With the look of a shrink-rayed professional espresso machine, the grinning fizzog of shaven-headed culinary chemist Heston Blumenthal on the box and a price tag that puts it out of reach of all but the most well-heeled caffeine fiend, the Barista Express (branded as Breville in the US and Sage in the UK) is clearly aimed at those seeking a major step up in their home-brewed coffee.
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.
Although it may seem somewhat inconvenient, we like it because it makes it easier to clean the milk container. Other features that come with the ENA 9 include a sturdy conical burr grinder, an energy saver mode to keep your electricity bills under control, and customizable coffee strengths. Also, you can adjust the amount of water that comes out, both in your coffee or if you want to use the machine as a hot water dispenser.
Although the low RPM motor is a fantastic feature of this Capresso grinder, it may struggle with darker, oilier beans on the finest grind settings. The mechanical timer is also not as precise as one would wish, as the machine begins grinding the moment you turn the dial. As a result, grind quantities are fairly inconsistent. Another notable disadvantage is the fact that the 565’s bean hopper is not entirely airtight, making it unsuitable for storing coffee beans for more than a few days at a time. Finally, due to the design of its grind chute and a recurring problem with static cling, this grinder can get fairly messy.
And that’s it. There’s very little in the way of cleaning or maintenance to be done, bar an occasional emptying of the drip tray, an occasional rinsing of the removable pod holder and, of course, the refilling of the water tank. The tank isn’t huge (0.8l), so you’ll need to do the latter fairly frequently. The drip tray, for its part, is adjustable – you can place it at one of three heights to suit the size of drinking vessel and reduce the chance of spillage.
My first Jura was the F7. I bought it off of Ebay(new) and couldn't have been happier. I was so thrilled with it, that I bought another (F9) and gave my mom the F7 because it was such an awesome machine. It is really remarkable how the machine works. It took me a good 15+ cups to figure out how to make the coffee the way I like it. There are so many options on this machine that effect the taste: Grind, water temp, quantity of beans, quantity of water, etc.... In reference to the service I am amazed. When I received my new F9, I immediately had problems with a couple of the buttons. I called the service center and was on hold for 6-8 minutes. After about a 2 minute conversation with the representative they said that she would just send out a new machine and when I get it to send my old machine back in the box. They paid all postage. No credit card, nothing. I've never heard of such a service before. Absolutely Excellent. I couldn't be happier. It is a great machine that makes very good coffee and looks really nice on the kitchen counter. I love my Jura! As a matter of fact, I believe I am going to go and make myself a decaf latte right down.
While we can sing the praises of the E6 all day, the fact is that there is a bit of a learning curve with it. The instruction manual can be a little confusing to some people, and setting up your cleaning system can take a while. Also, plan on spending more time with maintenance than you would with other coffee makers. In the end, it ensures that your machine is always ready to go, but it can be a bit of a time investment.
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!