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Lavazza Voicy review: Alexa, make me an espresso

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
249
inc VAT

Great coffee now comes with a smart speaker

Pros 
Great Lavazza coffee
Lots of customisability
Fun to use
Cons 
Speaker quality isn’t anything to shout about
Can’t store additional pods in the machine
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Smart, “hands-free” coffee machines aren’t exactly a new invention, but it’s not often that you come across one like the Lavazza Voicy. In fact, the Voicy is the first machine I’ve ever seen with an entire Amazon Echo speaker built in.

This unlikely pairing allows you to ask the Voicy to make you a coffee without touching a button, and also gives you all the benefits of a smart speaker. Asking Alexa for an espresso doesn’t come cheap, however.

Lavazza Voicy review: What do you get for the money?

The Lavazza Voicy is a pod coffee machine that costs £249. For that, you get a basic espresso machine with no milk frother and that built-in Alexa smart speaker. Its design is somewhere between the £79 Lavazza Jolie and the £139 Idola and, despite housing a smart speaker, the Voicy isn’t much larger than the latter, measuring 157 x 380 x 300mm (WDH).

The casing is made from matte black plastic, with a clear plastic water tank at the rear and a large capsule lever on top. Tucked away at the front is a pod bin for used capsules (with a ten-pod capacity) and an adjustable cup holder, both of which are dishwasher-safe. The speaker also sits at the front and alongside it are two buttons for making espresso and long espresso, a power button, volume controls and two buttons to activate or mute Alexa.

It’s hard to offer an alternative product here, as there’s nothing else quite like the Voicy. However, you might be interested in alternative ways to buy the machine if you’re not keen on splashing out £249 right now. With Lavazza’s coffee subscription service, for instance, you can buy the Voicy for a mere £50 if you sign up for the subscription and buy an initial ten boxes of capsules, followed by a further nine deliveries. It sounds like a lot, but these can be spaced up to 12 weeks apart, meaning you won’t be spending a fortune on capsules every week just to get the machine cheaper initially.

Alternatively, if you decide to forgo the speaker altogether our favourite coffee pod machine – the Idola – is a mere £1 with Lavazza’s subscription service or £119 to buy outright.

Lavazza Voicy review: Is the smart speaker any good?

The built-in smart speaker can be used like any other Alexa-powered Echo device. As with most third-party Alexa smart speakers, the phone call and intercom features aren’t supported, but everything else is, allowing you to set timers, play music through Spotify or Amazon Music and control smart home devices with your voice.

It’s easy enough to set up – just link it to your Amazon account via the Piacere Lavazza app on either your Android or iOS device. You’ll need to create an account with Lavazza and will also be prompted to link the Voicy to your phone via Wi-Fi. Once you’re all set up on the app, the first thing you’ll see is a list of commands you can use with the Voicy. These include “Alexa, make me a coffee/espresso” (you can also ask for a long or hotter coffee), “Alexa, play some music”, “Alexa, what are my consumption statistics” and more.

In testing, the speaker worked relatively well and understood requests to make coffee around 90% of the time. However, I found saying things such as please and thank you at the end of my requests was enough to confuse Alexa and stop me from getting a coffee. Clearly she doesn’t appreciate good manners.

One thing that particularly impressed me, however, was that Alexa will alert you if your water is running low or if the capsule bin is full before making your coffee.

When it comes to listening to music via the speaker, the quality isn’t awful but it’s not up to the standard of what you might expect from a regular Echo. Bassy songs sound a touch on the flat side, and audio briefly cuts out when you adjust the volume from your phone.

The speaker on the Voicy isn’t going to replace any half-decent smart speaker you already own, but it’s a nice addition to an office or kitchen, and it certainly keeps gadget clutter to a minimum.

Lavazza Voicy review: What’s the coffee machine like to use?

The sound quality might be mediocre, but the Voicy is a joy to use when it comes to making coffee. It only takes around 25 seconds to warm up and it’s relatively quiet, too. It’s compatible with all Lavazza compostable eco capsules, and there are three ways to pour yourself an espresso: via the Lavazza app, voice control or, if you’re a traditionalist, using the buttons on front of the machine.

If you do decide to go via the app, you can adjust the length of your coffees anywhere from 0.3oz (8.8ml) to 8.3oz (245ml), as well as save custom coffees for future use. Like the Idola, you can also increase the temperature of your coffee this way, which is ideal if you’re prone to letting your espresso go cold.

In addition to the usual Echo commands, the machine has a few set phrases you can say to trigger the coffee-making process. You can say these directly to your Voicy or ask any other Echo device in your home. Annoyingly, though, you’ll need to have your other Echo speakers set up in the same app group as the Voicy before this will work.

Of course, even with the voice activation, making coffee with the Voicy isn’t entirely hands-free. You still have to fill the water tank yourself and place a cup under the dispenser spout. Moreover, there’s no automatic pod dispenser, meaning you’ll still need to manually insert a pod each time you want to make a coffee.

As for the quality of the coffee, that can’t be faulted. The Voicy pours excellent espressos with a perfect crema on top. Of the pods we tried, the Tierra Organic were particularly good, although it’s worth noting that most of Lavazza’s coffee pods lean towards the darker roasts, so if you prefer a light coffee they might not be to your taste. Another huge benefit to the Lavazza eco capsules is that they’re compostable. Once you’re done with the pod, you can chuck the whole thing in your food waste bin, if your local council offers industrial composting as a service. It’s worth noting you can’t dispose of these in your regular garden compost heap or bin, however.

Lavazza Voicy review: Should you buy it?

I really like the Lavazza Voicy. It’s fun to use, it makes great coffee and the combination of smart speaker and coffee machine is a great idea for anyone who doesn’t want lots of gadget clutter in the kitchen.

Objectively, however, I can’t see that many people are going to want to buy one over any of Lavazza’s other pod machines. The voice activation features are a gimmick, especially as you still have to pop in a pod by hand each time you make a coffee, and the price is high.

Indeed, you can save yourself £80 simply by buying an Echo Dot for £50 and the five-star Lavazza Idola for £119 separately, although you do miss out on the connected features that allow you to customise the size and temperature of your coffee.

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