Christmas has come early in my household - those lovely people at Argos have decided to send me a coffee maker to try out (so this post's in conjunction with them). I'd like to think its due to my winning ways with words, but in all likelihood they've looked at my morning time twitter feed and seen I was a girl with a serious coffee problem.
My usual coffee ritual starts with bleary eyed me remembering I can't get coffee on the way to work or anything other than instant at the office (I'm not starting the instant/fresh coffee debate here. Let's just say I don't understand why anyone would drink instant). Then a mad dash to get a cafetiere on before I tear out the door, then come back in to pick up the cafetiere I've forgotten, then dash down to the train. Please don't think I take a full coffee set on the train or that I can run with a glass french press; I have a very useful, lockable, plastic travel cafetiere, which double as a thermos and drinking vessel (ooh, look at me being practical AND safe).
Until now, I've looked on coffee machines as one of those aspirational luxuries that I'd never allow myself as I'm too damn practical to let loose and live a little. So when the Delonghi arrived I felt naughty, but like I'd made it into one of those middle class homes magazines my Mother likes to buy.
This is the coffee machine for semi-idiots - it's not one of those types that you just put pods in and press a button, the Motiva takes both ESE espresso capsules and fine ground espresso coffee (which I have tons of - perks of having a Dad who lives part of the year in Italy) - but it couldn't be simpler to set up as it's basically already done, you just have to put the coffee in, add water and attach the arm thingy (that's a technical term, by the way). Oh and turn a knob.
The Motiva has a removable, external water reservoir - simply ingenious as you don't have to take the machine to water or need to cart jugs across the kitchen to fill it up; just click it out and fill from the tap. The coffee is put in a little holder and then can you feel all proper barrista like as you tamp it down on the tamper attachment, twist said holder and arm into the machine, turn a knob and the espresso pours out, just like it does at any well known coffee chain.
Our first few attempts at making a coffee did result in some exploding mishaps - the only downside to the easy picture instructions is that they don't tell you how much coffee to put in the holder, or how hard to tamp it down. Three goes later though and we had it to a tee.
The Motiva makes excellent espresso, you get a lovely crema on top and the espresso is sweet and smooth. I tried a taste test with my Biretta mokka hob top (also Daddy/Italy present), using the same Lavazza Rossa espresso grounds. The Biretta produced a more watery, bitter result (and I'm a pro at using my mokka, so don't even question my makery ability), which needed a good spoon of sugar to bring out the chocolaty flavours of the coffee. However the Delonghi espresso needed no sugar and was much smoother.
The Delonghi makes espresso, pure and simple - however you can also use it to add hot water to your drink (Americano, anyone?) and there's a very capable milk frother attachment - so you can make all your favourite drinks off one small, compact and very neat machine. It's made of plastic, but it pretty sturdy - I've got super guns of steel/am exceedingly clumsy and it's bearing up eminently under these tough conditions.
All in all, the Delonghi's a simple, easy to use machine that's great for someone without much space. It'll take one morning of getting used to and then there's quick and tasty coffee on tap whenever you have that craving. Argos do other coffee machines too, but I'm going to stick with this one.