Why did Lavazza add Alexa to a manual coffee machine?

And, look on the bright side. Running downstairs to preload the Voicy just in time, then running back upstairs to use its voice command feature, gets the blood pumping in a way that the 7.5 grams of coffee in a coffee capsule can fail. That’s not a lot of coffee. For comparison, the group head basket of a commercial espresso machine typically weighs 21 grams.

It’s sleek, portable, and has a reasonably compact footprint.

Simply put, the Voicy doesn’t make particularly strong coffee. I would use two pods per coffee drink, except I’m not quite fit.

You’re probably wondering at this point, when he comes down to pre-load the capsule just in time and places a cup of coffee under the spout, why doesn’t he just press the little button on the machine to make the coffee , instead of running upstairs to yell at Alexa to press that button for him?

You’re probably thinking that adding voice commands to a coffee machine, without fully automating everything, including the glassware, is an abjectly pointless exercise.

Well, it is and it isn’t.

Notice that I asked the Voicy to make an “extra hot ristretto”. This is a cafe that I designed and named on the “Piacere Lavazza” app that you need to install on your phone when you set up the Voicy and get it on your home WiFi for Alexa to work.

You can’t have it all! At least, by allowing coffee lovers to create personalized drinks, the Voicy rises above “abject uselessness”.

The app lets you play with the settings of the coffee machine, change the amount of water used in each dose of coffee and the temperature of that water, then save those settings under a name you make up, like “Dad is extra-light coffee” or, in this case, “extra-hot ristretto”.

Then, when you shout at Alexa from your bed, you can ask her to ask Lavazza to make your personalized drink. (For some reason, you can directly ask Alexa to make you a coffee with the machine’s default settings, but if you want your custom drink, you have to ask Alexa to ask Lavazza.)

It’s probably worth mentioning that the ristretto I designed in the app is supposed to hold just 10ml of water, rather than the 30ml Voicy wants to use by default, thus giving me the dry to liquid ratio one might expect from a coffee drink purchased at the cafe.

But, in our testing, the Voicy actually pumped 17ml of water into my ristretto, throwing off my ratios a lot.

It seems that the Voicy measures its water production by time rather than volume, which means that any coffee drink you design will contain more or less water, depending on the density of the coffee in the capsule. The chances of it giving you the exact measurement you asked for are probably low.

Well, you can’t have it all! At least, by allowing coffee lovers to create custom (even imprecise) drinks, the Voicy rises above that “abject pointlessness” you mentioned.

You’re also probably wondering what someone who cares about coffee ratios would do anywhere near a capsule machine, while there are many more delicious ways to brew coffee than using capsules.

Lying in bed in the morning, working up the courage to run downstairs and preload the Voicy with its pod, I wonder the same thing myself.

Anyway, back to the transcript. You will remember, I just asked for my personalized ristretto. . .

Alexa: Of course! I turn on the Voicy. Your coffee will be ready in no time!

Alexa: While we have your attention, we advise you to purchase more capsules. Your closet is empty right now.

In the Piacere Lavazza app, you see, you can tell Lavazza how many coffee pods you have in your cupboard, then the Voicy counts how many coffees you make and alerts you whenever your supply is low, so that you can order new pods in the app.

(Technically, the machine does not count the number of capsules you have used, but simply counts the number of times the water pump has been activated. If you pre-rinse the machine to heat it before brewing, or if you use the Voicy without a pod, to make hot water, you throw off the count and get alerts long before you need them.)

So it turns out that adding voice commands to a largely manual coffee machine means frictionless commerce and lets you buy things before you even realize you need them.

This coffee machine is not as useless as it seems.

Lavaza A Modo Mio Voice

  • I like | Allows you to easily adapt capsule coffee to your own tastes
  • Dislike | Very poor instructions. Use capsules
  • Price | $349

About Jeffery L. Parker

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