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Whenever I go shopping for appliances, I can’t help but be drawn to all of SMEG’s retro kitchen items. Who doesn’t want a 1950s-themed red fridge and matching toaster? Of course, being a SMEG fan means being willing to part with hundreds of extra dollars for the brand name alone – something that makes my stingy self cringe and hiss. So, is this Lavazza and SMEG A Modo Mio capsule coffee machine collaboration worth it?
Specifications and Features
- 157mm (w) x 366mm (d) x 290mm (h)
- Weighs 4.25kg
- 9 minute auto shut-off
- Removable, dishwasher-safe components
- Adjustable, removable cup rest for longer coffees
- Hidden capsule collection drawer
- Brewing time
- Empty water tank alert and used capsule collection drawer
- Water tank capacity 0.9L
Stunning. Amazing. Everything you expect from a SMEG device. The design is very chic, sleek and features that retro look that SMEG is famous for. It is also available in three stylish colors: Cream Ivory, Classic Red and Jet Black. Obviously, I opted for the cream color model, because I love my neutrals.
Some home coffee machines, especially those that use ground coffee, can have a confusing interface where you have to read the instructions multiple times in order to memorize what all 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 has been watered down). However, you can hold the buttons down to give yourself an even longer shot if you’re into that type of coffee.
This Lavazza coffee machine also comes with a removable drip tray, which is bulkier than I would have liked. Considering that most cups at home weigh around 12 oz, I’ve found that none of my favorite cups fit under the coffee machine tap without removing its tray. It doesn’t affect the process noticeably, but functionally it could have been a little slimmer.
The long, cylindrical shape of the machine does not suit me or my kitchen layout. While I’m sure its thinness saves space in some kitchens with better-dispersed electrical outlets, I found that I had to rearrange my toaster and kettle around a few times to find the best location.
The only thing I want to complain about is its 0.8m cable length. It’s far too short and for such a long appliance it can be difficult to position it on your kitchen counter. If the cable was only a little longer, I wouldn’t feel like I had to rearrange all my kitchen appliances in some weird way to fit it.
But overall the design is the epitome of Italian sophistication and it couldn’t look better on my counter.
To test how simple something is to set up, I prefer to do it intuitively. Before digging into the instructions, I’ll often see if I can put it all together before checking the instructions to see if I’ve done it correctly. In this case, it was ridiculously easy. I took the machine out of the box, wedged the drip tray in place, found the capsule collection drawer, and lifted the lever to figure out where to put my Lavazza coffee pods before consulting the manual.
Once you turn on the power socket, you will need to press the left button to turn it on and wait for both lights to turn white before you can select the photo you want. You’ll also need to make sure the water tank is filled to the line before you start or nothing will come out.
The first time you use the Lavazza A Mio Modo coffee machine, you will need to keep pressing the right button until you have completely emptied the water tank. This will lubricate the internal valves and ensure your machine is working properly before you begin.
Once that’s done and you’ve filled the water tank, lift the silver lever at the top of the machine to find its capsule insert. Gently push through the pod of your choice and select either button to begin the extraction process.
I’ll give it to this SMEG machine, it makes a great cup of coffee. Lavazza’s coffee capsules are all delicious and taste like they were made by an expert barista.
When you open your box, you should find an assortment of 12 different capsules, so you can sample all the flavors from the Lavazza range. There are a bunch of combos, ranging from intensity to flavor. There are some with floral notes, or a handful that have a hint of chocolate and caramel. It’s a nice perk, both so you don’t have to buy your first pack right away and the second so you can sample different flavors to find your preference.
I was offered a box of Qualità Rosso and Lungo Dolce capsules from Lavazza. The Rosso has an intensity rating of 10, which is the third highest intensity you can grab in the Lavazza range, while Dolce sits at a solid 6. Both are made from Arabica coffee beans, meaning they both have less than half the amount of caffeine you would encounter from a Robusta bean.
In the photo above, I made an espresso shot from the Lungo pod. Personally, I prefer the Lungo flavor because it is smooth and creamy with a delicate fruity aroma.
The extraction process is very clean and simple. Just like you did during setup, you’ll need to lift the silver lever, drop the pod of your choice into the hole, and slowly press 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 done, Lavazza, well done. I’m not up for trying my luck pushing different types of capsules into its hole, especially since the machine isn’t designed to be opened.
You will have to wait about 30 seconds before pressing any of the buttons. I prefer to wait a full minute and make toast to give the machine time to warm up. The lights don’t give an indication of when it’s hit the perfect 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 does not heat water well. If you want an espresso, that’s fine – it’ll be piping hot. But if you’re planning on making a latte, you’ll find that the diluted coffee is lukewarm by the time you pour in a spoonful of milk. This machine also lacks the addition of a steam wand or any type of milk dispenser, which seems pretty lacking when I consider its price.
If you want to try making a latte, you better heat up your kettle and pour it out when you’re done with your shot. Although you can hold down either button to get your desired dose, it won’t get very hot once your cup is nearly full.
Once your dosage is complete, you can either turn off your Lavazza A Modo Mio SMEG coffee machine at the power outlet or walk away. It will automatically turn off after nine minutes, which is perfect if you’re in a hurry. This Lavazza is super easy to clean. All it takes is a quick wipe with a damp cloth and voila, like new.
If you removed the drip tray to fill your cup, remember to put it back in place before you walk away. A few minutes after pouring your caffeine shot, there may be a remaining liquid leak, which you’ll need to wipe up the next time you’re in the kitchen if you want it to look pristine.
The lights behind the two buttons flash and change color to indicate if the capsule drawer is full or if it is time to descale the machine. It will even let you know if the water tank is empty by flashing, so you can fill it up before you start.
To check the capsule collection drawer, you will 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 need to empty it. You can even take the drawer out and put it in the dishwasher for a rinse if you’re short on time.
Should you buy the Lavazza A Modo Mio SMEG coffee machine?
I really wanted to like this capsule coffee machine. I wanted to love it with all my heart because it’s a SMEG and I love the look of a SMEG device. But I come As this. It makes delicious coffee from 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 hassle-free espresso. It’s simple to use, easy to install, and looks chic on my countertop. But for the same price I can have a Lavazza Deséa with touch controls and a milk frother. I’m a latte girl and I won’t apologize for it.
But just because I don’t enjoy a glass of hard coffee in the morning doesn’t mean you won’t. The Lavazza A Modo Mio SMEG coffee machine was designed for espresso
faithful drinkers. Or simply SMEG collectors.
If you want to get one of these beautiful coffee machines, you can choose one below:
eBay ($349) | The Good Guys ($349)
If you’re looking for coffee capsules, you can buy some from Lavazza’s online store or through your nearest Coles or Woolworths.