The other point that we wanted to highlight isn’t necessarily a negative per se, but just the fact that it’s a lot to spend, and let’s face it – it is! There’s a lot of machines available in the sub £500 range, and we’d never advocate or encourage spending more than you can afford. Having said that, you do get what you pay for, and in this case we believe it’s exceptional quality. If you really love coffee, it’s probably worth paying as much as you’re comfortable with to get a great machine, and that’s exactly what you’re getting here.
Jura were new for our 2017 updates on the site, and we fully expect them to feature highly in our top ten table for 2018, alongside the likes of the Melitta Caffeo Barista TS. With our early reviews, we put the majority of effort into the big names and big sellers, like the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM4200 that’s always near the top of the bestseller list on Amazon. Now that we’ve fairly comprehensively covered those, our attention is shifting towards the premium models that may not sell as many, but will really attract people that know their coffee, and Jura fit that description perfectly.
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!
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.
The machine is very nice looking in person, very sleek. The instruction manual is pretty sparse on details. It has enough, but it's a little intimidating for a first time user. I took my time and found out that the programming is very user friendly and easy to use. I have ours on our counter with a cabinet overhead. When I fill water reservoir I do pull the machine a bit forward because the reservoir is deep and you have to lift it straight up. It's easy to do but you need a bit of clearance. The bean hopper is in the back, so I pull the machine forward a bit to fill that, as well. Very easy to do. One thing I wanted in the J9 was the option to use a water filter. I have hard water from our tap, and had been filling our DeLonghi from our filtered refrigerator dispenser, but that was cumbersome. With the Jura filter I can fill the deep reservoir right in the little bar sink I have next to the machine. I tested the water before and after, and the Jura filter definitely works to reduce hardness, which is important in keeping the machine free from mineral scale buildup. I think it will be well worth the expense of replacing the filters. It came with one filter and a couple of descaling tabs, which I have not had to use yet.