Hypnotizing. The milk courses through the tube into the machine, then steams into the cup. Foam rises above the milk. Soon, the espresso settles in the middle. Just moments before, the Swiss-made Jura ENA 8 superautomatic coffee machine has already custom ground the beans for a proper, hot latte macchiato. Push one button and the three layers form invitingly in the cup. It’s the ultimate in bean-to-cup engineering.
“If you have more than one coffee drinker in the house,” says Nick Brown of wholelattelove.com, a purveyor of everything coffee, “then a superautomatic machine gives you tremendous customization.”
The Jura ENA 8 ($1,899, 12.8 inches tall) and the larger E 8 ($2,099, 13.6 inches)—available in four finishes—are ready to make 10 different coffee drinks at up to 10 different strengths, three temperatures and various volumes. Jura boasts that its Pulse Extraction Process (PEP), which sends short bursts of water through the grounds, makes for better espresso and crema. The E 8 makes stronger coffee, Jura advises.
Want your coffee on arrival? Add the J.O.E.—Jura Operating Experience—app/adapter ($60) and you can save each user’s drink profile and make your order from your smartphone.
The slightly taller (15-inch), but less expensive ($1,699) Italian-made Gaggia Cadorna Prestige offers 14 customizable beverages. The very intuitive screen takes you through the set-up and allows for the creation of four user profiles in which to save and select everyone’s favorite drink. The milk carafe slides into the body of the machine. Milk cleanup is automatic. Recovery time is very fast.
All the machines can handle preground coffee, say, for the occasional decaf. The Jura’s pour-spout height adjustment and the ENA 8’s grinder are somewhat easier to use. The smaller ENA 8 weighs about 20 pounds, is gorgeous, sleek and fits easily on a counter and under cabinets. A big plus in Jura machines is that with its water filter, you need never to descale (perform a deep clean).
The challenge with any superautomatic is to dial in the coffee strength you like. And to decide if the price is worth it.