(Pocket-lint) - Lavazza makes good coffee, there is no questioning that, but can the coffee company make a decent machine for under £90 that delivers that perfect cup with minimal fuss?
The Lavazza A Modo Mio Éspria is a simple and compact counter-top coffee machine, measuring 128 x 240 x 320mm in size. It houses a 0.8-litre water tank which sits at the back of the design and is easily detachable for refilling with water.
A power switch on the side of the machine does mean you can't butt other things up against it, should you want to line-up various worktop appliances in your kitchen.
The Éspria accepts the Lavazza A Modo Mio coffee capsules rather than any other ground beans or filters, which keeps things clean and simple, and features a single on/off button used to pour the coffee.
The spout and drip tray found at the front is high enough to allow you to put under a coffee mug without complication (you'd be amazed at how many competitors don't) and that's great if you like Americano.
Behind the drip tray (which can be positioned in different ways to bring your cup closer to the spout) is the bin for the empty capsules, although you'll only be able to make eight cups before it needs emptying.
As this is a capsule-based machine, there is a slot on the top that takes the Lavazza capsules. To open it you have to yank back an overly engineered handle and then back again to lock the capsule into place before pressing the button to release the water. It's a very satisfying motion.
Once locked in place all that's left for you to do is press "go". The machine takes around 40-seconds to get going from a cold start but the coffee comes out quickly after that thanks to the 15-bar pump pressure.
With only one button to press there is no guidance as to how long an espresso or lungo should be, nor an Americano for that matter. It's up to you how long you make it, and while that's great for varying sizes of cups, we like to know that we aren't weakening our espresso beyond what Lavazza recommends. Because that's how we like it. Either more buttons, or a break point in pouring would have been a welcomed addition.
To get you started and to help you determine which favour you like the most, you do get a "welcome pack" with seven coffee capsules. The A Modo Mio range varies from strong to mild and the coffees all taste great. We personally like the Deliziosamente which sits in the middle of the range and is good for lungos.
It's worth noting the capsules are a lot more expensive than instant coffee, at around £3.89 for 16. That makes it approximately 24p per cup, but coffee aficionados will know it's worth paying for.
The coffee produced has a good crema on top, which is always a good sign, although we found that you do have to be quick in drinking it. The end results are hot, but not sitting-around hot.
At under £90 the Lavazza A Modo Mio Éspria is entry-level fare and it shows. There's no milk frothing option, no multi-cup pour options, no frills whatsoever really. But the coffee is still good.
The one-press coffee dispensing button will appeal to some, however we would prefer to have our coffee consistent from cup to cup. You just can't do that here unless you are measuring against the side of the cup you are using. That's a shame, especially if you like espresso, but not the end of the world if all you do is drink Americano. Additionally, and while small, it's not the smallest, with some more compact competitors such as the Nespresso Magimix Inissia offering additional capabilities.
The coffee produced by the Lavazza A Modo Mio Espria can't be called into question, as it's a great cup. But we want a smaller form factor with more precision.