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.
It uses a stainless steel conical burr grinder to get your beans just right, and it has a high-pressure system to extract more flavor in less time. The foam frother is remarkable as it produces fine foam that will make your coffee look and taste so much better. You can clean the system out relatively easily, and it allows you to control the strength of your beverages. Finally, it has an energy saver mode, and it’s slimmer than other two-cup models.
The Jura E8 superautomatic espresso machine utilizes a single aluminum boiler, lined with stainless steel and featuring Thermoblock technology for rapid heating. We prefer systems with two boilers, which allow you to simultaneously brew coffee and steam milk because single-boiler systems increase your total brewing time for milk-based drinks as the single boiler needs time to switch from one task to the other.
It’s a lovely looking, all-metal thing, with even accessories like the tamper and milk jug exuding an air of quiet, understated luxury. The portafilter is reassuringly weighty and solid, locking into the group head with a satisfying twist. There are clever little touches you can’t see or immediately feel that add to the feeling of quality too: on top is a tray that warms your cups, and the 2l water tank has an integrated, changeable filter.
In addition, the Capresso website offers plenty of data for using this espresso machine. Among other things, it provides a downloadable user manual along with PDF files containing a variety of delicious hot milk frothing recipes so you can prepare such things as different types of teas, soothing milk drinks and several different types of hot chocolate drinks.
This hefty Capresso burr grinder is built with a heavy-duty zinc die-cast housing, making it sturdy and reliable. Its large 8-ounce hopper ensures that you won’t be refilling your coffee beans for days. Its burr grinding mechanism produces consistent, uniform grinds in 16 different texture settings, from Turkish at the finest to French press at the coarsest. Because the Capresso 565 has a low RPM, low-heat grinder design, it causes minimal degradation to your coffee beans.
If you are going to try to make other coffees with this machine, plan on doing some trial runs to get it right. Since you can adjust the amount of water and beans, you can make standard coffee if you want, but it’s not going to be as good as the espresso. Overall, we only recommend this to espresso drinkers, but it’s nice to know that you can make other beverages if and when you want a change.
For those who tend to like their java a bit more robust and flavorful, this espresso machine offers a coffee and steam wand that you can use to adjust the potency of your coffee. If you prefer a bit less vigor to your morning espresso, simply move the wand to the steam side to add a bit more water. This will allow you to share your espresso maker with those around you who prefer a stronger or milder taste you do and still keep everyone happy.