November 14, 2006

Review: Lavazza Blue Pininfarina Capsule Espresso System

pininfarina_pro.jpgOn top of all the other makers here in the kitchens at SingleServeEspresso, we have been using this pretty cool Lavazza Blue machine courtesy of Cafe-Razzi. Our sister site took a look at the machine a few weeks ago and reviewed it there. I wanted a taste of the Lavazza Blue nectar too; loyal readers know that I really like the Lavazza Grand Crema ESE pods, so when the opportunity came up to use the Lavazza Blue Pinifarina ProTech capsule based brewer I had to jump on it.

The Cafe-Razzi program is a coffee club type system where you can buy the unit and it comes with a 30 day free trial of the coffee capsules. There are three capsules available: The Red espresso blend that I really liked, the Brown that is a bit mellower, and the Light Blue - a decaf.

As far as the machine goes, it is dead easy to use. The unit , made by Saeco, comes with a 2 part boiler system that has one dedicated to brewing and one for steaming. This combined with the 1 gallon water reservoir should keep you going for a long time without much attention to the machine. The unit also holds up to 25 spent capsules in its waste bin. Like most machines in this price range, it includes automatic sensors to tell you when to empty the waste bin. The unit stands pretty big on the counter, but it's not out of line and is about the size of a lot of Super Automatics (12.87"W x 15.4"Hx18.6"D).


I drank a lot of the red "Buongiorno" which is said to be "Full bodied to get your morning started", and I have to agree it's a pretty nice shot. It's got a fair amount of body, with a nice brightness from its well-balanced acidity. The unit has the ability to program in the size of your shot, and I was able to match it perfectly to the Bodum glasses I like to use for my daily espressos.

Brewing is easy, open a drawer, drop in the capsule, close it and hit a button. The unit brews, and then ejects the capsule into the Lavazza Blue capsule into the waste bin. We ended up using the machine in a couple of ways to brew different sized cups through the day. Sometimes I'll admit that I draw a Crema Cafe where I just dial in a 6 ounce cup or so to make a brewed coffee like cup, but with the unmistakable taste of espresso. We also whipped up a few lattes while it was here. The touchpad has a few buttons, and only a few to make the design and use simple and elegant. There is is a steam button, an espresso button, a coffee button, and a stop button for operation and there is a menu button to dig into the settings.

So, I have to admit that sometimes, I steam the milk first right in my mug, and then shoot in the espresso on the top. It's just laziness on my part, driven by the fact that I don't want to clean up the frothing pitcher. So, this was easy with the Pinifarina ProTech machine, and with the powerful heater, you can really steam milk almost all day long. A quick 60 second steam time and then a nice shot on top made for a great morning ritual. I could fit a normal coffee mug under the spout. After a few days, it got to be a quick routine, even brewing up some decaf later in the evening to enjoy as the cool nights are hitting up here. Again, good solid coffee from the capsules and easy to make.

IMG_2957.jpgCafé-Razzi for sending us the Lavazza Blue to review, we're sad to see it head back.

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Posted by Scott Martin at November 14, 2006 8:40 AM
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