I had avoided automatics for a while simply because pulling a shot seemed like such a romantic notion. Hah! Switching to a schedule that kicks off at 5:45 AM makes anything 'automatic' look a whole lot sexier. I am setting aside $$$ so that when this one finally fails (and that should be a while - this machine demonstrates superior engineering), I can dart right to the store and buy another.
My wife LOVES coffee...I like coffee...she works ..I work...we have three kids...I would try to stay in bed longer than her to keep from having to make the coffee in the morning.. For Christmas I bought an Impressa F7 ..I was only prepared to spend about $1000 on a coffee machine at Williams-Sonoma...but the machine I could get for that really lacked some basic features...there were more expensive machines...but the F7 seemed to have most of what I wanted ...I got up Christmas morning to set up the machine, which was relatively easy...(although after 7 or 8 cups of "tweeking" the machine, my heart was pounding up in my throat and when the kids came down to see what Santa had left them I sent them back upstairs for making too much noise)...The coffee was REALLY good...it took a while to learn how to adjust the machine to get what we each liked, but now we love the machine...although there are occassional issues such as a luke warm cup now and then and the frother is marginal...it has made our life in the morning a very pleasant experience...it really doesn't require much upkeep ....wouldn't give it up now...
You also get Jura’s classic Aroma+ built-in grinder (from the Impressa F7), giving you the quietest, fastest grind in all of home machines, thanks to the grind chamber’s uniquely placed angle. When the grounds are ready to hit the thermoblock, it goes through a 15 BAR high-performance pump first, which is why you can make everything from ristretto to caffe creama. Plus, choose between 5 and 16 grams while adjusting your coffee strength and temperature through pre-programming or real-time programming for all of your different moods.
If I could say anything that would help you make a decision it is this: this is a stylish sexy machine that brews the perfect cup of coffee every single time! Cleaning is simple! The machine is QUIET! I would not trade this for a brand new installed Miele, well maybe if they swapped me even I would, but I've had many cups out of their machines and in all honesty the Jura is better! Don't be afraid of the refurbished machines! Buy this machine and enjoy it as much as my wife and I have ours! I hope this helped someone make a decision! If you are anything like my wife and I, the coffee machine is much more than an appliance! It's is a member of the family and in this family we take our coffee very seriously! We love each other and we love our Jura!!!
“I Love the convenience of having an automatic Cappuccino machine; it's easy to use and work around if you're used to electronic machines. I like the fact it cleans itself but what the manual and reviews don’t tell you - ALWAYS HAVE A CUP UNDER IT as it rinses a lot and sometimes it does it automatically. So Far So good hope it lasts for years and years.” - Duha, Amazon Customer
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 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.
THE CURE: Once weekly reach up inside with a hot, wet towel, and clean the round disk behind the flap that hangs down. If it jams, unplug and let it cool before turning it on - sometimes you may have to do this several times. It just happened this a.m., and I had to wait 1/2 hour between my 3rd and 4th cup :) The first time it happened, tech support walked me through the cleaning on the phone. The last time was more of a problem, and they shipped me a mailing label for a $245 complete rebuild, but I didn't have to use it.
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.
I also hate my Jura-Capresso coffee machines. Not only do they cost a wad of money, the insides cannot be end-user cleaned or serviced. The O rings in the brew mechanism go out after a few years and bring everything to a noisy grinding halt. Plus, the machine makes almost-hot enough coffee... 15 seconds in the microwave and it's hot, but sometimes makes the coffee bitter. I deduct one star for these gripes and now we're at three stars.
The Impressa’s control panel is based around a central colour display that’s used to guide you though the process, which helps to turn a maze of functions into an intuitive set of menus (or a carousel as Jura call it). The control of the menus is achieved by a ‘rotary switch’ located on top of the machine at the front, neatly sandwiched between the power and program buttons. The buttons either side of the screen vary in purpose, depending what’s on the screen at the time. in general though, the screen splits into four zones, with each button used to select the corresponding zone.