If you loved Lavazza’s Minù, its most compact coffee machine, you’re sure to be even more enamoured with the Minù Caffè Latte. It still boasts dinky proportions, easy operation and simple design, but while the Minù left milky drinks fans finding their frothing fix elsewhere, the Minù Caffè Latte comes with an attached cappuccino maker.
Not only does this handy addition mean you can enjoy lattes and macchiatos, it’ll also froth cold milk and whisk up hot chocolate, running independently of the coffee dispenser. Paired with A Modo Mio’s choice of 10 coffee blend capsules, including decaf, that amounts to a huge choice of drinks from one small but mighty machine.
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Less a revolution than an evolution, the basic design of the Minù hasn’t really changed. The Minù Caffè Latte’s coffee dispenser is still fantastically slim, with a Stop&Go control knob on the side to control how much water is used per capsule, as well as subtle LED lights above the drip tray and an adjustable cup support so it can accommodate larger mugs as well as espresso cups. A button at the top switches it on and it’ll turn itself off after nine minutes of inactivity. It’s available in red, white or cyan and has a handy detachable 80cm power cable.
The Minù Caffè Latte is a little heavier at 4.2kg because of the integrated milk frother, positioned to the side on a sturdy plinth. Super smart, this consists of a removable stainless-steel jug that slots inside the cappuccino maker to heat, froth and mix milk depending on the drink you’re making. The whisk attachment inside is also removable for easy cleaning and comes in two parts – used together to make a "smooth crown" to heat and blend or alone as a "notched crown" to froth milk.
From switching on, the Minù Caffè Latte takes just seconds to heat up its thermobloc. We started by making a straight espresso. Inserting the capsule into the removable holder drawer, we turned the Stop&Go control knob to lock the capsule in place, pierce it and allow coffee to be dispensed.
It was a little slow, even for a small dose of espresso, but easy to operate and the used capsule could be thrown away once the machine had unlocked the holder.
We then tried making a cappuccino using the milk frother. It’s handy that both parts of the machine could be operated simultaneously, so we could dispense coffee while frothing the milk. Using the notched crown, we filled the jug with milk (there are markings inside the jug to indicate maximum and minimum fill levels), then set it whisking with a single press of the button at the front.
The milk froth that it produced was perfect for a good cappuccino – thick, creamy and with a firm froth that needed to be gently eased from the jug. Next we tried frothing cold milk in the jug (requiring the button to be held down for longer) and the results were almost as good as if it had been warmed – the milk still had a good amount of froth and was ideal for making milkshakes. Finally, we used the smooth crown to make hot chocolate with milk and hot chocolate powder in the jug. The hot chocolate was smooth and creamy with a slight froth on top and at a perfect drinkable temperature.
One issue with the machine was the size of the water tank at the back. Just like the Minù, it’s a mere 500ml, meaning you’ll be topping up frequently if you’re making a few drinks or prefer your coffee longer. We found it was easier to top it up with a jug as we went but would definitely like to see more capacity. We also needed to empty the excess water drawer a few times, which felt like an extra chore on top of the drip tray emptying.
The A Modo Mio capsule system is perhaps more limited than others, but the coffee’s great quality and the blends are diverse, from full-flavoured capsules to aromatic, velvety drinks.
As a manually operated machine, the Minù Caffè Latte has an auto shut-off for the amount of water it’ll dispense per pod, but some of the espresso pods don’t work as well when they’re long drinks. Left shorter, they have a thick crema and smooth taste. Topped with thick, frothy milk, the result is a satisfyingly barista-style cappuccino.
The attached milk frother is the star of the show – dishwasher-safe as well as easy to clean by hand, it elevates a simple pod machine into an incredibly versatile drinks maker. Espresso addicts and cappuccino purists will love its multiple smart features at an affordable price point, plus its ability to fit your favourite mug below the spout, but long black drinkers may become frustrated with a repeated need to top up the tank.
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There are one or two quirks to work around, but the amount of clever features for the price makes it all worthwhile.