So, I'm just going to get this out of the way before we go any further: Coffeeness and the manufacturer Jura have had a bit of a rocky relationship in the past. It all started with my very disappointing experience reviewing the Jura Impressa C60, which honestly, kind of put me off the brand and didn't win me any friends among Jura fans.
So, I’m just going to get this out of the way before we go any further: Coffeeness and the manufacturer Jura have had a bit of a rocky relationship in the past. It all started with my very disappointing experience reviewing the Jura Impressa C60, which honestly, kind of put me off the brand and didn’t win me any friends among Jura fans.
The passive-aggressive stare down from opposite corners of the coffee world wasn’t getting anyone anywhere. After all, Jura is an important manufacturer, and many readers have requested more reviews of the brand’s machines. What’s more, as Coffeeness grew, the slim pickings in reviews of machines starting with a “J” was starting to look a little odd.
So, I’m giving it another go with Jura. To prove I’m fully committed, I’ve reviewed the Jura Z8 and am putting together a full overview of the Swiss brand’s current range of super-automatic espresso machines.
Starting with this review of the Jura E8 coffee maker, even more Jura coffee machine reviews and comparisons are in the pipeline. Next, I’ll put the luxury-class Jura Z6 fully automatic coffee machine through its paces. So, stay tuned!
Turns out that rekindling the relationship with Jura was a very good decision. I can confidently say we’ve kissed and made up. The fact that the E8 is a fantastic machine is a big part of that.
From its looks and range of functions, through noise volumes and convenience, to the quality of the espresso and milk foam, it’s the full package. Priced at $2,100, the Jura E8 is a strong contender at the upper end of the mid-range.
If you’re looking to get a feel for similar machines on the market, head on over to my super-automatic espresso machine guide, where you’ll find lots of reviews and comparisons.
Truly Awesome Espresso and Milk Froth
A smart, successful machine with a cleverly conceived cleaning system.
Easy to use
Good cleaning system
Fixed brew group
Jura Models: Increasing Frills and Bills
To get a sense of where the E8 fits in the lineup of Jura coffee machines, let’s take a quick tour of the dizzying price and technology peaks so characteristic of most things Swiss.
Much like with car manufacturers’ model series (or as Jura calls them, “lines”), the letters at the beginning of the alphabet indicate entry-level to mid-range machines. By the time you hit Z, it’s all very rarefied.
The A1 is Jura’s most basic machine — it can’t even froth milk — and costs $800. It’s roughly comparable to the Gaggia Brera, which throws in a milk system for $620. Of course, there are plenty of reasons (besides the gorgeous design) to prefer the A1.
Now, you know how Jura rolls, so hang on to your wallet, and let’s go.
While the D models didn’t make much of an impression on me, I feel like the E line is where it’s at with Jura. It’s the value-for-money sweet spot, even if these $1,500 to $2,100 machines aren’t in a totally different class to the $1,000 DeLonghi Dinamica.
Despite a lot of similarities with the E8, including an easily navigable LCD display and a whole slew of specialty beverages, the Jura ENA 8 is designed to be ultra compact. That’s why the water tank, for instance, is half the size. It also only has a single spout in contrast to the Jura E8’s two-cup dispensing capabilities.
Tech wizardry takes another step up in the high-resolution touchscreen display and extra programmable options on the Jura S8.
The $4,500 (ouch!) Jura Z8 is the Rolls-Royce of super-automatic espresso machines, and the manufacturer has gone all out on their more-is-more philosophy. The setting-stuffed Jura Z8 comes as standard with Smart Connect technology, so it can be operated via the Jura Operating Experience (J.O.E.) app. On the E8 and S8, this is an optional extra. If you think this is your speed, or you just want to rubberneck, read my Jura Z8 review.
As a kind of Z8 lite, the Z6 shares a lot of its big brother’s features but is quite a bit cheaper. One of the biggest differences is that the Jura Z8 has a dual thermoblock, so it can brew coffee and froth milk simultaneously. With its single thermoblock, the Z6 can only do one thing at a time. Translation: you’ll have to wait a bit longer for your milky drink to arrive.
Colors and Differences Between the 2015 and 2019 Versions of the Jura E8
The blingy Chrome edition of the Jura E8 fully automatic espresso machine costs an extra $100 above the price of the plain Piano Black one. Note that versions in Platinum, Dark Inox and Piano White have 220-volt outlets and are not intended for the U.S. market.
Aside from the colors, you might come across the older 2015 E8, which has the same dimensions as the 2019 model but weighs 21.6 pounds less. The more recent edition benefits from some notable upgrades, including the Aroma G3 grinder that’s twice as fast as its predecessor and more hot water and coffee specialty options.
One immediately visible difference is the newer, more pimped-out milk system or Professional Fine Foam technology. Instead of a dial on the auto-frother, the 2019 edition has a selector switch that not only allows you to adjust the microfoam’s texture but can also easily be toggled for hot milk.
While this review is based on the 2019 version, I’ve tried the older milk system, and the results are awesome. So, don’t let that put you off a great deal on a new or secondhand 2015 machine.
Tech Specs for the Jura E8
As you can see from the key features, the Jura E8 is a highly specced super-automatic espresso machine:
|Type||Super-automatic espresso machine|
|Removable brew group||No|
|Casing||Black plastic/silver stainless steel|
|Milk system||Automatic (cappuccinatore)|
|User profiles||Sort of (12 personalized drink recipes)|
|Water tank||63.6 oz.|
|Minimum spout height||4.4 in|
|Maximum spout height||6.2 in|
|Grinder||Stainless steel conical burr grinder|
|Bean hopper||9.9 oz|
|Two bean hoppers/compartments||No|
|Powder chute for ground coffee||Yes|
|Coffee specialties at the touch of a button||Ristretto, espresso, coffee, cappuccino, |
macchiato, latte macchiato, flat white,
hot water, portion of milk
|Coffee temperature settings||Yes (3 levels)|
|Milk (froth) temperature settings||No|
|Two-cup function||Yes (ristretto, espresso, coffee)|
|Hot water function||Yes|
|Hot milk function||Yes|
|Milk froth portion||Yes|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||13.6 x 11 x 17.5 in|
For more of those facts and figures, you can check out the Jura E8 manual.
Setting Up the Jura E8
When unboxing the Jura E8 coffee machine, the first thing you’ll notice is the high-quality workmanship and the sleek design. Not that you’d expect anything less — this is what Jura does best. Apart from the dregs container, which doesn’t stand stably in the drip tray, it feels like a sturdy, premium-quality machine. On many cheaper super-automatic espresso machines, it’s the water tank’s lid that doesn’t fit snugly, but that’s not an issue here.
Minor niggles aside, it’s hard not to be impressed by a machine that oozes end-to-end quality.
The high-resolution TFT color display not only underscores the elegant design of the Jura E8 coffee machine but also makes it a real pleasure to use. Simply use the two rows of small buttons on either side of the screen to program it. There’s really not much more to add to that, except to say that the operation is a breeze to navigate.
You still occasionally find entry-level, super-automatic espresso machines with monochrome screens that only display text. The Jura E8 is not one of them. Clearly, this is a different class of machine and very much a product of the smartphone age.
Making Espresso With the Jura E8 Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
Super-automatic espresso machine manufacturers love to give every imaginable component a jazzy name. Jura’s Intelligent Water System (I.W.S.) is a case in point. My take is that if these things were designed by engineers, you’d expect them to function more or less intelligently. So, what exactly is Jura trying to tell me when, in fact, the term is conspicuous by its complete absence from the operating instructions?
Unsurprisingly, Jura has also ensured that it’s brewing technology — or Pulse Extraction Process (P.E.P.) — also sounds like hot stuff. It turns out that the fanfare is justified, as the process appears quite unique and effective.
Although P.E.P. works very differently from a portafilter, espresso from the Jura E8 coffee machine is droolworthy.
What happens is that the super-automatic espresso machine forces water through the grounds in several short bursts. You can even hear these pulses during the extraction process. In contrast, the aim on a portafilter is to achieve consistent water pressure and flow rates.
Sorry, Jura, but that makes specifying a maximum pump pressure on the E8 even more pointless than usual. Manufacturers advertise that a machine’s pump is capable of producing up to 15 bars of pressure out of sheer force of habit. Why? Much like with computers or smartphones, lots of people use performance figures as a basis for comparing multiple products.
I get that. The problem is that it’s often a mistake to assume that higher numbers are necessarily better. Those magical 15 bars of pump pressure are a prime example. There’s more to a good espresso than a massive amount of pressure.
One reason I find this P.E.P. so intriguing is that extraction is a core problem when designing super-automatics. All of those super-fine grounds, which are key to espresso, are difficult to work with and pose a serious clogging risk to their automated innards.
Now you know why fully automatic machines produce coarser coffee grounds than what goes into traditional portafilter machines — even when on the finest setting available. A coarser grind generally reduces the shot’s intensity. Except intensity is pretty much the point of an espresso.
All of which spurs manufacturers to try and develop brewing workarounds to get the most out of the extraction despite the coaser grounds. The P.E.P. is one such system. Who knows, maybe in the future, fully automatic espresso will become an art form in its own right, instead of a convenient imitation of the portafilter process.
Imagine what an exciting shakeup in the world of coffee that would be. Just to be clear, I probably wouldn’t say that if the espresso from the Jura E8 hadn’t won me over. I was honestly very taken with it. After my bad experience a couple of years back, it was a very positive surprise.
Not only is the espresso full-bodied with a thick, dark crema, but there are no undesirable bitter notes. What’s more, it’s a full expression of the beans’ aroma. When it comes to espresso, the Jura E8 has definitely earned its place in the super-automatic espresso machine big leagues. That’s a big thumbs-up from me.
Whipping Up Milk Froth With the Jura E8
Appearances can be deceiving, and that’s certainly true of the milk system on the Jura E8. Don’t let that separate milk spout at the front of the machine fool you into thinking that your coffee and microfoam come out of different outlets. While that’s often the case on cheaper super-automatic coffee machines that don’t include a fully automatic milk system, it’s not here. You won’t need to move your cup. Promise.
The milk froth and espresso pour out together — wait for it — from the milk outlet and an additional spout. Only coffee specialities without milk are dispensed as usual from the central outlet. Thanks to the two spouts there, you can also pull two espressos or other milk-free drinks at once. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to make two milky specialities at the same time.
If you’re mad about microfoam, the 2019 model is just your cup of coffee, as a small dial on the milk nozzle allows you to fine-tune the texture of your milk froth. In Jura-speak, it’s called Professional Fine Foam technology, and it certainly oozes barista cred in the looks department. Plus, you can use it to get unfrothed hot milk.
Check out my article on all things microfoam if you’re keen to take a deep dive into the process of frothing milk.
I’m a firm believer that the more flexible a feature’s settings, the better. However, when it comes to the microfoam from the Jura coffee maker, this extra isn’t really necessary. Even without Professional Fine Foam technology, the milk froth from the Jura E8 is A1. The texture is evenly creamy and the temperature spot-on.
Jura — like me — is a stickler for the fine points. When creating a latte macchiato, the E8 dispenses the milk foam and then allows 30 seconds for it to settle. Only then is the espresso added to the cup. I definitely recommend using a glass because a thing of such beauty deserves to be seen from all angles.
All Set? A Guide to the Setting Options on the Jura E8
As far as setting options are concerned, Jura has done itself proud. Of course, I expect more than the bare necessities on a machine with a $2,100 price tag.
You can save most beverage settings or change them each time you make a drink.
With eight preset levels for coffee strength, the Jura E8 fully automatic espresso machine offers finer gradations in this department than the five available on most other super-automatic machines. You can even adjust the water quantity on a sliding scale from 0.5-2.7 ounces.
I approve, especially as most super-automatics have just under an ounce (0.8 oz.) as their lower limit. That’s the norm for an espresso, not the minimum. Depending on your choice of beans, and how they respond to different settings, you can boost the quality by reducing water volume to 0.7 ounces.
For those with mouths of steel, who find that coffee drinks from most super-automatic espresso machines only ever seem lukewarm, the second temperature option will be very welcome. My happy place in terms of beverage temperature is the default setting of “normal.”
Those who like it hotter can bump the temperature up to “high.” There’s nowhere really to go above that because you’d quickly hit the natural ceiling for brewing coffee. Any hotter, and you’re scalding the beans.
The Jura espresso machine not only dispenses hot water for tea but does so at three possible temperature settings. Anyone who enjoys an occasional cup of tea or has guests of that beverage persuasion will appreciate this. On top of the convenience factor, there’s the added advantage that your tea is always made with filtered water. As a result, the tea has a more delicate and aromatic flavor.
Yet another elegant solution is provided for the grind settings. Behind a flap that locks in place, you’ll find a dial. So, there’s no need to open up the bean hopper to adjust grind texture. Just remember that as with all super-automatic espresso machines, you can only change the grind size while the grinder is running.
The good news is that the grinder is pretty quiet, especially considering it has a stainless steel mechanism. All in all, the Jura E8 coffee machine has a pleasant, inoffensive and muted rumble. It’s definitely one of the quieter super-automatic espresso machines.
Cleaning the Jura E8: How to Keep Your Machine Spotless
For me, the fixed brew group in Jura coffee machines is literally my biggest sticking point with the brand. By following a few simple steps, it’s possible to remove the brew group from most super-automatics and then clean it by hand. Since I put a premium on hygiene, that seems a better solution.
After all, coffee granules and a moist environment create a very fertile breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Thus, any residue in a super-automatic espresso machine has an immediate and negative impact on the beverage quality. Left to accumulate in the long term, they can make a machine unusable.
That’s reason enough to keep everything sparkling clean, which is why I always recommend removing the brew group regularly, rinsing it with water and allowing it to dry. However, that’s not an option with a Jura coffee maker because bolts and welds ensure nothing will budge.
That makes buying a Jura coffee machine a trust exercise. When it comes to hygiene, my motto is: trust is good but control is better. Admittedly, Jura wouldn’t have stuck to this approach over the years if it didn’t work.
So, How Does the Self-Cleaning Function on the Jura E8 Work?
There are rinsing and cleaning functions for coffee and espresso as well as the milk system, which needs to be flushed after each use. To do so, you can program the machine to prompt you to initiate the purge or rely on yourself to remember.
The manufacturer recommends cleaning the milk system properly at the end of each day of use. That not only entails following the cleaning container procedure I described together with Jura’s detergent but also unscrewing and disassembling the fine foam frother to wash it by hand.
As soon as the Jura espresso machine is switched on or off, it auto-rinses the coffee system. A deeper clean is due after 80 drinks, but the machine will prompt you to do so. Jura recommends using its branded products in this roughly 20-minute process.
Of course, every brand punts its own products, but since you’re trusting Jura with your machine’s hygiene, I’d say there’s no point in half measures.
Last but not least, there’s the obligatory descaling program. However, according to the manufacturer, you shouldn’t need to run it if you use the Claris filters. Jura is singing from my songbook on this point. I always advise using filtered water because it produces better coffee and protects the machine. That goes doubly if your tap water is hard. Don’t know your water hardness? That’s what the test strip does.
Once again, the machine will let you know when to run the 40-minute program if you need to descale.
Simply dissolve the appropriate descaling tablets in water, pour that water into the tank and start the program. The Jura E8 manual walks you through the process step by step.
It almost goes without saying that you also need to regularly shine up the drip tray and dregs box. When I say regularly, I definitely mean daily. Unfortunately, you can’t pop them in the dishwasher.
Verdict and Final Takeaways on the Jura E8 Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
An asking price of $2,100 is nothing to sniff at, but after really putting the Jura coffee maker through its paces, I don’t think it’s unreasonable. Of course, if you’re on a tight budget, there are other brands with cheaper machines that are decent enough.
Truly Awesome Espresso and Milk Froth
A smart, successful machine with a cleverly conceived cleaning system.
Easy to use
Good cleaning system
Fixed brew group
This machine is in no way overpriced in terms of sheer value for money. It’s stylish looks are matched by espresso and milk froth that surpass what you’d expect from a super-automatic espresso machine. From the quality workmanship, through the great range of settings and cleaning programs, to the cleverly conceived and intuitive operation, the Jura espresso machine checks all the boxes.
I rate this machine very highly, especially as I only had positive experiences with it — it’s hard to find anything wrong with it.
In reviewing this machine, my skepticism about Jura has almost completely evaporated, and I look forward to testing out more models from their line. At the top of the list is the Jura Z6 super-automatic espresso machine. It’s firmly ensconced in the luxury class, and I can’t wait to give it a spin.
My bottom line: If you’re looking for a high-quality super-automatic espresso machine in the upper mid-range and like the sound of the features and settings that the Jura espresso machine offers, I can honestly recommend it without a second thought.