That’s a pity because as auto-frothers go, it’s a very good one. The one thing we’re not so crazy about is the fact that you’ve got to run plastic tubing from your milk source (you have to provide your own, by the way – you do not get one when you purchase the machine) to the frothing arm, which makes your very expensive coffee machine look like a high school science project.
We’re going to start with a rundown of the features of the Impressa F8, so that you know what you’re getting if you choose to buy. A lot of machines offer the same core functions, so we tend to focus on what stands out, so rest assured, if we rate a machine highly (as we do with this one), it’s going to be a good all rounder unless we specifically say otherwise.
Like the Sage Express, Panasonic’s NC-ZA1 is a “bean to cup” espresso machine: it takes whole beans, grinds them and pushes hot water through them at pressure to produce a cup of coffee. That’s pretty much where the similarities end, however, because unlike the old-school Express, the NC-ZA1 makes almost the entire process automated – and controllable via touchscreen.
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.
If you’re a froth fan, you won’t be disappointed – Jura machines tend to be very good frothers (if that’s a word) and manage to top off drinks to the same standard as you’ll usually find in the high street coffee shops. It’s certainly an impressive result, even if we found it was a novelty the wore off rather quickly. We’re not the biggest advocates of milk foaming though, so you might be more excited that we are!
The Aroma G3 grinder uses conical steel burrs and six degrees of fineness to grind quickly, thanks to the perfected cutting angles that produce 60% less residual grounds. The result is a quieter grinder that preserves more of the flavor and aroma of the freshly ground beans while operating twice as fast. An integrated bypass doser allows for pre-ground coffee brewing.
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.