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.
If you’re not familiar with the term, TFT is a more high-tech version of a standard LCD. The colors are brighter, and the image is sharper, thus enabling you to see what you’re doing much more easily. The screen itself is 2.8 inches, and it uses a rotary dial to select the kind of coffee you like. What’s noticeable about the F8 is that it’s a full-service coffee maker, but it’s smaller than other models that Jura offers.
3) This machine is crazy smart. It knows exactly when to clean itself, or tells you when to start the cleaning cycle. To clean it, all you do is insert a tablet in the coffee powder drawer and it does its thing. It knows when it needs water, when the filter needs to be changed, etc. In fact, since we have a water filter built into our refrigerator, we just use that filtered water in the coffee machine and therefore we don't need to use the expensive water filters. Bottom line, if you just pay attention and clean the machine on a regular basis when it tells you to, this is a no-brainer machine.
The Delightful: The Z7 One-Touch is the perfect coffee brew center for discerning coffee lovers (if you are reading this, you are one) who need an early morning caffeine fix in minutes. Just as its name implies, a simple push of a button delivers rich, cafe-quality coffee, which is ideal for those who are not up to complex programming or measuring the influence of dreaded A.M brain fog.
Not trouble free, as they all seem to jam periodically, but easily fixed. Per J-C, the problem is using very oily beans, which we do as we love very dark, heavily roasted Starbucks beans. The part that jams is the press mechanism. When it expresses the puck, it clogs and won't go back up. This seems to be a criticism for many of its machines, but it's hardly a deal breaker.
We always like to find a negative or two, and this has to be the biggest one by far for the Jura. For us, the temperature is fine, but we do understand that some people like their coffee as near to boiling point as possible without burning the coffee. It’s probably going to be a minority of coffee lovers that find this to be a deal breaker (hint: if that’s you, take a look at Heston’s Dual Boiler), for most of us, we find that it takes the roof of our mouth off!
The ultra-modern frother technology prepares milk foam of unprecedented quality. The foam is both fine and compact, giving it a creamy consistency with a subtle sweetness. The frothers have two separate chambers in which the milk is frothed twice. Any bubbles that form will burst, compacting the foam and making it extremely fine. Three bars in the frother spout slow down the foam as it exits the frother, so it is poured slowly and evenly into the cup.
In front of the water tank sits a large cone that holds either the machine's permanent gold filter or reusable Type 4 paper filters. Below that is a sturdy stainless steel thermal carafe to accept and decant your brew. On the left side of the metal coffee pot, you'll find a small keypad complete with tiny LCD screen and minuscule membrane-style buttons. The display also includes a digital clock for checking the time and programming automatic brewing cycles.

The ultra-modern frother technology prepares milk foam of unprecedented quality. The foam is both fine and compact, giving it a creamy consistency with a subtle sweetness. The frothers have two separate chambers in which the milk is frothed twice. Any bubbles that form will burst, compacting the foam and making it extremely fine. Three bars in the frother spout slow down the foam as it exits the frother, so it is poured slowly and evenly into the cup.
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.
When it comes to grinding the coffee beans, the ESAM3500.N has an integrated conical burr grinder which allows you to further adjust the fineness of your selected settings. Other excellent features you’re going to love about this model include the decalcification system which alerts you when you have to clean the machine, a hot water sport for hot chocolate and tea, 2 boilers (stainless steel) for greater durability and faster recovery, but also a 60 oz water reservoir (removable) and a seven oz bean container.
When you think of other “one-touch” coffee solutions on the market, what typically comes to mind are single serve coffee machines that utilize K-cups or some other kind of coffee pod. While these definitely changed the game when first introduced, they leave a lot to be desired in terms of waste and the Jura has evolved past them. K-cups and coffee pods produce an extreme amount of plastic, cardboard and foil that is filling up landfills as at a rapid pace. Not to mention, by the time the coffee gets to your machine, the grounds have been sitting on the shelf for months and are most likely very stale.
The Unpleasant: There is hardly anything negative about this sublime machine. Due to its small water reservoir, the Impressa Z7 was not designed for offices or households with multiple coffee drinkers. Furthermore, it may be inconvenient for individuals who drink several cups of coffee throughout the day since that would require frequent refilling of the reservoir. If you’re interested in one with a larger water tank, check out Jura-Capresso S8.
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.
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