Dr. Ernesto Illy had a mission - spreading the gospel of quality espresso and coffee for the greater part of his scientific life, often praised as "Espresso Evangelist," the "Espresso Doctor" and of course, "Papa Bean."
Born in Trieste in 1925, he obtained a degree in chemistry from the University of Bologna in 1947. In 1956, control of the company passed from Francesco, the company's founder and his father, to Ernesto, who started a research laboratory that soon became the source of numerous new inventions and patents, allowing illy to become a leader in innovation and technology. It was Ernesto, a scientist and researcher, who established cooperation agreements with universities and research centers, promoted premium quality coffee around the globe, and who brought Italian-style espresso to the rest of the world. From 1963 to 2004 he was Chairman of Illycaffè S.p.A. in Trieste, and now holds the title, Honorary Chairman.
Dr. Illy's impressive resume of past positions and honors include:
- ASIC (Association Scientifique International du Café, Paris) Founder and Senior Vice President of the organization
- P.E.C. (Physiological Effects of Coffee, Paris) Served as Chairman in 1981
- I.S.I.C. (Institute for Scientific Information of Coffee, Paris) Chairman since 1991
- Cavaliere del Lavoro (Knight of Industry) Granted the title by Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro in 1994
- Centromarca (association representing brand-name companies, Italy) President since 1996
- Specialty Coffee Association of America (S.C.A.A.). Awarded with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" in 1997
- Monte Carmelo, Brazil — 2002 awarded honorary citizenship for contributions to the area
- I.C.O. (International Coffee Organization, London) September 2002 elected Chairman of the Promotion Committee
- Flor del Cafè, Guatemala- 2004 made a member of the order by Anacafè (National Coffee Association of Guatemala)