The ENO Micro is one of the latest offerings from Jura that signals their move toward more compact units that consume less real estate in the kitchen. In fact, this particular unit is actually shorter than the older compact ENA line by a few inches. We love its small size and low profile, and find that its unassuming presence adds to the impact when the coffee start being made. Some users actually prefer the larger Jura units, but we prefer the Micro 9’s size and simplicity. The Jura ENA Micro 9 is the world’s smallest one-touch cappuccino maker but that certainly does not mean that they skimped on features or design elements.
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.
Yep, the Barista Express isn’t just an elegant, well-built espresso machine – it also features a built-in grinder, allowing you to make coffee with beans you’ve smashed into dust literally seconds earlier. Freshness means a lot in the coffee world, so this is a Big Deal – as is the low-pressure pre-infusion of the grounds before the water is forced through them at higher 50 bar pressure.
The new Gaggia Brera is a very impressive super automatic espresso machine that has a small form factor, making it perfect for use on small kitchen countertops. Not only that, but it seems that the company has focused, among other things, to ensure that the Brera fully maximizes user convenience. For instance, the water tank, drop tray and the dregs drawer are all within reach and can be easily accessed from the machine for simple, swift maintenance and regular cleaning. With this model, beverage selection and machine programming has been greatly simplified, allowing users to easily navigate through the options which are certainly more than you’d expect from such a small machine.
In addition, the Capresso website offers plenty of data for using this espresso machine. Among other things, it provides a downloadable user manual along with PDF files containing a variety of delicious hot milk frothing recipes so you can prepare such things as different types of teas, soothing milk drinks and several different types of hot chocolate drinks.
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.
Semi-automatic espresso machines are just that—semi-automatic. Some of the steps are automated, but many are not. This allows the user to put their personal stamp on the final product but without doing some of the tedious steps that are involved in making an espresso on the stove top. Here’s a look at some of the features that make a semi-automatic espresso machine such a great pickup for the ultimate espresso lover:
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.
3) This machine is crazy smart. It knows exactly when to clean itself, or tells you when to start the cleaning cycle. To clean it, all you do is insert a tablet in the coffee powder drawer and it does its thing. It knows when it needs water, when the filter needs to be changed, etc. In fact, since we have a water filter built into our refrigerator, we just use that filtered water in the coffee machine and therefore we don't need to use the expensive water filters. Bottom line, if you just pay attention and clean the machine on a regular basis when it tells you to, this is a no-brainer machine.