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illy Espresso: My Morning Jolt

* A Shot in the Arm *

An important housekeeping note is at the bottom of this post.

Yesterday (Saturday) at a rosé wine event in Charleston, I was mildly thrashed because I have not talked much about coffee except for a few mentions when I first started the blog back in January.  Sheepishly, I agreed and said I would work on that.  And then Sunday began, and I really needed my coffee today.  As a matter of fact, I was still drinking coffee (a red-eye, mind you) at 6:00 pm.  So today I want to introduce you to my shot in the arm, my illy Espresso machine.  (FTR: more on that wine event later this week.)

Why was a drinking a red-eye at 6:00 pm you ask?  Well, last week was C.R.A.Z.Y. for me.  I was burning candles at both ends almost every night and not getting much sleep in the process.  It all caught up with me, and last night I slept for 13 hours.  I never do that.  I am sure Gary came up to check on me to make sure I was still breathing at least once or twice. But I clearly needed the sleep and then a jolt to get me going.  So today, coffee is my best friend, and as I write this post, my coffee mug is still on my desk along with my wine glass that we just filled with a delicious Breton Cidre (more on that on another day as well).

Morning Nectar

As I said back in January, we have three coffee machines on our counter. Yes, it is that serious! A Keurig machine so we can have a cup while the pot is brewing. The Cuisinart is our drip brewer that is my “last all day” pot o’ joe. And the illy Espresso Machine is for that frequent jolt that I need to power through the tough part of the day. Today, was a day needing much power, so the espresso machine got a workout.

My Introduction to illy Espresso Machines

Several years ago at a dinner party, I was asked if I wanted an espresso at the end of dinner. The hostess went into her kitchen and turned on the strange looking machine (some of the earlier models were somewhat “space-age” in design).  She grabbed a coffee pod and tossed it in the machine and about thirty seconds later, I had this delicious demitasse of espresso.  It was incredible. I think I had two or three before we left for the evening.  So I had to find out what brand it was. It was definitely not a Nespresso machine.  I had tried that before and was not a fan. Nothing in a Nespresso cup reminded me of espresso, but that night I was in love.  I quizzed her on what, where and how to get one.  It is an illy. It is online and in coffee shops that sell illy products.  I ordered one online the very next day.

My illy Espresso Machine

illy Espresso

There are many different styles and features that you can get on an illy machine.  But I like my coffee black, so I did not need a frother or milk dispenser.  I just want great espresso.

A graveyard of old espresso machines.

And let me tell you, I have had several espresso machines in my life, and they all were a lot of work; to maintain, to clean and to use. Quite a few had rubber gaskets dry out which prevented a seal that I was always replacing so I gave up on espresso except at restaurants and coffee houses. But then I found illy, and we are a match made in heaven.

As you can see from the images above, I have illy cups.  They run promotions all the time, and I got them for free, just for ordering coffee.

FrancisFrancis Y3

I am not sure about the naming system, but I guess that it means something to the Italians since this is where illy headquarters is located.  I have the FrancisFrancis Y3.  It is an older model but they are still sold and for $80 bucks less than what I paid.  The latest version is the sleek and stylish Y9, but my Y3 serves my purposes.  The Y3 is compact and takes up very little room on my kitchen counter.  It sells for $199.

Should you want one of these beauties, just know that you need to read the instruction manual to set it up.  I did not and made several mistakes wasting coffee. Don’t be me. Read the instructions. You can even determine your drink strength preference.  My singles are short and powerful, but my doubles fill the cup.

Pods for every mood

illy Espresso

illy is a pod-based system, and they have all kinds.  I stick with the three essential pods: Espresso Dark (black), Decaf Espresso (green) and Lungo (or Long) Espresso (blue).

As I said, I bought my machine online, and I get my coffee pods online as well.  There is usually a promotion that covers shipping if you meet the spend threshold and that’s easy to do so it makes it all super simple. The pods are sold in cans or vacuum foil bags.  I get the cans because there are more pods in a can and I repurpose the cans.

I liked mine so much that my sister bought one and our friends Bryan & Craig did as well.  If you love espresso simple, easy and no mess, this is the way to go.

illy Espresso Machines are sold online and at select retailers (none in Charleston).


A note about what I post when.  For those of you that know me well, you know rigid schedules are not my thing.  I am more of a free spirit that likes the free flow of life, liberty, and happiness. Stress is a big no-no.  I have found that always posting Recipes on Mondays, Charleston reviews on Tuesdays, Wine on Wednesdays, etc… is way too stressful.  So I want you to know that you will get all those things frequently but a recipe may be posted on a Tuesday and a Charleston review on a Monday.    You will get what you have come to expect from Strong Coffee to Red Wine, but not on that rigid of a schedule.



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