We found the Jura J9 to be intuitive to navigate and the state of the art TFT display which features text and images, combined with the rotary selector makes choosing your beverage simple. A standout feature of this model if the “fine foam” technology which utilizes three bars in the frother spout which acts to slow down the foam as it exits the frother so its poured at the right speed and evenly into the cup. The stainless steel vacuum milk container that feeds the frother warms the milk or cream and is easy to clean. The hardened steel grinding heads of the built-in canonical grinder deliver precision ground coffee every single time. There isn’t a single thing the IMPRESSA J9 doesn’t do well and it probably the most well-rounded model on our list.
The new Gaggia Brera is a very impressive super automatic espresso machine that has a small form factor, making it perfect for use on small kitchen countertops. Not only that, but it seems that the company has focused, among other things, to ensure that the Brera fully maximizes user convenience. For instance, the water tank, drop tray and the dregs drawer are all within reach and can be easily accessed from the machine for simple, swift maintenance and regular cleaning. With this model, beverage selection and machine programming has been greatly simplified, allowing users to easily navigate through the options which are certainly more than you’d expect from such a small machine.
Edit - 01/15/2015: Eight and a half years later, this gem is still cranking out great coffee. I had it serviced by the wonderful folks at CoffeeBoss in Cornelius, NC last year, and it's still going strong with a cup count of 9,922. The brew group is not user serviceable, so occasional maintenance should be expected. I use distilled water (at the cost of flavor, I know) now that I'm back in the city on municipal water, so I don't need or use the Clearyl filter (I recommend it for tap/well water, though), and I do use a cleaning tablet within 5-10 cups of when it starts asking for it on the LED display.
I have tried several semi-automatic espresso machines and have returned 4 before I found this one you have to spend the money. It makes great coffee but the froth just can't steam 8oz of milk for a latte and put out a quality Latte. So I purchased the Jura froth PRO Automatic Milk Frother and it makes a great Latte. Coffee is excellent and iced lattes are quick and easy to make and I have saved $$ through the years. I would purchase one again it pays for itself if you drink lattes and iced drinks at Starbucks within 3 months. I have owned this machine since Dec. 2008 and happy with the purchase.
Everything about the Gira 5 is perfectly designed and engineered to produce incredible coffee drinks at twice the pace of other units. If we had a need for this much coffee this is the model we would buy, but our current consumption simply doesn’t warrant it. The Giga 5 is very popular in office settings but we also know families who entertain that have it in their home.
The ESAM5500B from DeLonghi allows you to finally be your own barista and enjoy delicious lattes and cappuccinos anytime. This model comes with a patented milk container, so if you love Italian drinks and would like to prepare them at home, then the ESAM5500B can easily help you prepare them. All you need to do is slide it onto the front of the espresso machine, place your favorite cup under the nozzle and then press the button corresponding to the type of drink you want to prepare. After that, the machine is going to take care of everything for you. Given the fact that it can be detached easily, you can place the milk container in the refrigerator after each use.
Jura offers the ultimate in luxury coffee machines. Designed for those with discerning tastes, this well-known brand offers some of the best coffee makers you can buy – period. From single-serve machines to top-of-the-line super automatic espresso makers, Jura does it all. For the home-brewing enthusiasts, the following three models are the best-of-the-best.
This super-automatic Jura Capresso ENA 5 coffee machine does produce a tasty cup of coffee, no doubt about it. But we are concerned about its ability to hold up under pressure (literally, with flying milk nozzles!). For the kind of cash that this machine requires, most customers would likely be happier with another Jura model (the S9, perhaps) or another brand of super-automatic coffee machine.
4) The coffee and espresso are great. I've learned to make a latte just like Starbuck's and I haven't been back since. Some people complain that the frother doesn't work well, but here's the trick: first, you should use non-fat or low-fat milk. For some reason, lower fat milk froths better every time; second, be sure to clean the frothing nozzle after each use. Kind of a no-brainer, I know. Third, there are two settings on the frother, and you can change the setting by sliding the sleeve on the frothing tip up or down. Experiment with this and you will get the perfect froth, really.
From the outside, the Giga 5 looks attractive. It has a color TFT (thin film transistor) LCD screen display on the top front and center, with a stylish aluminum chassis with black plastic sides. This unit will definitely enhance the look of any kitchen. There’s a dedicated hot water spout at the front of the machine plus a couple of adjustable spouts for making coffee. Located on top of the unit you will find on/off buttons, a program button, and a rotary switch that is key to navigating the Giga’s menu.