I'm coming up on a year with this machine in December. It can be a little picky about the beans (not oily). But with lavazza super crema beans, it performs quite well. I very seldom get a shot that I don't like. I vary my drinks day to day, and enjoy straight espresso, cortados, lattes, and occasionally coffee. It doesn't disappoint in either of the modes. I don't like that if I program my drink (2 shot espresso) and double tap the start button, it will simply pull double the volume, and not do a full 2 cycles of the double shot. There is a noticeable difference in the quality of the shots when I do this.
As with other Jura machines, the Impressa Z6 is hygienic and conveniently cleans up after itself. The extra large 2.4 L water tank has a handle for easy removing, and is designed to work with a Smart Water Filter, which uses RFID technology to communicate with the control panel about its lifespan, automatically alerting you when it needs changing. Using a filter ensures great tasting coffee and reduces the need for descaling. The Impressa Z6 automatically rinses on start up, and keeps a reminder to clean the milk circuit on-screen when needed. All of the maintenance processes, such as brew group cleaning and descaling, will throw alerts as well, and are easily accessed through the TFT display where they can be performed by pressing a button. Step up to the Giga 5 for a dual grinder, dual boiler machine for high speed brewing and added functionality; or for a smaller machine you can control with your smartphone, take a look at the intuitive, ultra-convenient J6.
The very first espresso machines worked on a steam-pressure basis, and they’re still in use today. With this type of machine, steam or steam pressure is used to force water through the coffee grounds and produce espresso. Some steam-driven machines can produce a measure of foam “crema.” But they can’t generate enough pressure or provide the precise temperature control necessary to produce true espresso: They simply make a very strong cup of coffee. However, they cost considerably less than pump-driven machines. Our verdict is that if you’re a true espresso lover and seeking to make a good shot at home, we recommend you steer clear of steam-driven machines. They’ll likely disappoint you.
THE CURE: Once weekly reach up inside with a hot, wet towel, and clean the round disk behind the flap that hangs down. If it jams, unplug and let it cool before turning it on - sometimes you may have to do this several times. It just happened this a.m., and I had to wait 1/2 hour between my 3rd and 4th cup :) The first time it happened, tech support walked me through the cleaning on the phone. The last time was more of a problem, and they shipped me a mailing label for a $245 complete rebuild, but I didn't have to use it.
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.
With most super automatic machines, when preparing your favorite drink there is undoubtedly going to be a loss of quality in the process, but that is not the case with the PrimaDonna S Deluxe from DeLonghi. The ECAM26455M uses an integrated frothing system and the milk container in order to immediately deliver to your cup both the right amount of frothed or steamed milk and freshly brewed espresso.
As a home barista, you need to master all the above techniques to get the right espresso. If you make a little mistake you compromise your shot. As a result, you’ll get an average shot. Even if you know what it takes to get your shot right, there is very little room for error. Failed shots are pretty common with beginner baristas. You probably noticed in coffee shops that the shot differs from barista to barista.
These machines and their respective technologies will serve you well, no matter what it is you are looking for. Keep in mind that with all their features and functionality, more expensive machines are almost always going to fall on the side of excessive for casual users. Because of this and their high cost, you may want to pick a few features that stand out to you and forgo the unnecessary frills.
As an anecdote, I once failed one of my shots, it happens to everyone. The biggest problem with that cup was that it had almost no crema. I sipped it anyway, I wanted to see how it was. I was absolutely stunned by the taste of that shot. The unique combination of tamping and grind size made that cup more flavorful. It just didn’t have enough crema. Never judge an espresso by its looks. This is why some people hate Nespresso with a passion, it is very consistent, and it gives you a great shot with ample crema every time, but it is never fantastic. I love “fantastic”, but for the convenience, I settle for good, so Nespresso is one of my favorite coffeemakers. If convenience is what you are looking for mostly, take a look at our article that compares capsule-based espresso machines.
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.