This Lavazza Desea Coffee Machine Has Killed Instant Coffee for Me

This Lavazza Desea Coffee Machine Has Killed Instant Coffee for Me
Image: Lifehacker Australia
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I’m the type of person who loves to mix convenience with affordability. For some 20-odd years, I’ve managed to survive on instant coffee at home while sneaking in a cup of barista-made coffee at work or on my days off. I’ve had various coffee machines over my life, but none have ever transported me straight to the café quite like this Desea coffee machine from Lavazza’s A Mio Modo range.

Specs and features

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  • 145 (w) x 380 (d) x 280 (h)
  • 4.5kg
  • 1500W power
  • Touch interface with acoustic feedback
  • Up to four coffee doses and five milk recipes
  • Comes with glass mug
  • Milk frothing options
  • 1.1L water tank
  • Empty water tank alert
  • Adjustable grid/drip tray
  • Nine minute automatic shut-off
  • Full capsule collection drawer alert
  • Cable length 0.8m

Design

This Lavazza Desea Coffee Machine Has Killed Instant Coffee for Me
Image: Lifehacker Australia

Like most of the other models in Lavazza’s A Mio Modo collection, the Desea has an oblong shape and a sleek, Italian-inspired design. Unlike most coffee machines, what sets the A Mio Modo range apart is its decision to produce narrower models that don’t take up as much space.

It couldn’t be more true for the Lavazza Desea, although if you’ve got a bunch of randomly positioned power outlets in your kitchen (like I do), you might struggle to find a home for it on your bench. While its narrow frame does mean you can fit more on your counter, its front juts out. This can make it sit out awkwardly among your other appliances, unless you have a nice nearby wall to position it beside. You’ll want to leave a bit of clearance surrounding it, since you’ll need to refill its water tank often.

The water tank itself is quite big, easy to slide in and out of its place at the back of the machine and can hold up to 1.1L of water. The tank should last you two to three rounds of coffee before you need to refill it, but it also depends on how much hot water you use to fill your cup.

On the interface, there’s a variety of different touch controls that can seem confusing at first, but after some experimentation you should nail it to a T. Once you turn the machine on, the left control dial will immediately light up.

There’s four coffee options available: espresso, long espresso, long coffee and free dose supply button. There’s also a thermometer icon that you can press to increase the temperature of the dosage (a big win for me) and a foam control button. You’ll notice three icons in the centre of the interface that signal when you’ll need to empty the capsule collection drawer, top up the water tank or descale the coffee machine.

The Lavazza Desea also comes with an adjustable drip tray that can be moved up for shorter cups or down for your average 12 ounce mug. Perhaps my favourite part about unboxing this capsule coffee machine was seeing that it came with its own glass mug and milk frother. While most milk frothers are built into coffee machines, the Lavazza Desea’s simply snaps onto the glass mug and slides into the machine.

The glass mug itself is sturdy, well-made and features three markers to indicate how much milk to add to it. The only thing it lacks is a spout, but I’ll talk more about that later on.

Once you insert the mug and the attached milk frother, the machine’s right dial will light up with its four touch controls: cappuccino, cappuccino large, milk macchiato and a hot/cold whipped milk supply button.

Unfortunately, there’s a limited colour range available for the Lavazza Desea capsule coffee machine – you can grab one in black or cream. However there is meant to be a brown model but it’s currently unavailable online. Considering that competitor coffee machines are typically black, white or silver, it’s not a big loss but it’s always fun to have the choice.

Set-up and care

lavazza desea capsule coffee machine
Image: Lifehacker Australia

Thanks to its simple and smart design, set-up is seamless. It’s so easy, you don’t really need to read the instructions to figure out how everything works. Even attaching the milk frother to the glass mug and then sliding it into the machine is super simple.

The only thing I felt overwhelmed with in the beginning was the number of controls. But after some experimentation, I’ve managed to nail it my morning macchiatos.

Before use, you will need to fill the water tank and flush it through the machine to lubricate the internal valves.

While it might seem like your Lavazza is running like a machine, the key to ensuring its full lifetime value is to care for it properly. To maintain your Desea, I had a chat with John Kozsik, the National Training Manager at Lavazza Australia to collect some of his top tips and tricks.

John recommends cleaning and descaling your coffee machine at least once a month. “Not only [will it] extend the life of your coffee machine,” explains John, “But [it will] ensure your coffee is tasting as it should and at its best.”

If you’re wondering what in the world “descaling” means, it simply refers to the process of removing any mineral build-up that’s sitting inside your coffee machine. Thankfully, you don’t have to pull it apart to do this. Instead, all you need to do is buy an appropriate cleaning solution from your local supermarket and follow the instructions accordingly. It usually involves filling the water tank with the solution and flushing out the system over a one hour period.

Ultimately, you’ll prevent the build-up of limescale, bacteria or calcium and believe us, the longer you leave it the harder it’ll be to remove.

John also adds that you should aim to wipe down the drip tray and flush out your coffee machine with some water after each extraction. If you’re in favour of adding some extra hot water to your morning cuppa, then this’ll kill two birds with one stone.

What I liked

Coffee
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I don’t know why I’ve slept so long on purchasing a capsule coffee machine, especially a Lavazza one. If we can talk about the coffee for a moment, I want to say I’m seriously impressed. Each capsule contains 7.5 grams of ground coffee that’s been vacuum packed and features an extensive range that caters to every person’s strength and taste preferences.

I was gifted a box of Qualità Rosso and Lungo Dolce. Both feature Arabica types of coffee, which lends to a smooth and well-balanced cup of joe. I lean towards the Lungo Dolce, which has an intensity rating of 6 and possesses some fruity notes. My partner, on the other hand, loves the Rossa, which is a blend of both Arabica and Robusta coffee and possesses an intensity rating of 10. If I’m ever in the need of a pick-me-up, I’ll make myself a cup using the Rossa for an instant wake-up.

In short, every time I make a cup I feel like I’ve skipped down to my local coffee shop and ordered one handmade by an experienced barista.

As you can tell from the images above, that’s a piping hot cappuccino with a bit of condensation surrounding the glass. The taste is extremely smooth with a light golden colour and a small amount of froth. I could’ve added more froth if I wanted to, but that’s best saved for a macchiato.

The best thing about this machine is that it caters to different coffee preferences. While the choices are primarily limited to espresso, cappuccino and macchiato, it’s still a well-balanced offering. If you like your coffee scalding hot, there’s a button to do that, or if you want your milk so frothy you can wear a foam ‘stache, you absolutely can.

The steam wand itself heats and beats the milk to frothy perfection. When I first put it on, I was a little sceptical. The lid doesn’t perfectly seal onto the mug and there’s a good gap for milk to escape if it ever goes haywire. I was feeling a little bold one night, so I attached a 3/4 full cup of milk and hit go. I watched it anxiously nearby, ready to spring into action in case the milk spun out of the cup and started splashing my walls. It didn’t.

What I didn’t like

This Lavazza Desea Coffee Machine Has Killed Instant Coffee for Me
Image: Lifehacker Australia

There wasn’t much I didn’t like about the Lavazza Desea capsule coffee machine. But my biggest gripe was its additional glass mug. The damn thing doesn’t have a spout, so if you’re sharing or planning on pouring your concoction into your favourite Pokémon mug, sorry you’ll probably lose half your coffee (for that reason, I highly recommend all pouring must be conducted over the sink).

I love the mug and while it’ll probably save me a mere cup from washing up, I’ll probably be buying a second one. Those in multi-coffee drinker households will probably want to do the same.

I can only imagine what will happen when one person makes their cup for the day, wanders off with the mug and leaves one caffeine-deprived soul to scratch their head in the kitchen wondering what to do.

You can’t even attach the milk frother itself and try to insert a different mug below it since there’s no space that won’t result in snapping or bending the steaming wand.

Another issue I encountered was the sensitivity of the capsule collection drawer. While Lavazza’s online store says that it can store up to 10 pods before emptying, my light would come on every time it filled up with four capsules. I’m assuming it has something to do with the weight and that since the drawer tends to fill with water, then the sensor thinks it must be full when it’s not.

The last thing I want to note is the Desea’s reputation as the “quietest” one in the A Mio Modo range. In my experience, it wasn’t that quiet. Coffee-making is a loud business and you can definitely hear the extraction process from another room. While it’s not as pervasive and only lasts about 30 seconds, light sleepers might not appreciate you brewing anything at 6am.

Should you buy the Lavazza Desea capsule coffee machine?

lavazza desea capsule coffee machine
Image: Lifehacker Australia

The Lavazza Desea makes you feel like a barista, but allows you to make a coffee with one touch. It’s the best option for those who prefer milk-based coffee and live alone, or those who inhabit a household with multiple coffee preferences.

While it’s iconic glass mug could use a redesign (please add a spout), overall, it’s a hard coffee maker to fault. Timely, affordable and stylish, you’ll find that the Lavazza Desea capsule coffee machine can almost do it all.

It’s a thoughtfully-made coffee maker that creates a delicious cup of Italian coffee and gives caffeine addicts the best of all worlds.

If we look at it from a price perspective, I’d say it’s well worth the money. Compared to the other coffee machines available in the A Mio Modo collection, it’s the only one that offers a fully customisable cup of coffee. Its value far outweighs what the Lavazza SMEG can offer, though the Desea only scores lower in looks alone.

If we look at it compared to other milk-frothing options, its price is significantly cheaper. While you may be reliant on a single mug to achieve your desired foaminess, saving a couple hundred dollars feels like a small price to pay for a slight inconvenience.

You can pick the Lavazza Desea capsule coffee machine from one of the retailers below:

If you intend on sharing your Lavazza coffee machine with your family, we recommend picking up an extra glass mug from The Good Guys while you’re at it. You can grab one here for $19.95.

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