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.
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.
I’m Geoff. I love coffee, and have tried a bunch of different coffee making techniques and gadgets over the years – everything from fancy La Marzocco’s, to industrial Bunn’s, to Aeropress, and even (gag) instant. While bean selection and the actual making of coffee tends to get a lot of attention, the grinding of the beans is often overlooked (or bypassed). Scroll back up and find the right grinder for you.
The very first espresso machines worked on a steam-pressure basis, and they’re still in use today. With this type of machine, steam or steam pressure is used to force water through the coffee grounds and produce espresso. Some steam-driven machines can produce a measure of foam “crema.” But they can’t generate enough pressure or provide the precise temperature control necessary to produce true espresso: They simply make a very strong cup of coffee. However, they cost considerably less than pump-driven machines. Our verdict is that if you’re a true espresso lover and seeking to make a good shot at home, we recommend you steer clear of steam-driven machines. They’ll likely disappoint you.
I only have one minor quibble with this machine; if you like cappuccino, it produces foam that is weak and deflates easily. I have troubleshot this problem from every possible angle (tried different percent milkfat, different milks(soy), different milk temps etc.) and the results were still a little disappointing. I purchased the Milk Frothing accessory designed for this unit and still could not produce the more velvety foam I was seeking. The easiest fix for this is to buy an Aerolatte: steam your milk with the F9 (the steam function works great) and then whip till your hearts content with the Aerolatte. For an extra $15 bucks spent on the Aerolatte, you'll have the perfect cup of cappuccino to rival any cafe.
Using the machine the first time was fun - it has lights that shine down on the cup for a very cool look. It is much quieter than our DeLonghi, and very fast to heat up and grind, brew, and dispense the coffee. The crema is very nice, and the coffee tastes great. The drip tray is easy to pull out to the front, and easy to rinse and throw away the grinds. The machine is plastic, which is ok, but the tray where the cup rests is polished silver metal, and has a nice heaviness to it. The J9.3 comes with a Jura milk container and tubes. We don't do a lot of milk drinks, so I didn't mind that you have to do just a bit extra to fill up the container and attach the hose. You could just put a hose into a cup of milk; you don't have to use the Jura container. It made a very nice latte, great foam. It was actually easy to clean and rinse, but you do have to take the time to be there with two cups - one with rinse water and another to catch the dirty water, then repeat. If you don't mind taking a couple extra steps and minutes, then it's easy. The J9.3 came with the Jura milk container.
Now that great espresso shots aren't hard to find, this machine is more about convenience and reliability than knock-your-socks-off espresso. But it does make great coffee - better than any Mr. Coffee or even Keurig. I keep Dark Roast Guatemalan Viennese in the bean hopper, pull two one-ounce shots, lengthen them with hot water, and I'm drinking awesome coffee before my neighbor has finished peeling the foil on his can of Maxwell House. And since I'm just buying good old whole beans, it's much cheaper to use than a Keurig.
To that end, the MT600 will attempt to keep track of when you last dropped in a fresh charcoal pack. Just press the "filter" button on the control panel, and after six weeks an associated green light will begin blinking. If you unplug the machine, however, all bets are off, as the clock and internal filter replacement timer lose track when power is lost.
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.
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.