If the Jura-Capresso IMPRESSA E9 is the Cadillac of of Super Automatic Coffee Centers, the IMPRESSA Z5/Z6 is without a doubt the Bentley of the Super Automatic Coffee Center world.
From its 3mm thick, sinuous alloy metal front, to its machined aluminum buttons the Z5 feels, looks and performs with a precision and consistency that one would expect from a $3,200.00 coffee center.
We did mention that it was the Bentley of Automated Coffee Centers didn’t we? The price is extreme to say the least, but lets take some time to explore what $3,200 gives you over the significantly lower priced IMPRESSA E9.
One Touch Automation
As impressive as the automated espresso grinding, tamping, brewing and extraction features that the IMPRESSA E9 displayed, the Z5 takes automation to the next level.
In addition to all of these functions, the Z5 adds automation to the foaming of milk. The Z5/Z6 includes a:
Insulated Thermal Milk Container - A large, black 32 oz. triple insulated thermal container keeps milk chilled for up to eight hours. The lid of this container contains a pipe that extends to the bottom and a flexible tube that attaches to the the Z5 by way of a fitted connector.
Adjustable Control Knob - Allows the user to set the foaming level to that of a latte consistency, cappuccino, or any variation in between (allows for dynamic adjustment of foam level at any time during the process).
What this means to the consumer is that you need never again gaze wistfully at your favorite barista and marvel at his or her ability to produce the perfect foam — you instantly become a master of foam.
And I have to admit, for the first 50-75 or so cappuccino’s I was enveloped in the white foam perfection that this unit is capable of making. My wife’s latte love was satiated, my cappuccino conniptions were put to rest.
But soon we found ourselves missing the adventure of the espresso wand. Sure the Z5 made perfect foam, but we have to admit to missing a bit of the manual aspect to making a latte or a cappuccino.
But what does this have to do with Automation?
Patience Grasshopper… On one hand we have the Jura-Capresso complete automation of the espresso brewing process, a wonder to behold, and a continued delight (I personally never liked some of the more manual aspects of making espresso, still other love it — each to his or her own).
On the other hand we have the Z5/Z6’s impressive milk handling capabilities. Two processes, excellent by themselves, ingenious when combined. By using a one-touch cappuccino system the Z5/Z6 is able to produce a cappuccino or latte without moving the cup.
A combination dual nozzle (milk/espresso) fills your cup with a predetermined amount of foamed milk and espresso that you decide upon. Essentially giving you the ability to produce a cappuccino or latte exactly the way you want it, every single time.
By pressing and holding the cappuccino button you are prompted to press the button again when the Z5/Z6 has dispensed the appropriate amount of foamed milk, and again when it has dispensed the appropriate amount of espresso.
Once set, each subsequent latte or cappuccino will be made to your exact specifications. Not to be one set firmly in its ways, the Z5/Z6 allows for dynamic increases/decreases of milk and cappuccino on the fly by turning the rotary dial on the top of the unit.
The Attention is in the Details…
Some additional improvements we noticed over the IMPRESSA E9 include a large centralized bean container with a clear plastic cover. We found this to allow for easier refilling of beans, and the addition of the plastic cover helps further contain beans and residue to the bean container.
On the front of the unit, they have added lighting behind the adjustable dual coffee spouts that comes on when the unit is started. They have also added an auto-on and auto-off function that can be set for a specific time and time frame (hours).
The water container on the Z5/Z6 is a large 96 oz. — according to Jura-Capresso this will make 60 or so espressos. As with the E9, this unit makes use of the CLEARYL Water Care System.
This unit comes with a one year limited warranty, or up to 6,000 cups of coffee, whichever comes first. Warranty includes free UPS ground transportation from and to the owner (Lower 48 states, Hawaii and Alaska have additional charges).
One side note if I may before we go any further. You may be wondering what the difference is between the $3200/Z5 and the $3600/Z6, it all comes down to bling (Did I just say Bling?). Here is what the extra $300 brings with the Z6 (from capresso.com site):
- Grand curved high-gloss chrome-plated aluminum front.
- High-polished mirrored LED display (the LED information “shines” through the mirror finish”
- Hand-polished, oversized, drip tray made of die-cast zinc (1.5lbs)
- Custom designed 20 oz. stainless steel thermal milk container.
Now, whether that is worth the extra $300 is up to you to decide. However, the one negative thing I have to say against the Z5 is about the drip tray, specifically about the drip holes under the specialty drink nozzle.
The hole is the unit we demoed was slightly off and too close in our opinion to the edge of the tray lip. This resulted in water over splash when the unit went into its self-cleaning mode. The amount of over splash produced was not significant, but given a unit of this price — it was not something we expected to see. For that reason we rated this unit a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Looking at the Z6, it appears that not only has the tray been increased in size, but the holes have been replaces with an elongates trough that extends across the width of the Z6 front. And given that the unit we tested was a demo unit, its possible that new units do not suffer from this issue.
In the end, whether you decide to go with this Bentley of Super Automatic Coffee centers for a completely hands off cappuccino or latte experience, or you choose to go with a model that includes more of a traditional foam wand, you cannot go wrong with a Jura-Capresso.comments powered by Disqus