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.
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 Z9 also has a number of advanced features. These include a wireless connection, which can interact with the Jura Cool Control system to warn you when the milk level is low, and integrated cleaning programmes that mean you don't need to manually clean the brewing unit. The milk frother can automatically make creamy milk for cappuccino and lattes.
Combine luxury with functionality when you choose the DeLonghi Gran Dama Avant espresso system. One of the most versatile and customizable systems in home espresso, this system easily crafts specialty coffee drinks with its Single Touch hot milk system. A digital touch screen control panel ensures ease of use, while 5 coffee strength and 4 size settings allow you to fine-tune your drink.
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.
This machine is awesome. Works great. Very easy to use, and VERY easy to maintain. That last part is key. Our previous machine, Capressa, was a pain to keep clean. This is far easier. Had it for about 6 months now and I've no complaints. The cleaning tablets (ordered on Amazon) are a bit pricey, but I have to imagine far less the sending the machine in for repair (which we did on our Capressa machine) Other than the coffee, cleanliness and overall use of the machine, the maintenance aspect is pretty easy. Put a tablet in the grinder and push the button. Done.
The Micro 1 differs from many other Jura machines in that it is only designed to produce perfectly pulled espresso and coffee. This, however, does not mean it lacks features. The ENA Micro 1 comes with a variable brewing chamber, a 15-bar pump, the pre-aroma system, the Aroma Plus built-in grinder, the thermoblock intelligent heating system and an adjustable spout. The Micro 1 is beautiful in its simplicity and makes delicious espresso perfectly. We love the unit for kitchens that are limited in space or as gift for the espresso connoisseur.
02/12/2000 - Purchased Capresso C1000 unit at William-Sonoma for $899. Manually cleaning the internal screen after every few cycles is no big deal. The User’s Manual documentation is a bit over-engineered and could be simplified or reformatted for easier reading and troubleshooting. You do not want to use oily coffee beans as they will stick together and clog the burr grinder. The grinder is also bit noisy, yet produces the perfect cup of pressure-brewed coffee or espresso every time. After using this for a week, I’ve never enjoyed coffee from anyone else including formal restaurants. It was initially pricey but definitely worth every cup.
When looking for a fully automatic espresso machine, you have the choice to go for either a dual heating system or a single heating system machine. For instance, if you go for a dual boiler machine, then when you’re going to start the steam model, you’ll need to wait for about ten seconds until steam is available. With a single element system, the wait time increases by a factor of 5 and it takes about fifty seconds to get steam.
Of course, this is not all and you get a wide range of other impressive functions, such as ceramic valve technology, pre-ground option for decaf, 1-touch cappuccino system, large bean hopper with sensor and adjustable height brew spouts. Therefore, if you’re looking for the ultimate in espresso machines, then you certainly need to consider the Jura XS90 and experience how the perfect espresso shot actually tastes like.
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.