I had avoided automatics for a while simply because pulling a shot seemed like such a romantic notion. Hah! Switching to a schedule that kicks off at 5:45 AM makes anything 'automatic' look a whole lot sexier. I am setting aside $$$ so that when this one finally fails (and that should be a while - this machine demonstrates superior engineering), I can dart right to the store and buy another.
The machine is very nice looking in person, very sleek. The instruction manual is pretty sparse on details. It has enough, but it's a little intimidating for a first time user. I took my time and found out that the programming is very user friendly and easy to use. I have ours on our counter with a cabinet overhead. When I fill water reservoir I do pull the machine a bit forward because the reservoir is deep and you have to lift it straight up. It's easy to do but you need a bit of clearance. The bean hopper is in the back, so I pull the machine forward a bit to fill that, as well. Very easy to do. One thing I wanted in the J9 was the option to use a water filter. I have hard water from our tap, and had been filling our DeLonghi from our filtered refrigerator dispenser, but that was cumbersome. With the Jura filter I can fill the deep reservoir right in the little bar sink I have next to the machine. I tested the water before and after, and the Jura filter definitely works to reduce hardness, which is important in keeping the machine free from mineral scale buildup. I think it will be well worth the expense of replacing the filters. It came with one filter and a couple of descaling tabs, which I have not had to use yet.
The Capresso EC-100 comes with a generous number of safety features, which you find in the best home espresso machines. These include a short electrical cord so that nothing is dangling down within reach of a youngster's eager hands, which could pose serious risks to a child. The polarized plug means your espresso maker can only be plugged in one way. Since this model is equipped with on and off indicator lights, it's easy to tell that your machine is off when you want it to be and not worry about accidents, burns or fire.
The design of the Giga 5 is beautiful, and the clean lines running up and across the unit make it modern and sophisticated. Due to the fact that the Giga 5 has two grinders, pumps and heating systems, it produces a good amount of internal heat. Jura solves this problem by automatically diverting the heat and steam away from the machine via the visually appealing “venti ports,” which in turn provide fresh air into the system.
When looking for a fully automatic espresso machine, you have the choice to go for either a dual heating system or a single heating system machine. For instance, if you go for a dual boiler machine, then when you’re going to start the steam model, you’ll need to wait for about ten seconds until steam is available. With a single element system, the wait time increases by a factor of 5 and it takes about fifty seconds to get steam.
You’ll find the same basic components in a super automatic espresso machine that you’re going to find in a pump or manual machine: switches, control dials, a steam wand, a boiler and also a water pump. What sets the super automatic apart is the fact that an internal brewing chamber replaces the brew basket and removable portafilter. On top of that, a high quality burr grinder or conical grinder grinds and dispenses the coffee directly into the brewing chamber.
To really own your drinks, Jura designed the Impressa Z6 super-automatic espresso machine to include three brew temperature and three hot water temperature settings, ten coffee strength settings and ten milk temperature settings. It’s rare that we see so much flexibility for coffee strength, and rarer still to see a wide range of milk temperatures. In truth, many machines don’t feature milk temperature settings at all, so we were excited to brew with the Z6, and it didn’t disappoint. The Impressa Z6 quickly ramps up from brew to steam temperature in a short six seconds, so it’s great for people like us, who need caffeine (and need it now!). For a more full-bodied espresso and decidedly thicker crema, the Impressa Z6 uses Jura’s proprietary Pulse Extraction Process, to fire short pulses of water through the grounds during brewing, in order to get the most out of the extraction. Jura’s innovative TFT display shows, in living color, your personal list of favorite drinks right on the main screen and ready to brew at the push of a button. A longer list of up to 21 customizable specialty drinks is browsable via the rotary switch, so you won’t step on anybody’s toes at the office programming a drink to your particular specifications.
Whether you like it regular, or ristretto, or long, or Americano, the espresso needs to be smooth. There is some slight bitterness, but it should be very faint. The taste should remind of caramel. If you don’t have any idea of the taste, just go to a good coffee shop and order one. Go for a few days, and try to explore different baristas, and different times of the day. This will give you a great idea. If you don’t like it, and you know the coffee shop is a good one, give up, this is not for you. Some people just don’t like espresso. My wife, for instance, will only accept one if there is no other coffee around. At the end of the day, you have to like it, and you should make it your own.
If you want to steam and froth milk for 1 or 2 cups, you can take advantage of the dual Frother+ system that’s very simple to use. Featuring settings for cappuccino and latte, you can easily prepare your favorite drink in seconds. You’ll then be alerted when the machine is ready to steam and if you want, you can also dial in your desired steaming time by using the Rotary Switch.
And that’s it. There’s very little in the way of cleaning or maintenance to be done, bar an occasional emptying of the drip tray, an occasional rinsing of the removable pod holder and, of course, the refilling of the water tank. The tank isn’t huge (0.8l), so you’ll need to do the latter fairly frequently. The drip tray, for its part, is adjustable – you can place it at one of three heights to suit the size of drinking vessel and reduce the chance of spillage.
The Jura A9 truly shines in the milk drinks department. It features 2 height adjustable spouts that go anywhere from two point two and up to five point four inches if you plan on using taller However, when it comes to the milk, the machine uses a pick-up tube system. What this means is that now you can just place the tube into the milk container and prepare delicious milk based drinks. For better results though, it’s best that you either get Jura’s cool control milk cooler or their optional thermal milk container. That’s because not only is it better to keep milk chilled for sanitary reasons, but chilled milk also produces better froth.