come in contact with the machine.
21 illy offers several varieties of Monoarabica coffee from Brazil, India, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Colombia.
22 Here are some of the whimsical designs on a collection of espresso cups specially created for illy by artist, Bob Wilson.
23 illycaffe also sells books about the company history and the coffee.
24 Here are the different model espresso machines for visitors to try.
25 illycaffe's University of Coffee, or Universite del caffe, was originally set up for growers, entrepreneurs, and professionals working in cafes, restaurants, and other facilities. The university teaches coffee history, its production and preparation, etc. More than 10-thousand people are trained at the University of Coffee each year.
26 The next part of the tour included the factory's coffee making process. After the beans are roasted, they are sent to these cooling chambers, where powerful streams of air cooled them off and stopped the roasting to prevent spontaneous combustion. Once cooled, jets of air carry the beans to the rest of the process.
27 To see the process was amazing... the illy method is a pressurization technique used by the company to preserve its coffee.
28 During the process, air is extracted from the cans and replaced with inert gases at higher than atmospheric levels.
29 To preserve its coffee quality even more, illy also makes all of its own cans, so every tin of illycaffe starts off in Trieste.
30 The entire area was filled with machines carrying out a function of the process from brewing to packaging.
31 The tins are each filled with coffee beans in their pressurized cans.
32 Each tin is tested for durability and airtightness. They are also tested to make sure they don't explode under pressure.
33 These are illy's pod cups - convenient and efficient single-serve coffee and espresso pods and capsules.
34 The pod cups are filled and moved down the line to packaging.
35 These pods are color coded to identify type of roast - dark roasted, medium roasted, decaffeinated and long espresso.
36 Among the most interesting stops on the tour was the laboratory, where selections were made and coffee blends were created.
37 Mr. Illy explained how the tasting would be conducted.
38 Our director of food development, Thomas Joseph, was ready for the caffeinated taste test.
39 We tasted single-origin espresso beans from Brazil, India, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Colombia and Costa Rica.
40 These were samples of inferior beans. At the illy University, students are taught how to identify inferior beans, and how they were affected - by humidity, rancidity, etc.
41 The taste taste was mainly for flavor preservation. illy's pressurization process is meant to preserve the flavor. Most coffees, using traditional packaging, last about one to two years. Eight year old coffee in an illy pressurized tin still kept a lot of the flavors intact.
42 Mr. Illy was showing us the difference between old coffee from a newly pressurized tin and younger coffee that was not stored in any pressurized way. There was a difference, but clearly, we were able to note that the pressurization helped.
43 Here were the tasting samples. It was a very interesting process called "coffee cupping" - a technique used by "cuppers" to evaluate coffee aroma, and flavor profile of a coffee. To properly understand the differences between coffees grown in different regions, it was important to taste them side by side.
44 "Cupping" can also be used to evaluate defective coffees, or to create and develop new coffee blends.
45 Many professional coffee "cuppers" like to use specially designed, silver plated spoons for cupping. The shape facilitates fast slurping and the silver plating minimizes any potential flavor alterations. If you look closely, this spoon is engraved "Andrea Illy".
46 This microscopic image shows how pressurization helps to keep the flavor.
48 After leaving the factory, we drove along the coast, and passed the Piazza Unita d'Italia. This was the main town square in Trieste. It is located at the foot of the hill where the San Giusto castle sits. The square is occasionally used as a concert venue.
49 This is Trieste City Hall. This building stands in the town square of Trieste. The square is often said to be Europe's largest square facing the sea. Palazzo del Municipio has an elaborate structure, formed by two lateral wings and a central body. The center section is adorned with a clock tower topped by two bronze figures, Mikeze and Jakeze, of Trieste folklore.
51 It had all of the special illy products displayed for sale.
52 The shop was very well organized and very well stocked.
53 Mr. Illy viewed a direct feed from the coffee cluster at the Expo Milano 2015. He was experiencing it LIVE from the shop. It was quite interesting.
54 It was a wonderful visit to illycafe.