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Jura-Capresso S Series - John Flynn's Review
Posted: February 28, 2004, 12:58am
review rating: 7.1
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
Jura-Capresso S Series Super Autos
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Arrow The Jura-Capresso S Series has 12 Reviews
Arrow The Jura-Capresso S Series has been rated 7.87 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since May 13, 2003.
Arrow Jura-Capresso S Series reviews have been viewed 82,282 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Harvey Stein 8.00
Brooks P 7.86
Chris Molineaux 7.50
Mike McCormick 7.20
John Flynn 7.11

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.2
Product Reviewed: impressa S7
Manufacturer: Jura Quality: 7
Average Price: Varies Usability: 9
Price Paid: $1,800.00 Cost vs. Value 8
Where Bought: whole latte love Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 3 months Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: none
Bottom Line: I lay awake nights thinking, can't wait 'til morning so I can get up and have some of that espresso...
Positive Product Points

makes great espresso for home superauto, even compared to many bars.
easy to use
easy to clean

Negative Product Points

needs warmup shot
needs freshly roasted beans (a week is getting too old)
oily beens stick in hopper

Detailed Commentary

I've had my Jura/Capresso S7 (purchased from Whole Latte Love) for four months now, and have poured over 2400 shots. A lot were visually judged "dial-in" shots I just threw out, or warmup shots (more later on that).  I mostly drink a double-and-a-half or so, enough to fill a 3.75 oz demi.  with a bit of cream and sweetener.

Timing:  it seems to take about 12-13 seconds of actual pressurized water flow to make an espresso, and I  can't see a difference with grind setting, dosing, etc.  But I'm not counting the pre-brew time -  with that its about 18 or 19 sec.  But by the spent pucks the filter diameter seems smaller than the 58mm portafilters, so maybe the "golden rule" may need to be adjusted for this situation?...

Beans: I found that the quality of the bean makes a huge  difference in the shot quality. I struggled a bit at first trying to get good shots with local roasts (ha, "local"  -  I live in Seattle so what does that mean?).  Ok,  I meant  mostly micro roaster houses.  If you can get it, I found that  Caffe Umbria's  Gusto Crema Blend (pure arabica) can produce great crema on the S7 - sometimes about 1/2 inch in a 3-3/4 oz demitasse. (Settings for this are 2 grind, "hot" temp, and enought water to fill a 3.75  oz. cup.)  The Bizzarri Blend is a little richer tasting,  a little less crema.   E. Bizzarri's roasting shop  is a treasure to Seattle I think. Sometimes I have to  go right to their shop to get it fresh enough, though,  as the grocer's Umbria stock might be weeks old.   Other microroasters are good too, as long as you consider the next issue: The age of any of the beans makes a SIGNIFICANT difference.   After they sit four or five days in a ceramic sealed container  at room temp, I have the urge to buy freshly roasted beans.

Frother:  I found with a little practice it makes quite good cappucino/latte foam from 2% milk, but breves from straight creme are pretty tough.  But I'm a rank novice at frothing, so take that with some salt.

Overall shot quality: The S7, hands down, makes better  espresso than most - maybe 7 or 8 out of 10 - bars I went to  before I made the purchase.  To me, that makes it  definately worth it.  I must say I thought long and hard about the purchase, and almost bought the Baratza/Solis  Palazzo at 1/2 the price of the S7.  But when the words  of Dennis Hopper came to mind: "Ya can't go halfway to Venus,  man..." it became clear to me I should just pony up  the rhino for the Jura machine.   I gathered from the coffeegeek first look that the s7/8/9  might be making some of the best consumer superauto shots available, though the Solis 5000 digital (virtually  the same brew group as the Palazzo) is rated pretty  highly.  I would still like a side-2-side compare with the  Palazzo some day if I could.

Things I don't like:  oily beans will stick in the craw of the grinder, and deprive the dosing mechanism.  So every time I use oily beans, I must open the lid, remove the second lid  (or "aroma preserver" as they've named it), and stir the beans.   So much for "one-touch" operation.  Drying the beans on a plate,  as the manual recommends, does not seem to work for me.   I now have simply removed the feeder/disperser thingie  in the hopper, which is where oily beans get stuck. This required some extra washers to take up slack in the screws.

Temp/warmup issues: I notice I get better espresso when I shoot a throwaway, after the machine's been sitting idle for even 15 minutes or so.  The crema is noticable thicker. Better still if I run two shots thru first. Running the rinse cycle helps with the brew-group temp only a little bit as far as I can tell.  So I'm burning through extra  beans to get the better shots.  I've actually tried buying  cheap coffee to put in the bypass doser for the warmup shot  since I don't drink it anyway. And no, the machine is not  going into "economy mode" when this happens.

Programmability:  I found I don't really need all the programming for different cups.  Without programmable grinder settings it doesn't really matter.  Caffe Crema/Suisse needs a coarse grind, while espresso needs finer.  You can change grind only  while grinding, usually wasting a shot because of the 1 shot latency in the doser path. If you can remember, you might use the same wasted shot for the warmup I guess.  The two "small" and "large" cup buttons have a doubling feature, but I wish the manual would explain it better: it says that they are "adjusted"  for powder dosing, but what does that mean if you're already on  max dosage for the single button? Does it try and cram double the coffee into the filter?  I guess I'd prefer to have more programmed drink buttons, and I would set them up for different coffee blends/roasts rather than cup sizes. And eliminate the doubling buttons.  But with  the S7 I can have only two, while maintaining the "special" coffee button purpose for the cafe Suisse (what my wife drinks).

Thank goodness wholelattelove explained the shower screen cleaning procedure.  It needs to be done quite often, and Fed-Exing the machine back to the factory for a procedure you can do yourself in 5 min. with a wet paper towel would be sad. I have to do this about once a week it seems.  It degrades shot quality long before it slows the brewing procedure, as some other reviewers have noted.

Flaws: when I first got it it had a bug.  No, I don't mean a software fault, I mean an INSECT.  Some tiny dead critter fell into the crema of a shot after I snapped the silver adjustable dispenser housing into the max-up position, on maybe my 30th shot.   I couldn't tell if it was a New York bug (distribution) or a Swiss bug (manufacuring).

I'll conclude by re-stating: I'm glad I bought this machine.

Buying Experience

WHL was good for my purchase experience, for this machine.  (But not for the group brush I bought from them).

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review rating: 7.1
Posted: February 28, 2004, 12:58am
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