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Lavazza Jolie coffee machine review: Not just a pretty face

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Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
95
inc VAT

Compact and affordable, Lavazza’s smallest capsule machine looks neat and makes a great espresso

Pros 
Compact
Stylish
Easy to use
Cons 
No preset dosage function
Limited space in capsule bin
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For great-tasting coffee in a pinch, Lavazza’s capsule machines have consistently impressed us, taking the hassle out of brewing espresso yet still delivering quality results. The Jolie is the smallest of the brand’s A Modo Mio coffee machines and, at under £100, it’s a great piece of kit for the coffee drinker who might not have the budget, space or time to invest in a manual espresso machine.

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

At just 33cm deep, the Jolie really is a compact capsule coffee machine and, priced at £95, it’s also Lavazza’s most affordable. This title was previously held by the Lavazza Tiny, but this has now been officially discontinued – although you might still be able to find some remaining stock on Amazon.

The Jolie offers pretty much everything we’ve come to expect from a Lavazza capsule machine. Its body is constructed from plastic, with a sizeable metal lever that is used to open and shut the capsule slot. A 600ml water tank slots in at the back of the machine and at the front there’s a removable drip tray, allowing you to use the machine with both espresso cups and larger mugs. It comes in a choice of three colours: red, white or black.

Where the Jolie really differs from its bulkier brethren is its control panel, which in this case is just a single button on the top of the machine. This is used to turn it on and pour espresso: it’s as simple as that. There’s no off button on the Jolie, either. Instead, it will shut itself off automatically after nine minutes of inactivity. Alternatively, you can switch it off at the plug.

I tested the coffee-only version of the Lavazza Jolie, although a Jolie and Milk variant is also available for £169 if you prefer milk-based drinks. This comes with an integrated milk frother and has two buttons, one for espresso and one for longer lungo coffees.

Lavazza Jolie review: What does it do well?

The Lavazza Jolie is compact and doesn’t take up much space at all, particularly when compared to the Nespresso Citiz machine that was previously sitting in my kitchen. It lives up to its name too – that’s “pretty” for those that need to brush up on their French. From its matte black sides to its glossy façade, it’s probably the nicest-looking of all the Lavazza machines, with the only standout exception being the chic Lavazza A Modo Mio SMEG.

Looks aside, the Jolie is remarkably easy to use. With just one button, you can produce a consistently great-tasting espresso with the machine’s “Stop&Go” button, giving you full control over dosage. Simply press the button to begin the pour and then again to stop.

The machine uses Lavazza’s compostable EcoCaps, which can be discarded along with your food waste, skipping out the middleman when it comes to capsule recycling (note that these aren’t suitable for home composting in your garden, but will instead need to go into the food bins collected by the council for recycling). Strictly speaking, Nespresso’s aluminium pods can also be recycled, but you’ll need to arrange for kerbside pickup or take your discarded pods to a drop-off location. In my opinion, Lavazza’s EcoCaps produce a much better tasting coffee anyway – sorry, George Clooney.

The Jolie also has a lot going for it when it comes to affordability. It’s the only A Modo Mio machine in Lavazza’s current range that, at full price, will cost you under £100. This puts it on an equal footing with the Nespresso Essenza, our favourite budget Nespresso machine. After this, there’s the aforementioned Jolie & Milk and the Idola at £169, then the Deséa and SMEG machines both at £249. These are the prices from Lavazza’s online store, but you may well find these machines cheaper elsewhere.

Lavazza Jolie review: What could be improved?

Unfortunately, the perks of the Jolie are not without their drawbacks, however slight they might be. For one, having the whole machine controlled by a single button, despite the appeal of its simplicity, is also rather restrictive.

While the Jolie’s single manual button does give you some control, it also means you lack precision if you’re trying to aim for a classic espresso dosage. What’s more irritating is that you don’t have the freedom to walk away from the machine while it’s pouring, which isn’t ideal for those wanting to make a quick espresso while multitasking, or for those getting ready to leave the house in a hurry. If this is a dealbreaker for you, the Jolie & Milk model has separate buttons for espresso and lungo sizes. Similarly, the coffee-only Jolie Plus also has two buttons, but this machine has now been officially delisted by Lavazza (however, like the Lavazza Tiny, you might be able to find leftover stock on Amazon).

The size of the Jolie is also a bit of a double-edged sword. Although its minimalist design means it doesn’t dominate your kitchen space, you will find you’ll have to empty the capsule bin more frequently than you would with larger machines. I also found that, on occasion, lifting the lever would not cause the capsule to drop down into the bin immediately and that I would need to give it an encouraging prod to loosen it up (this is an issue that has affected a number of the Lavazza machines we’ve tested).

Lavazza Jolie review: Should you buy it?

The drawbacks I’ve mentioned here, while they do hold the Lavazza Jolie back from being a five-star Best Buy, are ultimately little more than relatively minor annoyances. If you’re after a compact coffee capsule machine at a reasonable price, I’d definitely recommend the Lavazza Jolie. It’s small, stylish and can make a really nice espresso.

On the other hand, if you’re curious about Lavazza’s wider range, or think that perhaps another machine might be better for you, you might want to check out our reviews of the Lavazza Idola, Deséa and Voicy machines. But as a simple, no-fuss budget coffee capsule machine, the Jolie is a good option.

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