The portable Lavazza EspressGo.
The portable Lavazza EspressGo. Photo: Eddie Jim

Matt Holden

Roll up, roll up for the car, caravan or boat with everything - SatNav, HandsFree, DVD player, CigaretteLighter and the EspressGo, a portable version of Lavazza's A Modo Mio capsule coffee machine.

The EspressGo looks like a high-tech thermos with an ''on'' button, a temperature dial and a 12-volt plug. The lid doubles as a portafilter: unscrew it, fill the reservoir with 50ml of cold water (''non gassata'' the Italian instructions advise, because Italians use bottled water for everything), pop a capsule in and screw the lid back on.

Plug it into the cigarette lighter, press the ''on'' button and it starts to brew.

A demonstration on stable ground.
A demonstration on stable ground. Photo: Eddie Jim

Actually, it starts to vibrate noisily as the pump pressurises; disconcerting the first time. The vibrating lasts about a minute, but as the manual warns, ''When the motor noise stops, it does not mean that the machine is ready!''. It will fool anyone who hasn't RTFM: at this point the water isn't hot enough to extract coffee. You need to ''wait until you hear 3 bleeps (approx 2 minutes)''. The Italian is more elegant: in that country you'll be waiting for ''3 segnali sonori''.

The progress to 3 bleeps is indicated by the thermometer needle sweeping towards 10. Around 8 you hear the water start to boil.

In our tests the 3 bleeps sounded at 3 minutes 30 seconds; either my car's inferior German electrical system or the Italians' elastic sense of time - you choose.

The end result ...The coffee from Lavazza's portable machine.
The end result ...The coffee from Lavazza's portable machine. Photo: Matt Holden

Unplug it, invert it over a cup (not on the upholstery - I just had Das Auto cleaned), and press the button: a foamy stream of coffee is expressed.

Lavazza's A Modo Mio range includes 10 blends of increasing roast intensity. The capsules with the test model were at seven on the scale (''appassionatamente''), and the coffee was second-crack smoky in flavour, with quite a creamy body. I'd hate to think what lies beyond, though 10, ''vigorosamente'', is available only in Italy (and probably only at card bars and Autostrada truck stops). One of the lighter blends might taste sweeter.

The EspressGo makes one cup at a time.

A passenger could operate it with the car in motion at the risk of a coffee scalding, but drivers should probably wait for the hands-free version.

Lavazza EspressGo, $199, lavazza.com.au.