Buying coffee every day is expensive and right now problematic, so having the ability to make good coffee at home, is becoming increasingly important.
If you’re investigating your first serious coffee machine purchase, then you’ll have a lot to decide, the first big decision will be how much you want to spend. Understanding your budget will enable you to refine your list of options, largely based on the expected features, with the level of automation being a key differentiator between machines.
The Lavazza Deséa coffee machine offers some really nice features for its affordable price point, but you will see that some functions require more work than more expensive alternatives.
I’ve been using it for the past couple of weeks and it’s time to break down what’s good and what’s not in a full review.
Curves in all the right places
Lavazza offers quite a range of designs in their coffee machines and it is a battle between finding the design you like, with the features you like. The design of the Deséa really skews towards a classic design with big bold curves. While I personally love square edges and more of a modern design, this really is a personal thing and many will simply care how good the coffee is.
The chassis is actually quite efficient in its size, which leaves you with more bench space, great for those with smaller kitchens, especially great if you want to tuck this away in a butler’s pantry. The machine is 145 mm wide, 380 mm deep, 280 mm tall and weighs 4.5 kg.
At the back, you’ll find the water canister which houses a very generous amount of water, ensuring you can make plenty of coffees before you need to worry about refilling.
On the front of the machine, you’ll find the main interface, offering a selection of controls from two circles. The left is the coffee selection, while the right is the milk selection. The system relies on illuminated icons to communicate to the user. This is certainly not as user-friendly as a digital display and not as impressive as a full-colour display. At this price point, the lack of display is to be expected, but coming from a machine that had it, I did miss it.
Under the controls, you’ll find a platform to support your coffee cup. This has 2 positions that it can be moved to, enabling smaller or medium-sized cups. If you like a large coffee cup, then you can actually remove the tray completely which I really enjoy. Using this technique avoids the need to have an adjustable coffee nozzle.
When frothing milk, you can place the included glass mug from Lavazza, and inside is a powerful, but a very quiet whisk. This really does a fantastic job at frothing your milk as you like.
Finally, to make your coffee, it’s a straightforward process of opening the chrome lever at the top, dropping in your coffee pod in the slot at the top, and closing the lever. Select your coffee from the controls upfront and the machine gets about making your coffee. Given the coffee and milk processes are done separately, you do have more steps and more cleaning than some fully automatic coffee makers, however, they come at a cost.
Stand out features of this device.
When it comes to features, the Lavazza Deséa has everything you need to service most coffee needs.
When it comes to flavour, there’s a wide range of Lavazza pods to choose from, so it’s likely you can find yourself to a flavour and strength you like. This then leaves the question of the type and size of coffee you desire. The machine offers 4 different coffee sizes to satisfy all tastes: espresso, espresso lungo, caffè lungo, or free dose.
Your choice of milk
After you establish what type and size of coffee you want, your next job is to choose your milk options. There are 5 recipes for true milk lovers: cappuccino, large cappuccino, latte macchiato, and hot or cold frothed milk.
There’s a lot of personal preference that goes into making coffees, including the choice of having hot or cold milk. The Desea allows you to press the temperature boost button, to get an even hotter coffee. If you hold it down for at least 3 seconds, you get a perfect cold frothed milk. With the foam boost, you can choose the exact quantity of milk froth.
One of the best attributes of this coffee machine is its ability to froth milk quietly and powerfully. Lavazza has a patented technology that sees the milk frother built into the lid of the mug, making it easy to use and easy to clean. Deséa does not exceed 43 dB.
Anyone who’s had exposure to coffee machines, you’ll be familiar with the maintenance task of descaling. The machine will notify you when it is necessary to carry out a descaling process on the coffee machine, using a light on the control surface.
Empty tank alert
The water canister is located at the back of this machine, so it may not be immediately obvious when you’re out of water. Lavaza solves this by alerting your with another light on the control panel, to let you when it is time to refill the water tank. Thankfully there’s a very generous water tank, so this will last you multiple days between refills.
Full capsule drawer alert
Each time you use a pod, the hot water gets pushed through it to extract the coffee inside. Once complete, this is disposed into a capsule collection drawer. When this needs to be emptied, you’ll also get an alert. The capsule drawer can contain up to 10 coffee capsules.
To accommodate the variable height of different coffee cups, the support base can be adjusted, from small to medium-sized cups, or removed completely for larger mugs.
Not everything’s perfect
The most severe issue I faced with the Lavazza Deséa coffee machine, was pouring milk from the included glass mug. I tried a number of techniques, like pouring milk through the front lip, pouring it through the gap in the side of the lid, even taking off the lid completely. Regardless of which method I tried, I found no way to pour milk from this without spilling the milk into the coffee, or on the bench.
I think this is a result of there being no lip built into the glass mug, so this is definitely something that would be easy to fix in a future revision,
Outside this, I think you do face some limitations by not having a digital display on the coffee machine. It certainly makes it less approachable for new users. Instead of having detailed explanations of each icon, you really have to refer to the manual, or jump on to YouTube to learn which buttons you need to press, to achieve the coffee you desire.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
The Lavazza Deséa is available now and costs A$299.00 if you buy it outright, however, there is also a subscription model. The machine is available in white (reviewed), or black in Australia, however, there is also a brown option show in images on the Lavazza website.
If you take the subscription option, the Deséa coffee machine for only $79 instead of $299*. When you select this option, you’ll be guided through the purchase steps, starting with the $79 for the machine, but then you’re committing to buying 9 packs of 16 pods. You can certainly mix and match which capsules (or pods) you want.
The total at checkout will be A$186.50 and you can select when you need your next batch which would cost A$107.50 for another set of 9 packs of 16 pods. Your choices are 2 weeks (unless you’re having 11 coffees a day, this is unlikely, but you can also choose between 4, 8 and 12 weeks. If you select the 12 weeks, or 3 months, this averages out to 1 coffee per day.
While the upfront cost of a subscription, certainly looks like a good deal, what you need to commit to is a minimum of 9 delivery orders.
The Lavazza Deséa coffee machine offers a functional design that’ll look at home in most modern homes, even with its curvy retro look. If you decide to buy this machine, you’re committing to pods and have the option for a subscription to satisfy that ongoing coffee craving. This does mean there’s no option to use beans and associated grinder, but the simplicity that offers I’m sure will appeal to many.
This coffee maker allows for a fairly quick and efficient, certainly quiet coffee-making experience. The features, particularly alerts are helpful to the ownership experience, but that inability to pour the milk without spilling is a big miss for me.
At the start of the review, I began by explaining your choice of the budget determines your features and that’s absolutely true. You can spend $300 on a coffee maker like this, which is very functional but does require you to monitor and take multiple steps to leave with a coffee. If you’re prepared to pay $1,000 for a coffee machine, then you can expect a display and virtually fully automated operation, complete with profiles to save your favourite coffee settings.
Ultimately the final takeaway is that for the price, you get a really nice design aesthetically, a lot of functionality, but does result in a fairly manual process. If you’re on a budget, or this is your first coffee maker for home, it’ll make you a great coffee at home.
The pod subscription is an interesting option and will force you to admit just how severe that caffeine addiction really is. Ultimately this makes the per-coffee cost fairly low, far lower than buying it from your local barrister.
- Different cup size support
- Large water canister
- Pouring milk