Continuing on with the Jura-Capresso tradition of fine coffee products — the IMPRESSA E9 Super Automatic Coffee Center offers an extensive array of features and functionality sure to satisfy both the die hard espresso aficionado as well as the casual espresso drinker.
Normally these two types of people would be hard pressed to find a single machine capable of satisfying both of their needs. Let’s be honest, some of the best espresso makers are also some of the most frightening looking contraptions in the coffee world.
And while the sight of a pump action espresso machine with its multitude of gauges and dials may make many a coffee aficionados’ eyes glitter in appreciation, most casual espresso drinkers would run screaming for the hills (or at least Starbucks).
The IMPRESSA E9 is classed as an “Super Automatic Coffee Center”. Aside from filling the unit with water and coffee beans, all other operations are automated via the push of a button or turn of a knob.
One of the things that impresses me about the E9 is it sleek and classical look. Some coffee makers depend on electronic flash to attract attention. With the IMPRESSA E9 the controls and display are kept to a minimum, anything more would distract from the aesthetic appreciation of this unit.
The Left side of the E9 houses the water tank (holds enough water for 40 cups of espresso, less if you use the steamer). A flip up lid on the top of the E9 allows the water tank to be lifted out by its built in handle. The E9 features a CLEARYL Water Care System. This system removes chlorine, lead, aluminum and copper. In addition the CLEARYL system contains a special organic additive that removes the vast majority of carbon and eliminates decalcifying altogether.
A matching flip up lid on the right side of the E9 gives access to the coffee bean reservoir and burr grinder. The burr grinder has four grind settings that can set for use.
Powering on the E9 initiates a startup cycle that preps the system and begins heating water. The display on the E9 indicates a status of “HEATING” which is replaced by the word “RINSE” after around 30 seconds.
Pressing the “RINSE” button will cycle a small amount of water through the E9 and out the twin coffee spout. Don’t worry about having a cup to catch the water, it flows easily out and through slots in the chrome base for this purpose. Once completed, the display will read — “READY” at which point espresso can be made.
One of the things that surprised me was just how much feedback the E9 gives during its operation. For instance, when the supply of beans becomes low, it tell you to — “FILL BEANS”. When the water supply is low, it tell you to “FILL WATER”.
Make too many espressos without emptying the internal ground collector and it will tell you to “EMPTY GROUNDS”, consequently the E9 will tell you that the “DRAWER MISSING” when you pull out the drawer to empty the grounds.
What is the point of having an “Automatic Coffee Center” if you have to constantly stop to check if you need to do maintenance or refills?
The E9 allows you to focus on making espresso and steaming milk rather than checking to see if its time to refill the machine or perform maintenance.
To make an espresso one simply presses the single cup button. The large knob on the left will light up red and display the amount of espresso to be made in ounces or milliliters (default setting is for ounces). Turning the knob will allow you to set the amount of espresso to be made. The initial setting is for four ounces, the maximum single cup size to be made is eight ounces.
Pressing the two cup button will double brew whatever the amount of espresso you have set for the single cup button (16 ounces is the maximum amount of espresso that the two cup button will brew). Regardless of which button you choose, both spouts are utilized in the espresso brewing process.
Pressing the one or two cup button once will cause the display to read “MILD”, pressing it again will change the strength display to “NORMAL”, pressing it a third time will change the display to read “STRONG” (optionally holding the button down will cause it to cycle through these options).
Espresso brewed with the “MILD” setting will grind beans for 6-7 seconds, “NORMAL” will grind for 7.5 to 8.5 seconds and “STRONG” for 9 to 10 seconds.
The E9 has two Aroma settings that directly affect the grinding times (accessible via the setup button). The “STANDARD” aroma setting uses the shorter grinding times, while the “ROBUST” setting will use the longer grinding times.
Another nice feature that the E9 has is its adjustable coffee spout height. While some people may prefer to use the traditional demitasse cups for their espresso, others may prefer to brew the espresso directly into their coffee cups to avoid any loss of potential crema.
With espresso made, thoughts turn to steaming milk. Pressing the button that looks like a nozzle with steam coming out will begin the steam heating process. The same control knob used to set the espresso volume will again be backlit red and the display will show the last steam time setting set.
The E9 can be set to output between 3 and 120 seconds of steam. Steam is heated very quickly in the E9 — 15 to 30 seconds. When ready the display will say “STEAM READY”, at which point the knob on the top right hand side of thee E9 can be turned to the steam position. When the E9 has output your desired amount of steam it will ask you to “SHUT TAP”.
Steam burns can be quite serious, please keep this in mind when using the E9 steaming functions. A significant amount of steam pressure is generated by the E9. Make sure you have the nozzle in milk, or wrapped in a wet towel if cleaning to minimize the possibility of getting a burn.
I also want to point out the the steam nozzle attachment can be removed for cleaning or replacement. Make sure that it is securely attached to the unit before you turn the steam into the on position. Avoid turning on the steam if the nozzle is not fully installed on the unit.
If you have an urge to use decaffeinated or pre-ground flavored coffee, there is a special button on the front of the unit that looks like a coffee scoop. When pressed the E9 will tell you to “FILL POWDER”. Open the lid on the top middle of the unit and fill the funnel with one or two scoops of ground coffee (Do not use more than two scoops of coffee, and never use instant coffee unless you want to void your warranty and be the object of ridicule for even thinking of using instant coffee).
As much as I like espresso, I do get a craving for my French press from time to time. The E9 can put hot water easily within my reach. By simply turning the steam nob from the coffee position the to steam position, hot water will be run through the steam attachment. The amount of hot water dispensed can be set from 1 to 16 ounces via the setting knob on the left.
The E9 allows customization of the Auto Shut-Off time, this can be set from zero (never shuts off) to nine hours. When the unit shuts down automatically it will perform a rinse cycle similar to the one done during a cold start of the system (this can be turned off if so desired in the setup menus).
Believe it or not, the E9 actually keeps usage statistics! Not only can it tell you how many total cups of espresso you have brewed, pressing the 1-Cup, 2-Cup and Ground coffee button will display statistics for each of those buttons used.
During our Review Process we Enjoyed…
- 91 Total Cups of Espresso
- 89 of which were 1-Cup Draws (4 Oz.)
- 02 of which were 2-Cup Draws (8 Oz.)
- 00 of which were Pre-Ground
A multitude of languages can be set for use on the E9 — English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch (NL) can all be chose.
After around 200 coffees the manual indicates that the the unit will tell you it is time to clean the machine, in addition it will tell you when it is time to perform a decalcification of the machine should it be needed. Both procedures are well documented, and can be reviewed in further detail online at Capresso should you be interested.
So what does it cost?
Priced from $999.00 to $1,199.00 the IMPRESSA E9 has a higher price point than many espresso makers, but keep in mind that trying to compare this machine to anything you will find in a home or department store is like trying to compare coach to first class.
The IMPRESSA E9 is an amazing machine and investment if you want to appreciate great espresso and consistent crema without the hassles that more manual systems face. Even my wife (who would normally avoid an espresso machine like the plague) has fallen under the spell of this unit. I think she has been to Starbucks once since receiving this unit for review, and even then she complained that the latte she had earlier at home was better than what she got at Starbucks!
That being said I would buy this unit in a heartbeat if we were not saving every penny for our upcoming adoption from China, somethings I must admit are more important than even the finest espresso machine. Such is life.
As with my prior Capresso review I would like to thank the fine people at Field & Associates for giving me the opportunity to review this fine product.comments powered by Disqus