Before we get into the technical aspects of the two types of espresso machines, here’s what you really need to know. Semi-automatic espresso machines are going to be perfect for the espresso connoisseur. If you’re the type that really wants to get the best-quality and taste out of your espresso machine and don’t mind taking a little more time and effort out of your schedule, the semi-automatic espresso maker is going to be for you. It’s a little bit more work, but the key here is that you ultimately have more control over every subtle nuance that goes into your version of the perfect shot of espresso with a semi-automatic.
One of the essential selling points of this coffee maker is that it comes with two grinders. This allows you to mix and match between different beans, such as if you want to have regular or decaf as an option. The grinders themselves are also better than anything else that Jura offers. Instead of metal, they are ceramic, which not only means that they last longer, but they are much quieter.
You don’t even have to deal with the coffee grounds right away: they just drop into a little box that needs periodic emptying. Like the the 1.4l water tank, this box slides out of the front of the machine, which means you don’t need to fumble around at the back or move it away from the wall every few cups of coffee you make. It’s a nice touch, especially as the water tank in particular requires regular topping up: every time you switch the machine on, it flushes water through its pipes to keep them clean. It’s a bit of a faff, but it has its benefits: the NC-ZA1 makes a surprisingly delicious cup of coffee.
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.
You don’t really need to be a coffee connoisseur to be able to prepare your own drinks with this coffee machine. There are recipes for 12 coffee creations which you can select with the rotary switch. The machine uses images and texts to guide users through the preparation stages. You can prepare coffee choices such as Irish coffee, flavored latte macchiato, Viennese coffee, and Café Melange, amongst others. In addition, this coffee machine is also self cleaning to eliminate any excuses when it comes to making speciality coffee at home.