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.
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.
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.
Everything about the Gira 5 is perfectly designed and engineered to produce incredible coffee drinks at twice the pace of other units. If we had a need for this much coffee this is the model we would buy, but our current consumption simply doesn’t warrant it. The Giga 5 is very popular in office settings but we also know families who entertain that have it in their home.
One downside of the C65 is that it isn’t self-cleaning. If you don’t mind taking it apart and rinsing everything out manually, then that shouldn’t be an issue. However, as James mentioned, sometimes the bean holder will think that it’s empty when there are still grounds inside. Overall, it is a minor inconvenience, but it can be frustrating when you’re running late in the morning, and you get a smaller cup as a result.
Turn, press, enjoy – that’s how easy it is to enter the world of IMPRESSA C65 With the one-switch operating concept of the Rotary Switch and the 11-language plain text display, it’s easy to create the perfect coffee every time. Thanks to the high-performance conical grinder, the beans are always freshly ground. The simple, compact design with its elegant combination of matte and gloss black gives the IMPRESSA C65 an imposing yet understated look in any surroundings.
Whether you like it regular, or ristretto, or long, or Americano, the espresso needs to be smooth. There is some slight bitterness, but it should be very faint. The taste should remind of caramel. If you don’t have any idea of the taste, just go to a good coffee shop and order one. Go for a few days, and try to explore different baristas, and different times of the day. This will give you a great idea. If you don’t like it, and you know the coffee shop is a good one, give up, this is not for you. Some people just don’t like espresso. My wife, for instance, will only accept one if there is no other coffee around. At the end of the day, you have to like it, and you should make it your own.
As we continue on our journey of Jura Coffee Makers, the Impressa C65 is another “standard” unit. It doesn’t have all of the accouterments of higher-end models, but it still makes an incredible cup of coffee, and it offers the speed and convenience that you would expect from Jura. Overall, we would compare this model to the ENA 9 above, although this one can make two cups at once.
Also, we went through a brief episode in which it would refuse to brew anything (as if it didn't have the power to punch the water through the puck of coffee). I remedied this with a descaling cycle as well as wiping out the parts above the removable tray thoroughly. (I use filtered water in the machine, but the descaling seems to be a more serious cleaning than the normal automatic cleaning.)
The Impressa’s control panel is based around a central colour display that’s used to guide you though the process, which helps to turn a maze of functions into an intuitive set of menus (or a carousel as Jura call it). The control of the menus is achieved by a ‘rotary switch’ located on top of the machine at the front, neatly sandwiched between the power and program buttons. The buttons either side of the screen vary in purpose, depending what’s on the screen at the time. in general though, the screen splits into four zones, with each button used to select the corresponding zone.
We always like to find a negative or two, and this has to be the biggest one by far for the Jura. For us, the temperature is fine, but we do understand that some people like their coffee as near to boiling point as possible without burning the coffee. It’s probably going to be a minority of coffee lovers that find this to be a deal breaker (hint: if that’s you, take a look at Heston’s Dual Boiler), for most of us, we find that it takes the roof of our mouth off!
While it might seem odd to mention, some people do like to use pre ground coffee with a bean to cup machine, at least occasionally. A common reason is to get a cup of decaffeinated coffee from time to time, without needing to empty out the beans from the hopper, make a drink then switch it all back again. Similarly, if you have a brand of pre-ground coffee that you like as a change from your normal freshly ground beans every so often, the Impressa F8 has you covered.
Starting with the brew unit, the first thing to understand is that it’s not removable. From a practical perspective, what that means for you is that about once a week, you’ll need to pop a cleansing tab into the bypass doser to clean the unit. No big deal, but our personal preference is for removable units you can rinse by hand to ensure a thorough cleaning.
With a built-in coffee grinder, the Ena Micro 1 will grind your beans just before brewing, and store your beans in an airtight, aroma-preserving chamber on top of the machine. The variable brewing chamber allows for you to choose the individual preparation and strength of two cups at one time. And the included filter ensures your water is as pure as possible for the best-tasting espresso around.
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.