United will serve Illy Coffee Onboard

Not that anyone would choose to fly them anyway, not even for their better than average coffee…

Airplane Coffee

Airplane Coffee

But hey, I commend United on trying to upgrade from the pretty nasty caffeinating experience travelers have to go through when flying. While I do know that it is a fact that taste buds are affected by pressurization and dry air, as well as noise levels, I also know for a fact that airlines, especially in the US, have never really given a damn about providing coffee that is other than repulsive.

Some numbers on this deal, from United’s website:

Illy Numbers on United

Illy Numbers on United


United will serve Illy’s scuro dark roast on all flights, including the new Polaris service, in addition to its lounges where Illy has been the brand of choice for some time now. While Illy is one of my favorite brands of coffee (after Kimbo and Lavazza), I really doubt this would elevate the in flight coffee experience to a perceptible level. Once, because taste buds are still going to be affected by the pressurization and dryness of the cabin, and second, and probably more important, the brewing method is far from the best and not far from a metal Mr Coffee, and while that is a perfectly acceptable method to brew your coffee at a Motel 6, it might not be the case for a first class cabin beverage.

So, while I applaud the airline’s idea to elevate coffee quality in flight, I would suggest they invest some time and money in R&D to come up with solutions to brew coffee at high altitudes to obtain a better quality cup of joe. As for me, I’ll continue to enjoy my Illy (or Kimbo, really) brewed on my Bialetti, as nature intended.

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Author: Ben Nickel-D'Andrea

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  1. I drink the Starbucks on Delta and my taste buds can tell the clear difference between that and Americans trashy cup of dirt

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    • You must have a very sensitive palate because I can’t taste any difference between those two…

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    • I’m inclined to agree with you…

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  2. United could serve Dom Perignon for free. That still would not be sufficient to get me back on their airplanes. the coffee isn’t going to move the needle until they do a better job at getting people where they are going, on time, in a clean airplane with some reasonable level of customer service on the ground and in the air. United isn’t close to delivering on this.

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