If you want fresh coffee, but are on a budget, then AEG and Lavazza believe they have the answer with the A Modo Mio Favola Cappuccino coffee machine.
Small and compact, the coffee machine that comes in a range of bright colours is designed to be quick and simple to use. Place in a capsule, press the button of the desired coffee that you want and seconds later dark liquid starts squirting out of the nozzle on the front of the device. It is really that easy? We've been drinking to find out.
The Mio isn't a big machine, on its own it takes up around the same space as a large toaster, although adding the milk frother will make it wider still.
The dedicated Lavazza capsules are loaded into the machine via a hole in the top of the device that is accessed by releasing a large and well-built and heavy lever. The idea is that you post the capsule and punch it into place before pressing one of the four buttons on the front of the unit.
It's all very simple. There is only one way to put the capsule, and once you're done it's are dropped into an internal bin straight away. No fuss. The water tank - good for around 10-15 cups depending on what you are drinking - sits at the back of the unit, out of the way. Efficient is probably the best way to describe it all.
Getting a coffee
To start drinking black gold, simply place your cup on the tray, load your capsule and then press the button.
There are four presets to choose from: espresso, espresso long, cappuccino, and latte macchiato, and pressing the corresponding button delivers the corresponding drink. Hold the latte macchiato button for a longer two seconds and rather than heating the milk you get just froth - great milkshakes or Frappuccino.
Lavazza offers nine different coffee capsules on a regular basis, ranging from mild to strong and fine tuning which one you like will be down to what kind of coffee you are after.
Delicate Soavemente, for example, is described as a blend of "sweet Brazilian Arabica enhanced by fine Central American Arabica. It is full of flavour with floral notes; these qualities, along with the delicate roast and special grinding, give an agreeable balanced espresso, for those who love a mild lighter taste." At the other end of the scale, Caffe Crema Lungo Dolcemente is a "blend of sweet, flowery, Indian Arabica, expertly combined with the best Brazilian Arabica, with its notes of dried fruit".
But these are all just words, you'll need to drink some coffee to find out what suits your taste. Although, according to Lavazza: "The combination of these varieties, and the special grinding, result in a coffee that’s exceptionally smooth and creamy, with a persistent and rounded after-taste, ideal for those who want the authentic Italian coffee taste in a large cup."
The capsules also present another factor that you'll have to think about: running costs. They cost anywhere between 25 and 30p, and while that's not that much, it is something to bear in mind in the total cost of ownership.
One of the big pros with the A Modo Mio Favola Cappuccino over other coffee machines on the market is the ability to froth milk without heating the milk at the same time. That's perfect for milkshakes or trying your best to re-create a Starbucks Strawberries and Cream at home - no coffee required.
When it comes to cleaning it's really easy. The internal bin and drip tray slide out so you can throw the capsules away, and the milk carafe and whisk elements can be disconnected from the motor and put in the dishwasher, so no need to mess about in the sink, and your daily dishwasher load will have your coffee machine parts all ready for the next day's drinking.
For those on a budget, but still wanting to get in on the cappuccino action, the A Modo Mio Favola Cappuccino is a good place to start.
Coffee tastes good, but when we asked our local Italian around to taste-test he wasn't that impressed, suggesting the taste was somewhat metallic, even though it was Lavazza.
That could have been because we gave him one of the blends that wasn't to his liking, or that he was slightly offended by the whole psychological feeling towards capsules. But it raised the point that, if you can, make sure you get to try the coffee capsule flavours first before buying the system.
If you don't like the flavours on offer, unlike a machine that takes beans or powder made by anyone, you can't easily switch to another brand or type after purchase.