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.
As an anecdote, I once failed one of my shots, it happens to everyone. The biggest problem with that cup was that it had almost no crema. I sipped it anyway, I wanted to see how it was. I was absolutely stunned by the taste of that shot. The unique combination of tamping and grind size made that cup more flavorful. It just didn’t have enough crema. Never judge an espresso by its looks. This is why some people hate Nespresso with a passion, it is very consistent, and it gives you a great shot with ample crema every time, but it is never fantastic. I love “fantastic”, but for the convenience, I settle for good, so Nespresso is one of my favorite coffeemakers. If convenience is what you are looking for mostly, take a look at our article that compares capsule-based espresso machines.
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 IMPRESSA J9 is probably the most popular model after the newer Micro 9 due to its breadth of features and overall precision when brewing and crafting a litany of specialty coffee drinks. The concept behind the J9 could not be simpler: simply use the rotary dial to select your desired drink, press the button, and sit back and enjoy. This model is absolutely beautiful and looks like it was pulled right out of an Italian café. The matte sheen and silver hard plastic give the J9 and functional sophistication that will definitely impress you.
The Saeco Intelia Cappuccino Deluxe Automatic Espresso Machine in Stainless Steel (HD8771/93) produces super espresso beverages. It has all the features that qualify it as a super automatic espresso machine. The Cappuccino Deluxe features attractive stainless steel Italian. At the touch of a button, it makes six different tasty beverages and includes an integrated milk carafe. It has the same superior features that set other Saeco espresso machines apart from competitors, such as a long-life ceramic grinder (designed to last at least 20,000 cups), a water filter, and the Quick Heat Boiler for near instant espresso. This Saeco Intelia Cappuccino Deluxe Automatic Espresso Machine has a number of cleverly designed easy maintenance features and has top reviews from customers.
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!