When I finally decided to buy a super-automatic coffee machine, I'd already decided that it would be from Krups or Gaggia. I'd heard good things about both, but when I found out the Orchestro was made by Jura that swung it for me. The Orchestro also looked better (in my opinion) than the plasticky Gaggia's, it had an automatic milk-frothing attachment and as far as I knew, Krups had an excellent reputation (Precision, Perfection, Passion..).
On reflection, when I unboxed the Orchestro and it died within 30 seconds of turning it on, I should have questioned the build quality and customer service more than I did. They insisted their courier pick up the faulty machine, take it to their service centre and inspect it before authorising a replacement which would be sent later that week. A few angry phone calls later and a replacement was given to the courier to hand over for the faulty one. The replacement worked, although it did make a loud humming noise from the power supply. Anyway, I was happy, the machine looked smart and was a dream to get up and running. After setting the coffee strength, temperature and pre-brewing options I was ready for my first coffee. Pressing the large coffee button, I was able to set the required shot size (in ml) and the Orchestro set off noisily grinding and brewing the coffee. A quick shot of hot water from the wand and my americano was ready. This tasted good - although quite weak - but I soon realised you needed two shots to make a decent strong tasting americano in a 8oz cup. My love for the super-auto was born.
Luckily, at the time my favourite coffee was an americano. Making my wife's cappuccino was always a pain as it involved frothing milk, which wasn't the Orchestro's strong point despite the auto-frothing attachment. The attachment fitted onto the stumpy wand and had a tube that connected to this ridiculous container into which you poured the milk. The container was cheap white plastic and had a rounded bottom so it wobbled around rather than sitting flush on a surface. Once the attachment is fitted, you just turn the dial to adjust the amount of froth and press the steam button. You had no real control over the making of the froth or the temperature of it. Unfotunately, due to the stumpy size of the wand there was no other way to make froth. I did buy a steam enhancer attachment for the wand, but it made it wand even shorter and was too big, so it just fell into the jug as soon as the steam was activated.
After a while, a few more of the Orchestro's failings came to light. The coffee strength for one - you set in the menu how strong you want it (from 1 to 16 I think) but I've no idea how this relates to the amount of coffee being ground. You couldn't change it on-the-fly either, so you either make everyone the same strength coffee or go through the menu changing it each time. The coffee temperature wasn't really hot enough either and the temperature setting didn't seem to change anything. The bean container just had a flap for a lid so the beans quickly went stale and although cleaning was simple enough, it involved buying costly Krups cleaning tablets which took months to arrive each time I ordered them from Krups. Looking back, the biggest downside to the Orchestro (and Jura's in general) is you are unable to get to the brewgroup to clean it. This means the coffee begins to taste stale after a few months, even after a cleaning cycle and auto-rinsing. I'd never again buy a coffee machine that didn't have a removable brewgroup like the Gaggia's and Saecos.
On a positive note, the Orchestro Dialog is extremely easy to get to grips with thanks to the LCD screen and set-up menus. There is a version without the screen (just called Orchestro), but for me it was worth the small extra expense to have it. There are buttons to dispense large, small (espresso) and two small coffees and each of these buttons memorises the volume of coffee that was last used. The water tank holds 2 litres and can be fitted with a water filter. The drip tray can be simply removed and emptied without turning off the machine or opening any doors. The Orchestro will indicate on the screen when it's out of water or needs any attention (beans, cleaning, descaling etc).
After 16 months light use, the error 'Service 1' appeared and nothing on the Orchestro would work. I wasn't too concerned, as a leaflet that came with the Orchestro mentioned I could have a loan machine whilst it was away for repair. Krups (Groupe Seb) said they didn't do loans, so off it went to their service centre and was away for 5 weeks before they sent me a dirty refurbished replacement that was almost as bad as the one I'd sent them. This one made an extremely loud rattling noise, the display kept freezing and the steam didn't work. The Groupe Seb customer service was atrocious. Most of the time you couldn't phone them as you just got an answering machine saying they were closed for training and would be open again in an hour. 4 hours later and no-one was available to take your call. Then the courier arrived at the wrong address, they lost the original box and packaging, no-one returned my calls and no-one knew how long the repair would take. 'Try phoning in a week' was their helpful advice. And then they sent me a faulty replacement. After sending back the replacement, I waited a week and gave up and bought a Saeco Incanto Sirius. This made me realise I'd never be happy with the Orchestro's stale tasting coffee even if they sent me a brand new machine.