If You Love an Espresso Shot, Then Go Ahead and Marry This Lavazza SMEG Coffee Machine

If You Love an Espresso Shot, Then Go Ahead and Marry This Lavazza SMEG Coffee Machine
Image: Lifehacker Australia
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Whenever I go home appliance shopping, I can’t help but be drawn towards any and all of SMEG’s retro kitchen goods. Who doesn’t want a 1950s-themed red fridge and matching toaster? Of course, being a SMEG fan means willing to part with hundreds of dollars extra for brand name alone – something that makes my stingy self recoil and hiss. So, is this A Modo Mio capsule coffee machine collab from Lavazza and SMEG worth the hype?

Specs and features

Lavazza A Mio Modo Smeg Coffee Machine Review
Image: Lifehacker Australia
  • 157mm (w) x 366mm (d) x 290mm (h)
  • Weighs 4.25kg
  • 1250W
  • 9 minutes automatic shut-off
  • Removable dishwasher-safe components
  • Adjustable cup rest, removable for longer coffees
  • Hidden capsule collection drawer
  • Brewing time
  • Empty water tank and used capsule collection drawer alert
  • Water tank capacity 0.9L

Design

If You Love an Espresso Shot, Then Go Ahead and Marry This Lavazza SMEG Coffee Machine
Image: Lifehacker Australia

Stunning. Breathtaking. Everything you’d expect from a SMEG appliance. The design is trés chic, sleek and sports that retro look that SMEG is renowned for. It also comes in three stylish colours: Cream Ivory, Classic Red and Jet Black. Obviously, I went with the cream-coloured model, since I love my neutrals.

Some home coffee machines, especially ones that use ground coffee, can have a confusing interface where you’ll need to read the instructions a few times in order to memorise what all of the buttons can do.

The Lavazza SMEG keeps it simple with just two buttons for two types of extraction: one for espresso (a short shot of pure caffeine) and another for espresso lungo (a longer shot that’s been watered down). However, you can hold the buttons down to give yourself an even longer shot if you’re all about that kind of coffee.

This Lavazza coffee machine also comes with a removable drip tray, which is bulkier than I would’ve liked. Considering that most home mugs are around 12oz, I found that none of my favourite mugs fit under the coffee machine’s tap without removing its tray. It doesn’t affect the process in any noticeable way, but from a functional perspective, it could’ve been a bit thinner.

The machine’s long, cylindrical shape doesn’t fit well with me, or my kitchen set-up. While I’m sure its slimness saves space in some kitchens with better dispersed electrical sockets, I found that I had to rearrange my toaster and kettle around it many times to nail the best placement.

The only thing I want to fault is its 0.8m cable length. It’s far too short and for such a long appliance, it can be awkward to position on your kitchen benchtop. If the cable was just a smidge longer, I wouldn’t feel as though I have to rearrange all of my kitchen appliances in a weird fashion to accommodate it.

But overall, the design is the epitome of Italian sophistication and it couldn’t look better on my counter.

Set-up

Lavazza Smeg Coffee Machine
Bye bye! Image: Lifehacker Australia

To test how simple something is to set-up, I prefer to do it intuitively. Before digging out the instructions, I’ll often see if I can put the whole thing together before checking the instructions to know if I’ve done it properly. In this case, it was ridiculously easy. I pulled the machine out of the box, propped the drip tray into place, found the capsule collection drawer and lifted up the lever to find out where to insert my Lavazza coffee pods before I checked the manual.

Once you turn on the power point, you’ll need to press the left button to turn it on and wait for both of the lights to illuminate white before you can select your shot of choice. You’ll also need to ensure that the water tank is filled up to the line before you get started, otherwise nothing will come out.

The first time you use the Lavazza’s A Mio Modo coffee machine, you’ll need to keep pressing the right button until you’ve completely emptied out the water tank. This’ll lubricate the internal valves and ensure your machine is working properly before you get started.

Once that’s been completed and you’ve refilled the water tank, lift up the silver lever at the top of the machine to find its capsule insert. Gently push through your pod of choice and select either button to begin the extraction process.

Coffee

A Mio Modo Lavazza Smeg capsule coffee machine
I’d typically take my coffee in a mug, but this is just to show the delicate layer of crema on top. Image: Lifehacker Australia

I’ll give it to this SMEG machine, it makes a mean cup of coffee. Lavazza’s coffee capsules are all delicious and taste just like it’s been made by an expert barista.

When you open your box, you should find an assortment of 12 different capsules, so you can taste all of the flavours the Lavazza range has to offer. There’s a bunch of combos, ranging from intensity through to flavour. There’s some with floral notes, or a handful that have a hint of chocolate and caramel. It’s a sweet perk, both so you don’t have to buy your first pack straightaway and second so you can sample different flavours to find your preference.

I was gifted a box of Lavazza’s Qualità Rosso and Lungo Dolce capsules. The Rosso has an intensity rating of a 10, which is the third highest intensity you can grab from Lavazza’s range, while Dolce sits at a solid 6. Both are made from Arabica coffee beans, which means they both have less than half the amount of caffeine that you would encounter from a Robusta bean.

In the photo above, I’ve made a shot of espresso from the Lungo pod. Personally, I prefer the Lungo flavour because it’s soft and creamy with a delicate fruity aroma.

Extraction

If You Love an Espresso Shot, Then Go Ahead and Marry This Lavazza SMEG Coffee Machine
A trickle and then a steady pour. Image: Lifehacker Australia

The extraction process is very clean and simple. Just like you did during set-up, you’ll need to lift up the silver lever, drop your capsule of choice down the hole and slowly push down on the lever to close it.

One thing I noticed about this coffee machine is that the shape of the hole is designed to only accept Lavazza coffee capsules. Well played, Lavazza, well played. I’m not game enough to try my luck pushing different kinds of capsules down its hole, especially since the machine isn’t designed to be opened up.

You’ll need to wait about 30 seconds before you hit either of the buttons. I prefer to wait a full minute and prep some toast to give the machine time to heat itself up. The lights don’t give an indicator of when it’s reached the ideal temperature, but from what I can tell it’s pretty quick.

One thing I noticed about this Lavazza A Modo Mio SMEG coffee machine is that it doesn’t heat up the water well. If you want a shot of espresso, that’s all fine and good – it’ll be piping hot. But if you intend to make a milky coffee, you’ll find that the watered down coffee is lukewarm by the time you pour in a dollop of milk. This machine also lacks the addition of a steaming wand or any kind of milk dispenser, which feels quite lacking when I reflect on its price.

If you want to try and make a milky coffee, you’re better off heating up your kettle and pouring it in after your shot is finished. While you can hold either button down to achieve your desired dosage, it won’t be very hot once your mug is near-full.

Care

Once your dosage is complete, you can either switch off your Lavazza A Modo Mio SMEG coffee machine at the power point, or you can walk away. It will automatically turn itself off after nine minutes, which is perfect if you’re in a hurry. This Lavazza is super easy to keep clean. All it needs is a quick wipe down with a wet cloth and voilà, good as new.

If you removed the drip tray to fill up your mug, make sure you remember to place it back before you wander off. A few minutes after it’s poured your caffeine hit, it might leak any leftover fluid, which you’ll have to wipe down the next time you’re in the kitchen if you want it to look spick and span.

The lights behind the two buttons will flash and change colour to signal if the capsule drawer is full or if it’s time to descale the machine. It will even let you know if the water tank is empty by flashing, so you can top it up before you get started.

To check the capsule collection drawer, you’ll need to remove the drip tray and pull the black plastic lever to reveal it. The drawer can store up to eight empty pods before you’ll need to empty it. You can even take the drawer and pop it in the dishwasher for a rinse if you’re running low on time.

Should you buy the Lavazza A Modo Mio SMEG coffee machine?

This is Pearl, a coffee connoisseur.
This is Pearl and she loves to guest star in all of my product reviews. She also happens to be a coffee connoisseur. Image: Isabella Noyes/Lifehacker Australia

I really wanted to love this capsule coffee machine. I wanted to love it with my whole heart because it’s a SMEG and I love the look of a SMEG appliance. But I just like it. It makes delicious coffee out of the little Lavazza pods, but for a price I can’t justify.

Don’t get me wrong, it works a treat if you like a no-fuss espresso shot. It’s simple-to-use, easy to set up and looks chic on my benchtop. But for the same price I can have a Lavazza Deséa with touch controls and a milk frother. I’m a milky coffee gal and I won’t apologise for it.

But just because I don’t appreciate a shot of hard coffee in the morning, doesn’t mean you won’t. The Lavazza A Modo Mio SMEG coffee machine was made for espresso worshippers drinkers. Or just SMEG collectors.

If you want to grab yourself one of these handsome coffee machines, you can pick one up below:

Ebay ($349) | The Good Guys ($349)

If you’re after some coffee capsules, you can grab some at Lavazza’s online store or via your nearest Coles or Woolworths.

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