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Lavazza a modo mio deséa: Is the Italians’ favourite pod machine right for you?

Enjoy barista-quality brews at home with this innovative appliance

Joanne Gould
Friday 18 June 2021 08:00
<p>From design to performance, we put it to the test </p>

From design to performance, we put it to the test

Lavazza has come a long way since Luigi Lavazza opened his first coffee shop in Turin back in 1895, selling loose blends from around the world. Having masterminded a two-paper coffee packaging system to allow households to buy and store larger quantities of coffee to enjoy at home, over the years Lavazza continued to innovate with packaging, branching out to espresso machines and more along the way.

Today it remains a big player in the coffee arena, with Lavazza machines and coffee popular in the hospitality industry, offices and homes alike. Like many coffee brands, Lavazza offers a variety of coffee pod machines as a convenient alternative to manual espresso machines or expensive plumbed devices.

Eliminating the need to grind beans or fiddle with pressure, temperature or weight – and saving the clean-up – coffee capsule machines are a popular choice for coffee fans looking for an easy, affordable and reliable way to enjoy barista-style favourites at the touch of a button.

Like most pod machines, Lavazza’s a modo mio deséa requires little work other than to fill the water tank and pop your choice of capsule into the top, then let the machine do the work with pre-set brewing parameters inbuilt.

Lavazza offers a range of capsules compatible with all machines in its a modo mio range (including the popular jolie, idola and deséa), with each pod working out at around 27p each.

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By registering your machine, you’ll receive certain benefits and it’s worth noting that subscribing to regular deliveries of Lavazza a modo mio capsules means you’ll receive 25 per cent off pods. Capsule selections and delivery frequency are flexible, so this is worth doing if you like Lavazza coffee, plus delivery for the capsules and machines is free. The deséa machine also accepts compatible coffee pods, so you can search out your favourite independents and branded coffee to enjoy.

Eco concerns continue to plague the conversation around coffee pods: many brands have been rightly criticised for their plastic use and how difficult pods can be to recycle. In Lavazza’s case, these pods are marketed as “eco caps” that are 100 per cent compostable; while true, this is slightly misleading, as the pods cannot be composted with your usual food waste and instead must be taken to a collection point for Terra Cycle to deal with. You can find your nearest drop off here.

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Lavazza deséa

Buy now £199,

  • Weight: 4.5kg
  • Water tank capacity: 1.1l
  • Dimensions: W14.5cm x D38cm x H28cm
  • Cable length: 80cm
  • Colours: Black, white, brown
  • Guarantee: Two years

Design and features

The Lavazza deséa has a compact, streamlined design that will fit well on most worktops; its shape is narrow and slim, but it is surprisingly deep, with the water tank positioned at the back, so you’ll need to consider this when it comes to positioning in your kitchen. We liked the glossy off-white colour, which contrasts well with the matte black of the rest of the machine, though the black and brown colourways are also attractive.

The key selling point for us on the deséa is its milk-frothing function – not a feature that comes as standard on most capsule machines. It allows you to make a cappuccino, latte or macchiato, and hot or cold frothed milk to add to your coffee, using the milk of your choice, at just the touch of a button.

The a modo mio capsules are inserted into the top of the machine to make espresso, long espresso, long coffee or a “free dose”, all delivered at the perfect temperature – choose from a preset or select your own. Then, just adjust the cup rack to suit the size of your cup.

Lavazza is very proud of how quiet the deséa is, boasting that its “top class silent operation” is believed to be the most discreet in its category and will never exceed 43dB; ideal for shared households or busy workplaces.

Read more: 8 best espresso machines for barista quality coffee

The machine is also equipped with a range of alerts: it will tell you when the used capsule drawer needs to be emptied (it has a capacity of 10), and when the water tank is empty. The control panel is fairly self-explanatory, with different buttons for different-sized coffee and milky beverages, which are subtly backlit and beep when pressed.

Cleaning the machine is simple and convenient – and markedly easier and less fuss than any other milk-producing machine we’ve tried. Plus it really is quiet!


To set up, you’ll need to perform a quick and easy rinse cycle; the machine comes ready assembled and set up, so all you need to do is plug it in and fill the water tank.

Lavazza has a great selection of authentic-tasting coffee from around the world to choose from in its pod selection, each with tasting profiles, sourcing notes and strength indicators to help you decide your personal favourites. You won’t find the weird and wonderful flavoured creations that some pod machines are known for with Lavazza, but every coffee we tried from its selection tasted much higher-quality and more delicious than most capsules. We particularly liked the darkly fruity dolce lungo cap, which tastes fresh, sweet and strong, even in a large mug.

To make a milky drink, Lavazza provides a branded glass that you can fill to the indicated mark with your dairy or plant milk of choice before placing on the drip tray and making your selection. The deséa cleverly whisks, steams and stirs the milk to the appropriate recipe, giving you an expertly made cappuccino in under a minute.

Read more: 8 best milk frothers to make a proper coffee at home

This is actually really impressive; as mentioned, milk functionality isn’t commonplace with pod machines. You may see long-life milk capsules for some machines, or models that have an add-on milk tank that can steam milk, but these can be awkward, messy and a pain to clean, so this design is really brilliant. The cappuccino – or latte or macchiato – produced is first-rate, too: a proper barista-level coffee with velvety, tiny micro-bubbles. We’re impressed.

Though the machine is not difficult to use, we’d recommend having a good read through the manual first and keeping hold of it, as it can be hard to remember what the various flashings in the interface may mean – descaling needed, incorrectly positioned drawer or an error with the machine. The Lavazza deséa is fairly small, but the water tank easily holds enough to make four or five coffees a time – though this would be a problem if several people required a milky coffee…

The verdict: Lavazza deséa

Serving up the best-tasting capsule coffee we’ve tried, we’ve found ourselves unexpectedly impressed by the Lavazza deséa. The aroma and flavour of most of the pods we tried from the a modo mio range were excellent, then once you add in the clever milk frothing system, you have a truly barista-worthy creation not usually seen within the capabilities of a pod machine. The deséa gets extra points for quietness, convenience and looking slick, too; it’s a great-value buy that offers steaming hot Italian-inspired coffee at the touch of a button. What’s not to like?

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