Jura Impressa J6 Espresso Machine Review

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jura-impressa-j6-espresso-machine

Introduction

Jura Impressa J6 super-automatic espresso machine was modeled after the popular Impressa J5 with improved features from inside out. The J line is mid-priced among Jura’s super-automatic collection with all-around high performance features to deliver café style drinks in the comfort of your own home.

The first noticeable upgrade from J5 is the Piano Black from previous white finish with a compact footprint that fits under most of kitchen cabinets. With 6 pre-programmed beverage buttons and 11 customizing options, sipping an espresso or cappuccino is just a few buttons away.

  Table of Contents
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1. Introduction
2. Features & Benefits
3. Brewing
4. Steaming
5. Display & Control
6. Additional Features
7. How to Clean
8. Accessories
9. Power & Cord
10. Dimensions & Weight
11. Warranty
12. Pros & Cons
13. Consumer Reviews
14. Price
15. Summary

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Features & Benefits

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  • Conical Burr Grinder: The first pre-requisite of good coffee is the quality, freshness and consistency of the grounds. With the Jura electronic system, the exact amount of fresh coffee beans will be dosed into the burr grinder per your specified fineness. The particle size affects the extraction rate which measures how fast or slowly water penetrates through the coffee. The finer the grounds, the slower the flow and more intense of the flavor.

    The freshly ground coffee falls into the variable brewing unit to be tamped with the precise pressure programmed by the electronic system. And it’s quieter with a 9-oz bean hopper.

  • Intelligent Pre-Brew Aroma System (IPBAS): The long name and abbreviation aside, the unit is able to adjust water volume to match with the coffee amount. The water is heated through the thermoblock system and the hot water presoaks the coffee grounds granule by granule to release the coffee flavor for maximum extraction.
  • 71 Oz Water Tank: The tank is side-loaded for easy access and refills without removing the unit from underneath the cabinet. It’s equipped to use the CLEARYL water filter cartridge to prevent the machine from calcium deposit, eliminate the need for decalcification and improve the flavor of the coffee drinks. The filtration is done through an ionic exchange to retain the good minerals in water while removing the impurities from tap water.
  • Customizable Options: The Impressa J6 offers 6 beverage choices – 1 Espresso, 2 Espressi, 1 Coffee, 2 Coffees, Hot Water and Steam. There are 11 ways to program preferences such as coffee strength, aroma level, brewing and hot water temperature and froth/steam amount.
  • Butterfly Dispensing Spout: The dual spouts can be adjusted up and down and in and out so most cups can fit. This is a unique feature in Jura line.
  • Two Frothing Methods: One is to let the machine do its trick with the frothXpress and the other with the frothing wand. Froth, steam or heated milk, you are in total control.
  • Electronic Sensors: They make sure you will never run out of water or coffee beans.
  • 24-Hour Timer: Don’t want to waste time for the pre-heat in the morning? Then set the timer to save a minute or two.

Brewing

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Follow the manufacturer instructions on how to prepare the unit for brewing the first time such as unwrap packing materials and rinse water tank, etc.

To brew a cup of espresso:

  • Plug the machine into a power outlet and turn the Power Switch on.
  • Fill the water tank with fresh cold water. If not using the water filter, bottled or filtered water is recommended to enhance the coffee flavor as well as to reduce the calcium deposit.
  • Fill the bean hopper with fresh coffee beans. Medium roast works best with Impressa J6. If you are using dark roasted oil beans, it’s better to let the beans sit in an uncovered bowl for 5 hours so the oils will evaporate to reduce the possibility of clogging the burrs during grinding. There are six grind settings and it’s dialed in on “medium” position as factory default. This setting is appropriate for most applications. Coarser grind works better for dark roast oily beans. Adjust the grind setting while it’s running from thin to thick end of the bar (fine to coarse).
  • Pre-warm the cup before brewing so the brewing temperature won’t be cooled off by a cold cup. Either use the frother to rinse the cup with hot water or warm the cup with water in a microwave.
  • Place one or two cups underneath the dispensing spouts and push one of the coffee drink buttons – 1 Espresso, 2 Espressi, 1 Coffee, 2 Coffees.
  • The J6 will grind, tamp, pre-infuse the coffee grounds, pause for a few seconds and then brew.

You can customize the coffee strength and volume for two single cup coffee and only coffee volume for the two double-cup coffee as the latter is already set as XStrong for the coffee strength. To override coffee strength, you may choose Mild, Normal, Strong and XStrong. For cup size, you can adjust the volume from 1 to 8 oz. and temperature in High and Normal.

Steaming

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The J6 offers two frothing systems, the frothXpress as a built-in attachment and Dual Frother Plus. The former will froth and steam the milk automatically once you turn the Steam dial between 12 to 2 o’clock position. This is great for making cappuccino. If making latte, the dial should be between 4 to 6 o’clock to steam milk with little or no froth. Once again, you may override the factory froth/steam setting at 20 seconds with a variable range from 3 to 120 seconds. The longer the duration, the more froth it will create. Bear in mind that the milk is hotter in the 2 to 4 o’clock position than the 4 and 6 one. The advantage of using the frothXpress system is to be able to get very consistent froth/steam once you figure out the ideal dial setting.

The other alternative is to use the Dual Frother Plus wand. This is perfect who would like to have ultimate control over how much froth and steam in the milk. You’ll need to remove the frothXpress and attach the Dual Frother Plus to the steam nozzle. The cylinder of the frother can be pushed up and down – up for Steam and down for Froth. Make sure you use a milk pitcher that’s at least twice the volume of the milk. For example, if you want to steam or froth 3 oz. of milk, use a pitcher that’s 6 to 10 oz. in size to allow enough room for the foam to build up.

Always use cold milk. Believe it or not, skim milk produces the most froth, and more fat content in the milk, less froth. You can always repeat the process by pressing the Steam button again if more froth/or steam is preferred. Different people have a different sequence of making espresso first then froth/or steam the milk or vice versa.

Display & Control

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Two sets of display buttons and dial. On top of the unit, there is the On/Off Button, Rotary Dial, Push Button and Rinse Button. The front display houses the Beverage Buttons for 1 Espresso, 2 Espressi, 1 Coffee, 2 Coffees, Hot Water and Steam. These buttons are pre-programmed but you can reprogram them the way you like it. The reprogrammed values will be stored in the unit until you change them again.

The Rotary Dial and the Push Button are used to select/set things such as the Display Language, activate the water filter and cleaning/descale cycle, etc.

Additional Features

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Two exclusive features are available in Jura Impressa series. The first one is the butterfly coffee spouts with adjustable height and width to accommodate a wide range of coffee cups. The other feature is that there is a spotlight at the dispensing spouts to allow you to see the brew in real time. Some people might be interested in monitoring the extraction flow as well as the color of the brew. The light definitely lends itself for this purpose.

A timer is another nice touch should you choose to set it for every morning to preheat the unit before you are ready to brew.

How to Clean

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General cleaning routines include the exterior of the unit, the drip tray and emptying the used coffee container. It’s more critical to flush the frother after each use so milk doesn’t dry up and clog the hose or the frother tip. Jura provides very specific instructions on how to clean both frothers thoroughly.

Another major task is to descale the unit if the recommended water filter is not used. The frequency of descaling varies based on the hardness of water in your area.

The unit is designed with an integrated descaling program that will take about 40 minutes to run. Refer to the User Manual for the specific descaling agent to use and how-to.

Accessories

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Included Accessories

It comes with a 35-minute instructional DVD, User Manual, frothXpress system with milk siphoning hose, 1 Clearyl water filter cartridge, 2 cleaning tablets, one bottle cappuccino cleaner and water hardness testing strip.

Optional Accessories

If you prefer using the Dual Frother Plus, then having a milk pitcher would be helpful. Remember to get one that’s 2 to 3x of the volume of the milk you froth. Certainly it wouldn’t hurt to get some good quality espresso beans such as Lavazza.

Power & Cord

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  • Input Power (W): 1450
  • Voltage/Frequency (V-Hz): 120/60

Dimensions & Weight

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  • Dimensions (W x D x H inches): 11 x 16 1/2 x 13 1/4
  • Weight (lbs): 24

Warranty

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Jura provides a two-year warranty or 6000 cups of coffee whichever comes first. You’ll need to register at Jura within two weeks of your purchase.

Pros & Cons

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Pros

  • It brews perfect espresso, great latte and good coffee.
  • The integrated burr grinder is more forgiving to oily beans and quieter in operation.
  • Easy to set up the unit in under 30 minutes per one reviewer.
  • The by-pass doser gives you an option to brew with decaf pre-ground coffee or try different flavored coffees.
  • The side-loading water tank doesn’t require you to remove the entire unit from underneath the cabinet to refill.
  • The Piano Black exterior finish adds such pizzazz and style.
  • The compact footprint conserves precious counter space in the kitchen.
  • Jura excels in providing excellent customer service in addition to ease of use and integrated cleaning cycles.

Cons

  • The Piano Black does attract dust fairly easily and it takes a bit elbow grease to keep it clean and shiny.
  • The frothXpress system doesn’t stay on very well under high pressure of steam so make sure you hook it up tightly.
  • Expensive

Consumer Reviews

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4.4 out of 5.0

77% of the reviewers on Amazon have given it straight 5-star ratings citing great coffee and easy operation as two of the key attributes. The other 23% have shared their woes such as the grinder stopped working after a while or the unit wasn’t working out of the box. These were isolated incidents and not sure what types of coffee beans that customer used and where the other customer purchased the product.

Price

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The price tag is not something to sneeze at. It was under $1500 on Amazon with other retailers selling it for more. It’s hard to believe that for a super-automatic type, it’s priced at mid-range.

Summary

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Jura has earned its stellar reputation for being one of the leading brands in the super-automatic espresso machine market. Made in Switzerland with design ingenuity, the Impressa J6 exists to impress you with coffee shop quality drinks at the press of a few buttons. It’s perfect for home as well as for an office use. Let the machine do all the hard work so you can sit down and enjoy the java goodness anytime. As one reviewer said, it was the best investment in an appliance for him. I hope it will be for you as well.

 

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