When prompted by the machine that it’s time to clean, find the “clean” option under the various cleaning programs and be prepared to follow the instructions it gives you. This is usually as quick as emptying the grounds tray and pressing the rotary dial one more time. Please a cup or jug under the spout to capture the cleaning waste that will be dispelled from the machine. You will hear the machine perform an initial rinse, and then prompt you to add the cleaning tablet which will be inserted into the pre-ground coffee compartment. After another push of the rotary button, the machine will go through an approximately 20 minute cycle so you’ll want to do it when you have a bit of time.
Best of all, thanks to a thermal coffee pot, if you don't polish off the whole pot right away, it will still stay piping hot hours after it was brewed. For $130, the MT600 from Capresso offers all these abilities plus is wrapped up into a snazzy brushed-metal-and-black-plastic frame. Sure, the MT600 won't deliver a truly sublime cup of drip-brewed coffee. For that there's no getting around splurging at least $200 and up for a more capable machine.
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.
The ENA Micro 5 is the next level of technology in the ENA Micro line. It is also one of the smallest machines on the list, fairly priced, and incorporates more functionality into the machine than the ENA Micro 1. This includes the option to brew two cups of espresso at the same time, with a dual and height-adjustable spout, as well as Aroma+ technology to keep your coffee beans fresh.
Strength and temperature selection for a precise cup – The unit has four selections for the strength of coffee you want and lets you control the brew temperature for different drinks. This is a great way to customize a cup of coffee for guests and family. Instead of a pot evaporating away on the heater all day, just dial in the strength desired and 60 seconds later, you have your perfect cup of coffee.
This is a high-end coffee machine that has a price tag of around $5,000. You can choose from over 20 various types of coffee drinks with this professional unit, which can serve you faster than a Starbucks barista. It can do almost everything you can expect from a sophisticated coffee machine. If you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur, you owe it to yourself to upgrade to the Jura Giga 5 Coffee Maker.
Six years and 7540 shots of espresso. The only downside of this machine is that it is too easy to use so that you end up drinking more cups than you might otherwise. It's very fast to heat up, both for the main heating block, as well as for steam. The steamer wand takes some practice to get good, tight foam, but once you figure out the technique it's not difficult. The openings in the wand can clog up if you don't wipe it down right after use. I also give a short blast of steam right after that as well. After about five years we bundled it up and sent it in to the factory for cleaning and reconditioning. It came back as good as new and it's still going strong. About the only real negative aspect to the machine is that it tends to be a bit noisy, but probably no more so than someone using a fully manual pull machine and grinder.
There are many ways to make a single coffee drink and preferences will naturally vary. With the Jura coffee machine, there are tons of opportunities to customize the details and fine-tune your daily coffee experience. If there is something you don’t like or want prepared differently, you can reprogram the ratios for certain beverages to match your personal tastes. For example, if you like you macchiato with slightly less milk (I know I do), you can adjust the ratio so there is a bit more coffee than the factory setting serves. If you like your coffee extra hot, that setting can be adjusted globally on the Jura as well. Don’t worry though, anything you customize can be reversed for a one off coffee drink in case you want to make something for a guest and they don’t necessarily share you tastes in coffee. We love that Jura understands everyone has slightly difference tastes and makes adjusting the settings of the machine easy to do.
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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.
The machine is very nice looking in person, very sleek. The instruction manual is pretty sparse on details. It has enough, but it's a little intimidating for a first time user. I took my time and found out that the programming is very user friendly and easy to use. I have ours on our counter with a cabinet overhead. When I fill water reservoir I do pull the machine a bit forward because the reservoir is deep and you have to lift it straight up. It's easy to do but you need a bit of clearance. The bean hopper is in the back, so I pull the machine forward a bit to fill that, as well. Very easy to do. One thing I wanted in the J9 was the option to use a water filter. I have hard water from our tap, and had been filling our DeLonghi from our filtered refrigerator dispenser, but that was cumbersome. With the Jura filter I can fill the deep reservoir right in the little bar sink I have next to the machine. I tested the water before and after, and the Jura filter definitely works to reduce hardness, which is important in keeping the machine free from mineral scale buildup. I think it will be well worth the expense of replacing the filters. It came with one filter and a couple of descaling tabs, which I have not had to use yet.
What sets the Jura line of coffee machines apart for other similar coffee systems is that it does literally everything you need to do with the touch of a button. When preparing the machine, you simply load it with coffee and water, and if it’s your preference, milk or cream. We were originally concerned about cleaning dairy products out of the Jura as this can be a pain point with other systems. You don’t want dairy leftover in any part of the machine as it turns quickly and can easily ruin upcoming batches of coffee. But with the Jura, you load the milk into an easy to remove and clean stainless steel canister making the clean up super simple.
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.
The Gaggia Brera is a great budget super automatic espresso machine that not only has a small form factor, but it’s also very well designed and looks great on any kitchen countertop. When thinking about it, the first thing that comes to the mind of those that already use it is convenience. For example, 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.
It’s affordable (£70 at Argos at the time of writing; Dolce Gusto pods are priced at around £4 for a box of 16) and incredibly simple to set up and use. Simply fill the removable water tank with cold H2O, pop your chosen coffee pod into a slide-out drawer at the front, stick a cup under the spout and hit the power button. When it turns from red to green (a mere few seconds) the machine is ready. You then push the water lever either left (for cold drinks) or right (for hot drinks) until the desired amount of your drink is in the cup. Then slide out the drawer, expel the pod and throw it away.