Chronology of an idea


illycaffè liberalizes access to the E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) patent to create a single standard for the industry and promotes the industrial propagation of the espresso coffee brewing system it originally invented.


Interested espresso coffee roasters and manufacturers begin to meet and interact with each other.


Marks the establishment of the Consortium.

Founding members: Briel, Euromatik, Girmi, illycaffè, Little Italy, SGL, Unic.


The Consortium strengthens its role.

E.S.E. members hold 80% of the global market for coffee machines and 40-50% of the paper pods market.

The standard E.S.E. fosters technological improvements that optimize the performance and quality of paper pods and espresso machines.


The standard E.S.E. “servings culture” has been embraced by operators world-wide.
The Consortium has achieved its initial objectives.
The single-servings market for standard E.S.E. paper pods grows primarily outside of Italy.


The pods market is increasingly being crowded by different brewing systems and products, is fragmented, fiercely competitive and confused. It is ever more profitable and still has enormous potential for growth.
The Consortium also switches gears and initiates an open debate on the evolution of the coffee market, by which “basic” product offerings (like ground or whole bean coffee) have been eclipsed by a dazzling range of product/service combos (espresso coffee served “in the cup” by different open or closed systems).
The Consortium organizes the “First International Single-Serving Coffee Symposium”.


The Consortium undertakes to further improve the E.S.E. quality standard.
To enhance the consistency and accuracy of standard conformance tests, the pods dimensional parameters are tightened, and different types of coffee beverage are studied and classified.
Quality Assurance committees (composed of members from different companies) studied two prototype “dimes” made of silicone, which perfectly mimic the dimensions of the two E.S.E. pod sizes currently in existence, to further standardize and enhance the accuracy of standard conformance tests.


The execution of preliminary compostability certification tests marks the successful completion of all tasks foreseen by the Standard E.S.E. Total Quality plan.