Over the last year, I’ve taken a look at many devices important for the home office environments suddenly forced on many of us. I’ve checked out hard drives, routers, headsets, mics, and cameras among others. I’ve looked at problems and solutions to create a safe, secure, and productive office away from the office.
But now, it’s time for something completely different.
Working from home, especially in lockdown, as I am in Sydney at the moment, means coffee runs are a thing of the past (right now going out for a latte fix would net me a $1000 fine). Fortunately, Lavazza sent over a Jolie and Milk A Modo Mio coffee machine for me to check out.
The Lavazza Jolie and Milk is a single-cup pod-based coffee machine with an attached milk warmer/frother. The machine’s compact size doesn’t take up a lot of space and its narrow width means that you can slide it between other appliances if your kitchen space is tight.
It’s a solidly built, nice-looking machine with a clear plastic water reservoir, enough for a few cups of coffee, to the rear. On the right side is the removable milk frother, which slots in an integrated socket and powered directly by the main machine.
On the top of the coffee machine is a slot for the Lavazza proprietary A Modo Mio coffee pods. There’s a lever that when pulled down closes the slot and pierces the pod. There are two buttons on the top of the coffee machine. A single press on either button wakes the machine up. When the lights stop blinking you are ready to go.
The two buttons represent a large or a small shot. They can be programmed for the size of shot that you want. The first time you make a coffee, you just press the button and hold until you have the required amount of coffee in your cup. The machine will remember the amount of coffee for next time. I set the larger button to half-fill my cup, perfect for a latte.
The milk frother is a metal container with a plastic and metal whisk that rotates, by the use of what I assume to be a magnet in the base. There are two milk filling levels, one for cappuccino foam and the other for your latte milk. One press of the button on the front of the container whisks the milk up into a frothy foam and two quick presses gives you silky slightly frothy hot milk.
Pour the milk into your coffee cup and you are done.
Cleaning the frother is easy. You just take out the whisk which, with the lid, can be put in the dishwasher or easily rinsed. The container needs to be hand-washed, whipping the inside out, but avoiding water getting in the electrical connection at the bottom.
With that, the Jolie and Milk is ready for the next use.
Lavazza has gone for simplicity, which makes sense from a design point of view. You can hardly go wrong. All bleary-eyed in the morning the last I need is to be confronted with a complex bit of apparatus to supply my coffee fix.
I did note that whilst half asleep, when I didn’t pull down the bar that pierces the pod, starting the machine resulted in water just pouring out all over my kitchen surface. A warning or something would have been more convenient than a puddle of water.
The plastic drip tray can be pulled out to accommodate a larger cup for those of us that need more than a thimble of coffee. Behind the drip tray is the pod collection bin that can hold about five or six used pods. Under this bin is a tray that collects the drips, which I only found out about when the weak coffee dregs went up to my arm as I pulled out the bin and the tray.
The Jolie and Milk comes complete with a sample pack of nine A Modo Mio coffee pods. In the interest of this review, I got through them in a couple of days. The selection varies from a mild to strong flavour, each with an interesting if slightly pretentious description. Or maybe I’m just a coffee philistine. Regardless, paraphrasing Special Agent Dale Cooper, the Lavazza Jolie and Milk makes a damn fine cup of coffee.
About those A Modo Mio coffee pods, as a tech writer, the business model of these consumer coffee machines is very familiar. Like printer manufacturers, it would seem that Lavazza makes its money from consumables and not the actual hardware.
A Modo Mio coffee pods are almost exclusively produced by Lavazza, unlike, say Nespresso, for which you can get compatible pods (Lavazza even makes them). Whilst I can’t fault Lavazza for having its own proprietary capsule format, it does limit your coffee selection to Lavazza’s range of roasts.
Some online outlets are offering compatible A Modo Mio pods, but you are not going to find them in the supermarket. NZ outfit, The Green Pods, produce reusable metal Lavazza A Modo Mio pods that allow you to use your favourite coffee roast with the Lavazza Jolie and Milk.
Lavazza’s Jolie and Milk is a smart-looking, solidly built coffee machine. Not only does it make a nice cup of coffee, but it’s also quick about it as well, perfect for a pick-me-up between Zoom calls. Compact and quiet, the Jolie and Milk could be the finishing touch to your home office.