Lavazza Jolie Plus review: Simple but slow pod coffee
Quick verdict: The Lavazza Jolie Plus provides a tasty cup of coffee for a pod machine, although it's not particularly quick.
- Coffee tastes good (as it should)
- Easy to remove pods without flooding
- Choice of espresso shot size
- Slow coffee delivery
- Pods aren't as easy to recycle as Nespresso
- Tricky to set water levels
The Lavazza Jolie Plus isn't quite the company's lowest-cost pod-based coffee machine – that crown sits with the more basic Jolie – but it's still a simple, affordable pod coffee machine that produces some pretty tasty cups when needed, albeit a tad slowly.
Pod coffee machines all tend to work from the same basic design principles. Throw a water tank at the back, the brewing and capsule machinery in the middle and a space at the front for placing a cup to collect your tasty beverage at the end.
In that respect, the Lavazza Jolie Plus is much like any other low-cost pod system, with a small overall footprint on your kitchen bench and a slightly more premium style than the company's entry-level model, the Lavazza Jolie.
The Lavazza Jolie Plus differentiates itself from the cheaper Lavazza Jolie in a couple of primary ways.
Firstly, where the standard Lavazza Jolie sells in a variety of plastic colours, the Lavazza Jolie Plus comes in either a "premium" black or silver finish. That could be a good match if you're not a fan of the brighter regular Jolie colours.
The other big difference is that the Lavazza Jolie Plus has not 1, but 2 buttons on the top.
Both buttons do the same thing, and you can probably guess that this solitary task is "dispense coffee", but it affords you a level of shot selection size when preparing your next espresso.
A feature of the Lavazza Jolie Plus that I did appreciate was that the pod capture tray is its own basket within the area where pods drop once you've made your cup. This means that excess water can seep out of the pods, but when you're emptying it you don't get dirty water splashing on the kitchen bench or your hands when disposing of the pods themselves. It's a small detail, but one that not all pod machines get right.
The reason most people buy pod coffee machines rests on convenience over all else. You could buy a full machine (or even roast and grind beans yourself if you're particularly keen), but for many of us, that easy caffeine hit in a system that's simple trumps more involved methods.
Here, the Lavazza Jolie Plus works fairly well. Like any other pod system, you make your pod selection to cover the type of coffee you'd like and drop the relevant pod into the slot at the top of the machine.
At the time of writing Lavazza sells 10 different pod types in Australia covering different flavours, intensities and options around decaffeinated coffee. You get a sampler pack of pods in the Lavazza Jolie Plus box itself to get you started.
A nice feature here relative to some machines is that the Lavazza A Modo Mio capsules are readily available at many supermarkets, although you do need to be careful as Lavazza also offers a range of pods for classic Nespresso machines as well. The 2 systems are not cross-compatible. If your supermarket doesn't stock them, Lavazza will also sell them to you directly. There's even a coffee subscription service for the terminally caffeine addicted on offer as well.
Pod systems are convenient, but for most of us we also want them to be reasonably quick. Here the Lavazza Jolie Plus was a slight disappointment, with a relatively sedate flow of coffee from pods as tested. If you're the impatient coffee type you may find this a touch annoying, although the end coffee is generally well worth waiting for.
The benefit of the Lavazza Jolie Plus is that you can opt for a short or long espresso via the top buttons and it's also feasible to increase the default water level for those shots by holding the button down. This is a rather fiddly procedure though. You increase the water level by holding down the button for longer, but if you go beyond what the Lavazza Jolie Plus is happy with, it'll click angrily at you and then just default to the normal shot size instead. As such, it's a bit of a guessing game if you want a longer shot making sure you stop before the Lavazza Jolie Plus forces you to.
In terms of coffee quality, the Lavazza Jolie Plus delivers a nicely tasty cup for a pod machine. Coffee aficionados will naturally gravitate more towards a fresh bean/grind solution, but if you're pressed for time, storage space or don't want the fuss or mess of a full coffee machine it's a good halfway house. Pod pricing can and will vary, but at the time of writing, outside the machine price you'd be looking at around 50c per cup – or in this case, per pod.
The dark side of pod coffee isn't in the richer blends, but instead what you do with the waste. Here Lavazza doesn't score all that well against established rival Nespresso, because recycling is a little trickier for the average consumer. Lavazza does offer recycling of its pods through Terracycle, but there's not much mention of it directly on Lavazza's website or product packaging, so many consumers could easily miss it. I certainly did at first glance.
Should you buy the Lavazza Jolie Plus?
- Buy it if you like Lavazza's blends and have patience with your pod coffee.
- Don't buy it if you want a faster coffee or recyclable pods.
The Lavazza Jolie Plus delivers a good cup of coffee and at that level it's a success as a coffee machine. However, it's not notably fast and it's a little tricky to get the water level right if you want more than the 2 basic shot sizes. While few pod makers do much in terms of recycling, Lavazza's biggest rival does in this space, and it's not like it's some tiny local brand, so it could also do more there.
Pricing and availability
Where to buy
How we tested
Coffee was produced using the Lavazza Jolie Plus using 16 different coffee pods over a period of 2 weeks, taking into consideration ease of use, time to produce each cup, overall coffee quality and observations on the process relative to other pod and coffee machine options.
Images: Alex Kidman