Jura Impressa Z5 Automatic Coffee Machine - Reviewed

Written by Joe Baker on . Posted in Appliances

Jura Impressa Z5 Automatic Coffee Machine

The reviewer was astounded at just how much you could tailor the Jura Z5 Generation 11 Automatic Coffee machine to suit your needs.  Pretty much any weird tastes in coffee can be saved to a button and one press after that always gets you what you want with either 1 or 2 cups. 

The reviewer?  Yep that’s me! 

The Jura Z5 arrived on 15 January 2010 and we have been putting it through some of its many features.  So far our initial assessment comment has been little short of astounding.  Our intention is to check features that may be controversial or complicated and on how well they operate.  We will also take into consideration any comments, whether they be positive, negative or otherwise that we have read previously on this machine and either dispel or endorse pros and cons alike. 

 In the first day we went though 8 litres of milk testing the Cappuccino side and still had many more programmable features and coffee specialities to go.(latte macchiato, ristretti, expressi, or cafés crème coffees)

Let’s get some facts down though.

You are able to change milk run time, coffee/water, and temperature to suit your cup size and taste for Xmild, Mild, Normal, Strong and Xtrastrong for all your coffees.

Well informed sources say that the International Standard of good cappuccinos and expresso’s say that ⅓ should be milk, ⅓ froth and ⅓ coffee.  So we set it up for it to do that automatically, however, we made the single Cappuccino marginally different for when we feel like being a little more indulgent i.e. more milk.  We can also just unhook the canister containing hi-lo milk and put the longer hose straight into a full cream milk container, giving us an easy option of which milk to use.

The same well informed authority also states that milk temperature should be 56˚C to 60˚C.  To the published myth expressed by one reviewer that the resultant coffee was “cold and required microwave heating”, we say - “busted!” (see photos). 

After extensive testing, I concluded the following:
• The reviewer did not fully understand the machine
• The Cappuccino frother was not functioning correctly (required cleaning?)
• The reviewer did not use the methods available to maximise heating
• He did not preheat the cups

Increases in finished coffee temperature can also be achieved by altering strength of coffee using a grind change.  For instance, coarser and increasing ml of water and coffee then decreasing the milk, as the water comes out at “in cup stream” max 89˚C as against milk at fully frothed “in cup stream” 52˚C- 70˚C.  This keeps the coffee strength about the same but increases the heat (but may alter the taste). We found that by turning the milk froth switch clockwise from steam to fully clockwise we could also in fact vary the milk temperature by about 18˚C, as well as alter the depth of the milk froth.  We also played with pause times to compact the milk foam, which worked well to give great aesthetics.

Anyway, we continued to play with the programme and grinder, largely because we could and finally decided on a taste, quantity and quality that we liked.  The variable grinding selection knob allows for grinds from fine to coarse and with us it ended up pretty much in the middle of its allowable variation parameters.

We decided to trial the programming for cappuccino on Xmild and work our way up stronger and stronger until we could settle on what we liked, and that would become our personal setting for our perfect cappuccino.  A word of caution here, though.  If making changes in volume from factory presets and you want to be able to walk away while it’s busy making your coffee, then ensure that you continue to use the same cup sizes when making these “personal set” coffees or the machine won’t stop.  (The manual and DVD show how easy it is to accomplish this.)

We found that with any visitors that arrived we only had to ask them the strength they liked and then turn the rotary dial for their particular tastes.  We were happy knowing that all the finished cup temperatures would be consistent and that the grind has been taste optimised for the type of beans we were using.  We also knew that the finished cup volumes had now been pre-set and would stop automatically and never overflow.  This pre-programming is great as it allows you to hit the “go” button, and whilst talking to the visitors two coffees can be made, then simply collect them and present the professionally finished coffees.

Jura say that you should put the single spout on if only making one cup but we found that putting the cup under the two spouts caused us no problem at all, giving us a “dollar each way” and so without making any machine changes we could make either 1 or 2 cups with a button press any time we wanted.

Vary Cuppa milk temp downOPERATION
The Jura Impressa Z5 Automatic Coffee Machine was turned on; it took 50 seconds (with a rinse included) and then indicated it was ready to do my bidding.

We filled the 600ml milk canister and set about making cappuccino with the following results:

Note: Temperatures were taken with a digital thermal probe, with “in cup stream” meaning the probe was in the stream of liquid entering the cup. 

Preliminary Cappuccino Tests - 1 Cup

Programme setting:  Xmild
Milk run time:   25 seconds (Actual run time into cup is 25 sec whereas the factory setting was 18 sec)
Coffee set at:   15ml (factory setting was 25ml)
Water temperature set to: normal (high, low and normal available)

Time to make 1 cappuccino was 51 seconds with one button press

Milk in canister:  11˚C
Ambient temperature:  20˚C
Milk temperature:  “in cup stream” 52˚C
Finished coffee:  53˚C
Pre warmed cup:  Yes

What is interesting to mention is that you are able to program the machine to pour two cups at the same time and then have a very different program for a single cup with regards to the coffee strength and the amounts of water and milk dispensed, all by using the same button.

Preliminary Cappuccino Tests - 2 Cup

Programme setting:  Xmild
Milk run time:   27 seconds (Actual run time into cups is 54 sec)
Coffee set at:   25ml
Water temp set to:  normal (high, low and normal available)

Time to make 2 cappuccinos was 90 seconds with the same button initially pressed twice in rapid succession

Milk in canister:  9˚C (new milk)
Ambient temp:   20˚C
Milk temperature:  “in cup stream” 53˚C
Finished coffee:  56˚C
Pre warmed cup:  No

• The finished cup of coffee was hotter because of the increased quantity of coffee and water, (from 15ml to 25ml) and the reduction of milk, despite the cup not being pre warmed.
• A lower milk starting temperature does not appear to change the final milk in cup temperature.

Miscellaneous Tests
Aim 1
To test pre-warmed temperature differential by making simultaneously 2 cappuccinos in cups that are different:
One cup (thick walled)
One cup (thin walled)
Same programme as previous
Milk in canister:  9˚C Ambient temp 20˚C
Ambient temperature:  20˚C
Milk temperature:  “in cup stream” 52˚C
Finished coffee:  56˚C
Pre warmed cup:  Yes

Both cups were finished at 56˚C, despite one capable of holding heat longer.  Indicating that cup wall size is, within reason, is unimportant, but pre-warming is essential for very hot coffees as independent tests showed it can result in at least a 6˚C heat change.

Aim 2
To increase “into cup”, milk temperatures
As this machine was an ex-demo we thought we would phone Jura Technical and ask some questions, mainly regarding milk temperature.  We found them easy to contact, willing to listen, extremely helpful and informative.  I may say that you couldn’t wish for a more helpful back up service, which is rare as most companies wish to sell you a product and then get rid of you as soon as they can.  Not so with Jura (Australia Global Coffee Solutions).

Our technical advisors from Global Coffees say that milk should be going into the cup at between 60-70˚C if not, then check the little rubber mushroom shaped tube and switch for cleanliness and/or blockage.

Prior to final Test 3, we ensured that the little mushroom fitting was clean and unblocked and noted also that by shifting the pointer on the milk frother, we could alter the temperature of the milk “in cup stream” between 52˚C and 70˚C with the hottest flat milk just below the flat white picture and the graduation mark.  For frothed milk, the hottest setting is between the upper graduation mark and the cappuccino picture.  We think this may well vary slightly between machines, but make no mistake about it, the cleanliness, sealing of “O” rings, and the milk frother pointer position makes approximately as much as an 18˚C variation in milk temperature, which is fine as long as you are aware of it as it then allows even more finite temperature adjustments to your coffee. 

A suggestion to Jura on their next model would be to have a thermal probe at the exit point of the milk with a temperature read out on the display when milk is running to allow optimum temperature adjustment on the fly.  With world best practice finished coffee temperatures set at 54˚C - 68˚C, what more could you want though!  Not only can you already change quantities, but you can also dial up milk temperatures “in cup stream” of between 52˚C - 70˚C, with varying milk froth thicknesses.

15 litres of hi-lo milk later, I guess we could now say we understand the machine and know what we are doing, so lets do a couple more final tests.

Vary Cuppu milk temp up

Final Cappuccino Test – 1 Cup

Programme setting:  Xmild for 1 mug
Milk run time:   42 sec
Coffee set at:   25ml
Water temp set to:  high

Time to make 1 Cappuccino was 52 sec with one button press

Milk in canister:  8 deg C
Ambient temperature:  21˚C
Milk temperature:  “in cup stream” 68 deg C
Coffee/water:   “in cup stream” 71 Deg C
Finished coffee:  67 deg C
Pre warmed cup:  Yes 

Alternate milk supply

 No messIn Summary
We say keep the milk canister in the fridge as it is very very easy to just take it out and with “one push”, reconnect it so unless you make a lot of coffees throughout the day, we see no need for a connected cooler.

Cleaning has been simple with no coffee grounds spilling into areas it shouldn’t (see no mess photo). so you can consider that item reported in a previous review by (un–named) officially “Busted!”. Removing trays, emptying ground cakes and relacing trays took approximately 35 seconds

What is excellent about this machine is the fact that it is not only fully automatic but it can be operated manually as well.  This gives it the “best of the two worlds” and makes the machine totally versatile.  From pressing a button and walking away (auto programme), to holding the coffee button as long as you wish, then the hot water or milk button and then rotating a switch to get the amount of milk froth to achieve the desired mix (manual) - it’s that simple.

In this review I wanted to explore and inform you of the pros and cons of this machine and also any hidden attributes or otherwise that are not easily seen via the comprehensive DVD and instructional manual that comes with the Jura Z5 Generation 11. 

Pros & Cons
I have found lots of pros and perhaps one con, this being that that coffee strength could display longer. while being made. 

• The inclusion of the Claris water filter in the water delivery circuit is an excellent design feature in as much that it not only protects the entire system from scale and suchlike, but keeps the coffee selections true to their comparative tastes whether set as factory defaults or as you have adjusted them.  All of our water supplies differ from each other and in some cases differ from day to day which, without the inbuilt filter, would allow constant changes in taste of the resultant coffees and you would not ever get the stability of taste that is obtainable with this machine.

• We found that each coffee we made automatically was the exactly the same, regardless of how many we made, which is an excellent indication of the precision and stability of inputs and outputs of the Jura Z5 Generation 11, and it’s overall build quality.

Making long black

• All other speciality coffees were made without any hitches whatsoever, and the pre-ground by-pass chute for decaffeinated coffee was easy to operate.  We also found in our extensive testing of the by-pass chute that when you had someone who liked exceptionally strong coffee, by using the dual spouts you could simply press for two cups but only put one cup under.  This worked well as it essentially gives you sort of double the coffee quantity and half the milk or water, but you must be on hand to press a button so that the single cup does not overfill.  Anyway, we found that interesting as you can do it right across the range to give the people who like really really strong coffee, double Xtrstrong.

• However, you may well ask why not do it all (other than the by-pass chute) under the “Special cup” which does allow you to “hands on” change all the water, milk and coffee strength to whatever you want, to infinite variables.  We actually didn’t find any particular guests’ tastes that we couldn’t cater for by either this method or by using straight auto and one of the 5 taste graduations ranging from Xmild – Xstrong.

• A final observation was that this machine can use soy milk or goat’s milk but the behavioural qualities of frothing will differ from that of cow’s milk.

• Adjustable height adjustment of coffee/water dispenser, which allows the use of variable cup sizes, is well worth mentioning.

Whilst this review was done in depth on the entire machine, I have only reported in detail on certain aspects which have seemed to cause problems in other coffee machines, or where previous reviewers on the Jura Z5 Generation 11 have felt strong enough about a particular field to comment, but here is my evaluation on other features:
Cleaning, just follow instructions

Assessment at a Glance
• Ease of operation 
  Manual - easy due to digital prompting
  Automatic - foolproof once programmed for your cups or
  Automatic - foolproof if using cups to equal factory presets

• Ability to deliver as per specifications and claims
  Delivers as claimed on all aspects

• Quality of Coffee
  Whatever you set you can have in precise repetition

• Cleaning
  Automatic.  Minimal manually, advised by digital prompting

• Versatility 
  Appears unrestrained

• Temperature control of coffees where milk is the major liquid by percentage.
  Requires strict compliance with cleaning prompts and good housekeeping   standards

• Build quality
  Very high level

• Service and Technical backup
  Faultless in Australia

Believe me, the flagship Jura Impressa Z5 Automatic Coffee Machine supplied by www.au.jura.com is the epitome of quality and design.  It can and will cater for any taste as it has a controllable fully automatic functionality as well as being completely manual if you choose it to be.

We give it the “double thumbs up” and at a RRP of Aud $3895, we say it’s like all quality products - it’s only “dear the day you buy it”.

It’s not at all surprising that the machine is endorsed by Roger Federer as there is undoubtedly a parallel similarity in the build, attitude and “fit for purpose” of person and machine, which results in a world standard unmatched focus and ability to get the optimum professional result, winning in tennis and the making of coffee.

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