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Taste the World with Just One Sip as illy Premium Coffee Takes Flight on United

United Airlines logo.  (PRNewsFoto/United Airlines)

CHICAGO, June 30, 2016 Starting Friday, July 1, customers aboard United Airlines flights around the world can experience illy, the premium coffee roaster known for its consistent and unparalleled quality in over 140 countries.

“United chose illy as our global coffee partner because they represent the gold standard of premium coffee and they share our commitment to creating an elevated, distinctive experience for our customers,” said Jimmy Samartzis, United’s vice president of Food Services and United Clubs. “We acted on customer feedback and are delivering a product our employees are proud to serve, while bringing excellence and passion to every one of the 72 million cups of coffee we serve inflight every year.”

The company, known for its commitment to sustainability, was also selected as a partner because it reflects United’s global network and and commitment to creating a premium experience for its customers. Illy purchases only from the top one percent of Arabica beans grown directly from growers in Brazil, Central America, India and Africa to create the distinct flavor of illy’s unique blend. Its supply chain is certified sustainable ensuring social and economic development for the growers and the best coffee quality for customers and coffee lovers around the world.

“Over the past several months, we experienced an overwhelmingly positive response from United’s customers and employees that illy is coming onboard. We are very proud to be the coffee that millions of customers enjoy in United Clubs and now on all flights,” said Andrea Illy, Chairman of illycaffe s.p.a. “The illy brand is known around the world for its unparalleled quality and nearly 85 years of expertise in science and innovation, which positions us well to meet the needs of United.”

To understand what makes a truly great coffee experience, United deployed its team of food and beverage experts and engaged employees in both the airport and in flight. While in flight, employees and customers tasted several brands and blends and provided their feedback. View more about United’s coffee selection process.

Illy’s Research and Development spent months testing many parameters for brewing and serving coffee in flight, ranging from different roasts to grind size, in order to achieve the highest quality cup of coffee when brewed and served at 35,000 feet. The team recommended a darker roast bean to ensure a bold flavor with noticeable chocolate notes. After testing the blend with customers, they most frequently selected illy’s dark roast as the best taste.

Read more about how United and illy discovered the right inflight brew on United Hub.

United and illy Facts

  • United announces global coffee partnership with illy, November 2015.
  • United begins serving illy premium dark roast in United Club locations, December 2015.
  • United will serve more than 72 million cups of coffee this year or more than 200,000 cups per day.

Access video and photos here: illy and United photos and illy and United b-roll.

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,000 flights a day to 336 airports across six continents. In 2015, United and United Express operated more than 1.5 million flights carrying more than 140 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates more than 715 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 21 new Boeing aircraft, including 737 NGs, 787s and 777s. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. Approximately 86,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.
SOURCE United Airlines

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