Price (RRP): $2099
GadgetGuy survives on coffee, not just good, strong, black Espresso but milky flat whites, Macchiato and Latte lovers as well. The Jura E8 2019 got the thumbs up for ‘bitching’ coffee.
If you have around $2K to spend, then the Jura E8 2019 is the machine to beat. And it is our pleasure to tell you why! Note that the older E8 is still on sale, but it is absolutely worth the extra dollars to get the 2019 features (comparison here).
We recently reviewed the Jura ENA 8, and it scored 3.5-out-of-5. To be fair, this is an excellent home machine packed with Jura smarts and quality build, but it left us a little wanting. At $1,899 compared to the Jura E8 2019 at $2,099 (and the $2,650 Jura S8 – 4.4-out-of-5 and reviewed last year here) our review team simply could not give it the tick.
It is amazing how (in comparison to the stylish ENA 8) having 15 (10) coffee programs including hot milk (not just milk foam) and more granular control of the grind and strength made appreciably better coffee.
Now to be fair to the ENA 8, most users will be happy with Espresso and Cappuccino, and it does those very well. But in an office environment, you need many more programs.
Jura E8 2019 Piano Black
The E8 is Jura’s ultimate best seller in terms of price and features. It can automatically make almost all coffee types and is fast enough to satisfy a big Italian family or a coffee-addicted office.
On that point Jura’s 2019 Australian coffee study reveals
- 28% consume 3+ cups at home per day (33/24% male/female)
- 65% have a coffee machine at home (48/20% pod/automatic coffee)
- Jura machine owners are likely to drink more coffee at home
- 17% spend >$20 per work week on buying coffee (50/50% male/female)
- Jura home machine owners buy more coffee when outside home – to feed the fix
GadgetGuy has tested dozens of coffee machines, and one thing is true – pods/evil, real coffee beans/good.
It is as simple as lifting it out of the box, adding beans, water and milk and selecting the coffee type. You can visit the website for instructional videos.
It has a segment of water testing – that is simple with a disposable paper Aquadur strip (supplied). If your water supply is ‘wrong’, e.g. too hard, chlorine, calcium, sodium, dissolved solids or pH value, it will make the coffee taste ‘off’.
The perceived acidity of coffee corresponds to the amount of acid extracted from the coffee bean, minus the amount of alkalinity from the water. If you get the water right, it makes the bean’s job easier.
Fortunately, in most Australian capital cities, the water quality is fine. But you may need a water filter or acid/alkalinity tablets (the unit can use CLARIS Smart disposable filters and tablets) or some form of water pre-treatment to get good coffee – don’t blame the machine.
For the techie types, there is new research from the Coffee Science Education Centre and the University of New South Wales on how to engineer Sydney water to get the most out of a cup of coffee here.
Coffee beans are next.
A cheap bean makes a poor cup of coffee. It is rare to find the best bean at a supermarket where the price per kg is the focus. Decent coffee beans start at $40 per kg, and you may easily spend much more to get just what you like. If your family drinks a mix of black and milk coffees, then you need to find an acceptable compromise.
Jura has Impressa – a ‘medium’ blend of 70% Arabica and 30% Robusta beans from Mexico, Brazil and Uganda, and it is a good start at $47.60 per kg.
Or do the rounds of your favourite baristas and ask what coffee beans they use. If you like it buy some and experiment but go for one that all the users – black or white – will love. Or use the two-scoop bypass if you need a stronger bean.
Remember that 1kg of beans can make between 65 and 200 cups of coffee depending on the strength (from 5-16g per cup). In dollar terms, $50 per kg means from 25-80 cents a cup (plus milk).
Why are beans best?
Pods are pathetic – yes, really. Inside that aluminium and plastic pod is 5-7g of something. That is coffee, caffeine, carbs, fat, sodium, flavourings, and ‘extenders’. Generic pods cost from 33-70 cents each, so that is from $66 to a massive $140 per kg. No wonder Nespresso can afford George Clooney’s fees.
Pods have one advantage – you can buy a variety to suit different coffee drinkers including faux coffee drinkers that want a flavoured hazelnut, Cream Brulee, etc.
Most important – is the coffee as good as a bought one?
Out-of-the-box the Jura E8 2019 produces a rich, satisfying Espresso at approx. 90°. It also produces a proper milk/foam/coffee balance for a flat white or Cappuccino. It can make:
|Ristretto||2 x Ristretto||Espresso||2 x Espresso|
|Espresso doppio||Macchiato||Coffee||2 x Coffee|
|Special coffee||Cappuccino||Latte macchiato||Flat white|
|Portion of milk||Hot water||Hot water for green tea|
Also, you can vary coffee strength (8 levels), water levels (for cup size), and delivery temperatures (two levels). You cannot change the milk temperature.
Warm-up time is quick although we left it on all day. Recovery time between cups is fast – 10-20 seconds.
We played with all settings and frankly, our advice is to leave them alone. This is important and reflects Jura’s enormous coffee expertise and the accuracy of the 15 programs and pre-sets.
The display is intuitive – all staff could able to make a coffee without training.
Green tea and decaf coffee
There is a setting for hot water (great for hot chocolate – just add hot milk) and hot water for Green tea (reduces temperature to 80°).
There is a two-scoop ‘doser’ bypass chute for ground or decaf coffee.
At home, the standard glass .5L milk canister and plastic tube is fine for a couple of cups. The glass canister can then be refilled and stored in the fridge.
After using it for a while and we began to see milk coffee drinkers ‘drift’ away, and we suspect that if we had tested the 1.1L Cool Control Wireless Milk Cooler (about $250) that would have stopped the defection.
You see, most milk coffee is between 180-340ml (less 90ml coffee) and quickly exhausts the glass canister capacity. Official cup capacity (if you can call them that and they don’t need to be filled) are Espresso/single shot (100ml), small (280ml), medium/regular/double shot (400ml) and large/triple shot (500ml). These roughly equate to 8, 12, and 16-ounce standard cups.
But a second issue emerged. Flat white coffee drinkers wanted it hotter than the 45-50° milk portion it produces. It seems that most baristas aim for 55-65°. We found the comment usually from the first milk coffee drinker (the second cup is a little hotter) and if the cup is cold to touch (and it is in August) – so, warm the cup.
Now here is the real issue – the E8 2019 can provide both heated milk as a portion and frothed milk – something the ENA 8 could not (it allowed milk to settle out of the foam). But if you want hotter milk (adjustable), then there are two options.
First, make an Espresso on the highest temperature and then sparingly add heated milk from the milk dispenser. Second, buy the Z6 at $2,990 with an integrated milk system and ten programmable temperature levels.
The casing is piano black ABS – it is a fingerprint magnet. There are some faux metal parts. It looks well-made and 28.0 x 34.6 x 44.4 cm x 9.8kg is quite stable and robust.
The water tank holds 1.9L (the ENA 8 is half that) and the coffee bean container 280g (to keep beans fresh).
It uses a single aluminium Thermo block boiler, and that means one brew at a time. More expensive units have two boilers for almost continuous use and of course, milk temperature streamer control.
We love the 15-bar PEP (Pulse Extraction Process) that applies pulsing pressure through the coffee grinds. It makes Espresso especially good or as one staff member said “Bitching good coffee”.
Power-wise it consumes 1450W in use (it defaults to stay on to keep the thermo block quick delivery boiler ready). In use that is 75 cents an hour at peak rates. You can set it to switch off automatically if not used for 15 or 30 minutes or in increments from 1-9 hours.
The harder the water and the more calcium in it means the more frequently you need to descale and run the automatic cleaning programs. When you test the water hardness, the result determines the program time between descaling. Most maintenance messages are time-related. Rinsing means using the machines hot water and cleaning means using a cleaning tablet to clean and sanitise.
- Rinse the machine
- Rinse the fine foam frother
- Clean the fine foam frother
- Change the water filter
- Clean the machine (or change the coffee grounds container)
- Descaling the machine (a CLARIS Smart filter negates that need)
Over a four week use, we did not find the cleaning regimen onerous, but we learnt the hard way that the milk system needs proper cleaning and correct temperature storage.
GadgetGuy’s take – Jura E8 2019 is as good as a bought one although it makes us want even more
We realise now that the ENA 8 2019, while suitable for most as a home or small office system has its limits. That is more of a revelation to us as we explore more coffee machines.
And we thought the S8 is pretty good (and it incrementally is), but if you are a dedicated milk coffee drinker, you are going to need to look at the Z-series from $2,990 to $4,490 for programmable milk/foam temperatures.
We think it is a perfect home system for casual coffee drinkers who don’t pretend to be coffee snobs.