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.
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.
Jura Capresso was born in 1994 as a company that aimed to deliver high-end European style coffeemakers to the American market. Eight years later, it entered into a joint venture agreement with Jura AG, a Swiss developer and distributor of automatic coffee centers that is present in more than 50 countries. By 2008, Jura AG had become the sole owner of all Jura Capresso operations.
Just by the water canister (which holds just under two litres), there’s a replaceable water filter that cleans the water as the machine begins each cycle. Depending where you live, this may carry a different weight of importance, but if you’re in an area where water has a strong taste, this may well be a big plus towards buying the Jura Impressa F8 over other machines. Water is such a big part of making coffee, it will go a long way towards giving consistent results day after day!
Edit - 01/15/2015: Eight and a half years later, this gem is still cranking out great coffee. I had it serviced by the wonderful folks at CoffeeBoss in Cornelius, NC last year, and it's still going strong with a cup count of 9,922. The brew group is not user serviceable, so occasional maintenance should be expected. I use distilled water (at the cost of flavor, I know) now that I'm back in the city on municipal water, so I don't need or use the Clearyl filter (I recommend it for tap/well water, though), and I do use a cleaning tablet within 5-10 cups of when it starts asking for it on the LED display.
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.
There is a learning curve and one has to get the coffee to water ratio correct for one's preferences...changing it for other drinkers. But it is truly automatic, which is nice for serving more than one person quickly, brews quickly and makes very good coffee. Jura took this machine and rewired it per the wiring recall on this model, returned it, all at no cost to me.
If you savor every drop of your morning cup, then you want a machine that can brew to your exacting standards. Although there are a few different high-end coffee maker brands out there, none of them come close to Jura. This company makes some of the best machines on the market. Yes, they are a bit pricey, but the fact is that it’s like having your own personal barista in your kitchen.
A “proper” machine that can deliver both single and double shot espressos, its spout has a dual opening allowing you to make two coffees simultaneously. There’s also a steam wand for foaming milk, and the water tank has a decent 1.2l capacity, meaning you won’t need to refill it after making three cups o’ joe. In addition to ground coffee, it’ll also accept E.S.E. coffee pods (we weren’t able to test these, but as they’re made in almost precisely the same way as regular espressos, we imagine they’ll work just fine).
An espresso machine is a machine designed to brew coffee by forcing boiling water through fine coffee powder. An espresso coffee is usually taken with rich, creamy foam. Very often the espresso coffee is the base for many different types of coffee such as macchiato, café latte, café Americano, etc. Compared to all the different kinds of coffee, the espresso coffee has more caffeine as it is served in small quantities.
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.
The other thing to keep in mind is that the milk frother can be a little finicky. We discussed the fact that most frothers don’t (or can’t) heat the milk to the same level as the coffee, and this machine is no different. Also, cleaning the spout can be a little tricky. Overall, when buying the E6, just plan on spending some time to get to know it. Once you’ve mastered all of the little things, it will become second nature.
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.
Jura does not make any budget-friendly machines, so you should come in expecting to make an investment. Prices range from $800 for a single cup machine, to above $5,000 for Jura’s top of the line model. You can always search for refurbished models, and Jura occasionally offers factory serviced machines that function like new, but have been returned to the company for unspecified reasons.
It would have been nice to see this espresso machine come with a removable water tank for easier filling. However, using the small carafe should not be a problem. The Capresso 303 will allow you to indulge in the rich taste of espresso without having to regularly spend exorbitant amounts of money. With a personal cappuccino maker, you will no longer have to find time and spend energy to drive to the local coffee house to get your morning espresso.
You can also make milky or foamed coffees, thanks to a tube that can be placed in a milk jug (or Panasonic’s own optional “Milktank” accessory). Or just have the machine squirt out hot water for tea-making. You can also tweak the amount of coffee, water and milk, and the temperature before a drink is made, and save up to four of these combinations on the machine as personal favourites.
Flipping open the tank lid reveals a plastic wand that houses a charcoal water filter pod (one is provided in the box). The filter setup sits within a special receptacle on the tank's interior left side. According to Capresso, the gadget will remove up to 82 percent of "the chlorine and other impurities found in tap water, and will do so for about six weeks, assuming you make one pot (10 cups) daily. It's a nice option to have, especially if you live in an area with substandard water, although remembering to swap in a new filter can be a drag.
Setup is way easier than the manual would have you believe - the pathetic printed booklet is by far the weakest link in this coffee production line. Fitting the water filter and the Smart Connect dongle is not explained well at all. You’ll find answers to most of your questions online - but probably not on JURA’s website. Unofficial YouTube videos proved much more useful.
Super Automatic Espresso Machines are remarkable devices that provide the pinnacle of espresso machine automation. They literally do almost everything for you but drink your espresso. A super automatic espresso machine typically will grind your coffee beans, properly measure them and the water to be used, froth milk for you, and dispense a perfect beverage for you with the touch of a button. Further, they will remember your favorite recipes and customization.
And that’s it. There’s very little in the way of cleaning or maintenance to be done, bar an occasional emptying of the drip tray, an occasional rinsing of the removable pod holder and, of course, the refilling of the water tank. The tank isn’t huge (0.8l), so you’ll need to do the latter fairly frequently. The drip tray, for its part, is adjustable – you can place it at one of three heights to suit the size of drinking vessel and reduce the chance of spillage.
This super-automatic Jura Capresso ENA 5 coffee machine does produce a tasty cup of coffee, no doubt about it. But we are concerned about its ability to hold up under pressure (literally, with flying milk nozzles!). For the kind of cash that this machine requires, most customers would likely be happier with another Jura model (the S9, perhaps) or another brand of super-automatic coffee machine.