Because of this horrific recession, everyone has come up with new fangled ways of saving money, how you should spend your money, and how to invest your money.
There are a lot of people who suggest that if you invest a little time and money, and learn how to make you own stuff, you'll be better off in the long run.
And I think I may have found one of the coolest things that you can make yourself, in the comfort of your own home: your morning latte.
While it may not seem like you're saving money by shelling out £100+ for an home espresso machine, and then the coffee beans and milk you'll need to actually make your latte - I promise you, this is actually a fantastic investment.
If you're spending £2-£3 at Costa Coffee every day on your commute to work - or even on the weekends - you're easily spending anywhere from £60 - £80 a month on coffee. A one-off payment of £100 or so doesn't seem so bad now, does it?
At BitchBuzz HQ we've had the immense pleasure of testing out making our own espresso drinks with the new Lavazza A Modo Mio espresso machine, which combines the innovative design of Saeco Giaggia and Lavazza's coffee into one brilliant little package.
Before I go any further, I should admit that I'm a coffee snob. I worked in Starbucks management for a couple years and even took a test which declared me to be a - ahem - Coffee Master. I know coffee and I know a crap espresso machine when I see one. This has made me incredibly leery of any espresso machine that has coffee that comes in pods. PODS. Sacrilege!
However, I have to admit, I absolutley love the A Modo Mio.
The A Modo Mio comes with its own water tank, steam wand (so you can steam and froth up your own milk) and a nifty little system that allows you to simply drop in your choice of coffee capsule without any filters or grinding of beans.
The coffee capsules come four different flours: Appassionatamente, Deliziosamente, Cremosamente Dek and Coffee Creme. Obviously, I don't know what those words mean, but I can tell you that Apassionatamente is a properly strong espresso, Deliziosamente is a milder espresso, and Cremosamente Dek is decaf. The Coffee Creme isn't actually espreso, but a creamier, milder coffee which is nice if you're a coffee noob.
If you know how to steam and froth up your own milk and foam for a
cappuccino or latte, this machine is perfect for you. The coffee takes
seconds to go from capsule to cup, and the steam wand is powerful enough that you can get some pretty good foam going.
However, if you're not a ex-Barista or have never foamed your own
milk before, this is going to be a learning experience for you. It is
an easy enough thing to learn, but it's going to take you a few botched
lattes to get it right.
The Not-So Excellent
One of the design flaws with this machine is that you have to press down and hold the steam button before you can use the steam wand. It lights up when it's hot and ready to go - but unless you have a thumb the size of a fetus, your thumb is going to block the indicator light.
Also, one round with the steam wand is not enough, as when the light goes off the first time, your milk is not yet hot enough for a proper latte. You have to wait, press the button (with your gigantic thumb) and steam your milk some more - but the A Modo Mia does not come with a thermometer, so you might end up burning your milk, and your mouth.
I strongly suggest that you do buy a thermometer (Starbucks sell them for about £3) and aim for your drink to be between 140 - 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
A thermometer and a little metal milk pitcher to steam your milk in would be ideal accessories to come with the A Modo Mio, but it looks like you can't yet purchase them as I can't find them on the Lavazza A Modo Mio website.
The Bottom Line
Despite the steam button and the non-existent accessories - this little machine is brilliant. Both models are affordable as the Extra model - the one we've been trying out and l-o-v-e - is only £119, and the Premium version of the A Modo Mio comes in at £159.
From mochas to cappuccinos to lattes of many different flavors - the A Modo Mio will not only look great in your kitchen, but it's nice to be able to offer visitors something other than a cup of tea when they come 'round. Plus, all of the coffee capsules are delicious, and to be honest, you would
never be able to guess that they came out of a little capsule.
I've had such a good time being able to make my own latte, without having to pay or walk my ass down to my local café.
If you're looking for a basic espresso machine with a steam wand, and can brew up strong espresso in seconds, Lavazza's A Modo Mio is perfect