If Italian is the language of love — then coffee is the drink of romance. At least that's my philosophy once I tried a cup of joe (or should that be Giuseppe) made using the Lavazza Smeg coffee machine.
I mean from looks alone, I'm head over (red-bottomed) heels for this pod coffee machine. This slick Ric(cardo) comes in raunchy Rosso, sophisticated black, or cool cream. Yes, I'm writing this T-1 month from Valentine's Day, but I truly believe that cupid has shot his arrow right into my heart-shaped cup.
A perfect present for a partner, girlfriend ('cause Galentine's Day is just as important), or as an indulgent treat to yourself, this Smeg x Lavazza collaboration is a match made in heaven.
TLDR: What I thought of the Lavazza Smeg coffee machine
One thing that Italians do well is style. So when two famous kitchen brands partner up to produce a coffee machine, you know it's going to be nothing less than *chef's kiss.* Aesthetically, this Italian Job is shaped on Smeg's iconic retro style, featuring its signature curved edges and glossy finish.
This espresso maker is for those who like the nicer things in life. Using Lavazza capsules, you can craft a truly authentic drink that'll transport you to Rome right from the first sip. Price-wise, this machine comes in under £250, which is surprising given that Smeg products are usually far more expensive.
If you're not quite ready to grind your coffee beans, then Lavazza has you covered. Our panel of testers in our Reading testing center kitchen rated these higher than our usual Nespresso pods. They certainly won the tug-of-war on our tastebuds.
Testing the Lavazza Smeg coffee machine
The Smeg Lavazza A Modo Mio pod coffee machine takes a certain type of capsule, so don't try to insert any old off-the-shelf product. For the purpose of our tests, we decided to use the Lavazza A Modo Mio Qualita Rossa Capsules. You can use other Lavazza capsules with varying intensities, but for reference, ours were a 10/13. From an eco-perspective, all used Eco capsules are biodegradable and can be disposed of in your food bin — though it's best to check with your local council/authority if you're unsure.
Christina is the ecommerce editor for Real Homes covering small kitchen appliances. She loves testing products in her kitchen in Essex and also at the Future testing facility in Reading, UK. She tested this coffee maker alongside seven other machines in one day, drinking several cups of espresso, Americano, cappuccinos, and lattes in the process!
The techy stuff
- Model number: 18000463
- Capacity: 0.9L
- Material: Chromed metal
- Weight: 4.25kg
- Wattage: 1250W
- Voltage: 220–240V
- Frequency: 50–60Hz
- Automatic shut-off: Yes, 9 mins
- Cost to run (per hour): 43p
- Guarantee: Two-year guarantee
- Dimensions (cm): H29 x W15.7 x D36.6
- Recipes: Espresso, Long Espresso
Unboxing the Lavazza Smeg coffee machine
Revealing the Lavazza Smeg coffee machine is a bit of a Russian doll affair in the sense that the branded box is delivered in another unmarked cardboard box. To our surprise, it was nice to find two packs of coffee capsules in another box (we're not exactly going to mark it down for this!).
Though it's practically put together for you, Lavazza also includes a laminated setup guide, illustrated with pictures and a full user manual.
Once you take the 4.5 kg machine out of the box, you'll notice some pretty standard parts: the main apparatus with the iconic Smeg lettering, a cup grid to position your drinking vessel, a used capsule drawer (for spent pods), and a removable drip tray (to take care of any spilt water or coffee). My tiny bugbear? The power cord is a little short, so you'll need to get this nice and close to a plug socket. Other than that, so far, so good.
First impressions of the Lavazza A Modo Mio Smeg coffee machine
Visually, this machine is the perfect blend of old and new. Despite its '50s style, it comes pretty much assembled. Once you've run a rinse program and filled the tank with drinking water, you can go ahead and insert a compatible capsule and choose between a short (espresso) or long (lungo) drink by pressing one of two buttons on the top of the machine. To make the latter, you will have to remove the drip tray to allow more space for a larger cup. This can be annoying on the first go, but you know what they say — practice makes perfect.
We used some stylish short glasses we found in the cupboard to make our drinks, but if you want to recreate that Italian cafe feel, I suggest adding some Trasparenza espresso cups (opens in new tab) (which come with cute glass saucers) to your basket, pronto.
Lavazza A Modo Mio Qualita Rossa Capsules | £4.99 (opens in new tab)
Made using a harmonious blend of natural Brazilian Arabica and Robusta beans, this creates an espresso that's balanced and full-bodied. Great for those that like their coffee strong, this is a 10 (out of 13) on the intensity scale. Depending on the length of your coffee, you can expect anything between 25 ml to 35 ml of espresso, which you can then top up with water and milk to taste.
How to use the Lavazza Smeg coffee machine
As you can see, it's super easy to slot a capsule in and push the lever down.
You do need to give it a bit of welly — don't be afraid that you'll break it!
Here's a snap of some espresso-making action! The finished product had a decent amount of crema and a flavorful finish. Given we'd tested multiple machines back-to-back for a full working day, this cup was one to remember in terms of its tasting profile.
Making espresso using the Lavazza Smeg coffee machine
Cleaning the Lavazza Smeg coffee machine
As you can see from above, each part comes apart quite easily, making it a breeze to clean. I advise that you remove the drip tray first to get rid of any water/coffee, then pull out the used capsule drawer. Do have your kitchen bin/food caddy nearby as the punctured caps can be a bit wet and leak over your countertops.
It's always best practice to give the washable parts a good rinse to get rid of coffee stains and any gritty grounds that might have escaped in the process.
The Lavazza A Modo Mio Smeg coffee machine is quite intuitive in the sense that it will alert you when it's time to descale, when the capsule bin is full (it holds six empties), and when the tank is empty and needs refilling with water. Keep an eye out for flashing and solid lights illuminating around the coffee cup icons/buttons.
How to descale the Lavazza A Modo Mio Smeg
Lavazza Descaling Liquid | £17 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Prolong the life of your Lavazza A Modo Mio Smeg coffee machine and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee every day. A great coffee machine deserves only the best cleaning products. Repeat this treatment approximately every three months for best results.
- Descaling the Lavazza A Modo Mio Smeg is easy. All you need to do is fill the tank at the rear of the machine with 250 ml of water and 250 ml of the descaling solution.
- Replace the lid, remove the drip tray, and place a large cup or container underneath the spout where your coffee would usually be dispensed.
- Press and hold the two buttons on top of your coffee machine for 3–10 seconds to activate heating mode. This will essentially warm the solution. The lights on top of the machine will blink until this part of the process is complete.
- To begin the descaling procedure, you'll need to press the espresso button which should now have a solid orange ring of light around it).
- The machine will expel the solution at a rate of 60 ml (around four tablespoons) per 15 seconds. With our calculations, this means that this step will take around two minutes or six cycles.
- You'll know when the descaling process is complete when the espresso icon has a solid orange light and the full cup icon has a blinking white light.
- Next, you'll want to wash the water tank (using washing-up liquid and water) to get rid of any descaling debris. Be sure to rinse it thoroughly!
- Fill the machine to the max line with fresh water.
- Press the espresso button to run a rinse cycle, allowing 2 litres to pass through the system.
If you're more of a visual guy or gal — the brand's YouTube video might also help. Of course, before cleaning the machine, Lavazza instructs that it is essential to unplug the power cord from the power outlet socket and wait for it to cool down. And, it goes without saying that water and electricity don't mix. We know it's obvious, but don't immerse or dip the machine in water.
How does it compare to other coffee machines?
If we're comparing apples to apples (or coffee bean to coffee bean), the closest machine to this is the Lavazza Desea A Modo Mio (which we've also reviewed). However, between these two machines, this one takes the top spot for a much more premium look. On the flip side, you can't froth milk with the Smeg version, so you'll need to factor in budget for a milk frother if that's your aim. PSA: The Smeg MFF01BLEU (available on Amazon) (opens in new tab) is worth saving your pennies for if you like to have your machines match.
If you're after a Smeg espresso maker (without the Lavazza label), consider the Smeg ECF01, which our freelance writer Helen McCue reviewed in November 2022. This does come with a milk frother (and you can switch between pods and ground coffee) but be prepared to cough up a little more for the added convenience.
Should you buy the Lavazza A Modo Mio Smeg coffee machine?
Yes, the Lavazza Smeg coffee machine is a great option if you're wanting to step onto the Smeg product ladder for a pinch of the price. It's also worth noting that you can get the coffee machine for £1 if you take up its coffee subscription offer. In short, you'll need to commit to a certain number of pod deliveries, but if you enjoy the Lavazza capsule range, it'll feel slightly lighter on the pocket (versus £249 out of your account all at once).
Saying that, at the time of this review (January 2023), we saw it on sale for as little as £117.95 in cream (opens in new tab) and red (opens in new tab) so it's worth scouring Smeg's storefront on Amazon first.
Alternatives to the Lavazza A Modo Mio Smeg coffee machine
For espresso or black coffee lovers
Coffee type: Lavazza A Modo Mio capsules
Dimensions (cm): H28 x W14.5 x D38
Pressure: 10 bar
Cost to run (per hour): 18c/41p
Water tank capacity: 1.1L
With a built-in milk frother
Coffee type: Pod (Lavazza A Modo Mio eco caps)
Dimensions (in): H11.02 W5.71 x D14.97
Pressure: 8–9 bars
Cost to run (per hour): 22c/51p
Water tank capacity: 1.1L
Read our Lavazza Desea A Modo review for more info
A hybrid pod and ground coffee machine with a milk frother
Coffee type: Ground or ESE pods
Dimensions (in): H13 x W5.9 x D13
Pressure: 15 bar
Water tank capacity: 1L
Pressure: 15 bar
Cost to run (per hour): 20c/46p
About this review and the reviewer
Christina Chrysostomou is our ecommerce editor and resident foodie. You're bound to hear from her on a Monday morning telling you about the latest culinary adventure, whether it's trying out a restaurant she'd finally got a reservation for or stumbling across a food market in London or Essex. Her favourite coffee shop is Monmouth Coffee (opens in new tab) in Borough Market, though if she's in Spitalfields she opts for a spicy Masala Chai from Chai Guys (opens in new tab).
Aside from quite literally living and breathing the foodie life, Christina adheres to best practice and knowledge shared within the Real Homes review team.