Instantly compelling: Lavazza’s $99 Minu coffee pod machine reviewed

Curious about the instant espresso machines, but don’t want to spend big to try one? Lavazza to the rescue with a new machine, offering access to the Lavazza A Modo Mio system for a buck under a hundred. Worth the cost, or should you go with something bigger?

Features

Compact and ready for action, the Minu is Lavazza’s miniature coffee maker designed for the instant espresso market, or what many are calling “inspresso.”

The machine is small and made of plastic, with magnets employed to hold various parts in, such as the capsule drawer, and the drip tray and excess water drawer, both of which connect to each other with a magnet.

Lavazza’s Minu has a water reservoir capable of holding up to 500ml of water, with the machine able to make one cup of coffee at a time, thanks to the capsule drawer taking one pod at a time, with the control for the coffee length handled by the coffee dispensing knob on the side.

The Minu is part of the Lavazza A Modo Mio system, which takes Lavazza’s supermarket sold pods, small round and reasonably flat hat-like capsules with ground coffee inside.

To use the Minu, merely switch the power on with the button on the top, insert a capsule in the drawer closing it up when you’re done, wait for the green light to become steady, place a glass under the spout (you can remove the drip tray if the mug or cup doesn’t fit), and then turn the coffee dispensing knob all the way to the right, starting the process.

When you’re done, bring the knob all the way back to the left to switch it off.

One plug is provided to power the Minu, with a jug plug found at the back of the unit.

Performance

Coffee machines have never been terribly cheap, especially if you wanted something decent. In fact, we’re so used to spending hundreds to thousands of dollars for a good machine, that the inspresso market — that is, the world of instant espresso — kind of came out of left field.

With this type of machine, espresso-style coffee has never been easier and more convenient, not to mention less costly. Rather than rely on the process normally needed for a traditional espresso machine, instant espresso merely has you fill it with water, load in a capsule, press a button, and away you go.

For many, this removes the romance of the fresh cup, and that’s fine, but for the rest of the world that wants a cup of cafe-style coffee with minimal fuss, inspresso makes a lot of sense.

But inspresso can still be expensive. We’ve certainly reviewed machines ranged between $200 and $1000, and while we’ve seen a few $100 machines, generally they’re what you can expect for the price: cheap for a reason.

Lavazza’s last $99 model — the Simpla — certainly fit that bill, and with the Minu, the coffee brand is trying to fix the entry level model, finding a way to provide an entrance for people keen to try capsule-based coffee that isn’t bad.

First there’s the design, because unlike the Simpla, the Minu doesn’t appear bulky and overly plastic.

Is it still made of plastic? Sure, and given the price, we’re not surprised the materials aren’t premium, but the Minu is small, slim, and very compact, providing a size similar to Nespresso’s Pixie machine.

Plug it in and you’ll find the operation couldn’t be easier: fill the 500ml water tank, switch the machine on by pressing the power button up top, and wait for the blinking green light to go steady telling you the heating block is ready to make hot water.

Take the capsule drawer out and place a Lavazza capsule inside, pushing it back into place and letting the magnet draw it back into place.

That last bit is actually very noticeable and helps to make the drawer fit nicely, guiding the capsule drawer back into place for you, which is a nice touch.

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