Good article in New York Times about Illy: Discovering La Dolce Vita in a Cup. Registration required, more than likely.

Illycaffe is one of Italy’s premier espresso roasters. I’ve tasted some of their stuff, it is indeed superb. It surprises me to read that they eschew robusta (dismissed as “truck-tire consommé”) in their blend. To my understanding, most Italian roasters prefer a little robusta in their cup, and I’m quite fond of the American roasters here who use a bit in their espressos (I’m convinced that Maravonda does, for instance, and they’re one of my favorite espresso roasters). It’s obviously quite possible to produce a wonderful espresso with only arabica, though.

I’d also like to emphasize that contrary to those who may claim otherwise, it’s perfectly possible to find exquisite espresso blends outside Italy. In fact, you’re often better off buying a locally roasted blend instead of a can of Italian espresso.