Small in stature, but not short on fundamentals, the Capresso EC PRO is one of our newest espresso machine friends. The machine’s compact footprint makes it perfect for small kitchens where there is limited counter space. However, just because the EC PRO is diminutive in size, doesn’t mean it can’t make a great latte!
In fact, while some semi-automatic machines have a steep learning curve, the EC PRO is incredibly easy to use. Even if you are used to brewing on a superautomatic machine, like myself, you will quickly be able to get the hang of using this machine. Unlike some machines that have a number of buttons that can be confusing to figure out, the Capresso EC PRO has just two buttons, besides the power button, brew and steam. Thus, whenever you want to pull a shot or froth your milk, all you have to do is get your portafilter or milk frothing pitcher in place, select which option you want and away you go!
To make your brewing even easier, the machine comes with a pressurized portafilter so you don’t have to worry about perfecting your grind and tamp. Although, when testing this machine, we did find it helps to lightly tamp the coffee in the pressurized portafilter before brewing to get a better quality shot. If you are a more adventurous barista and really want to work on fine-tuning your shots, you aren’t out of luck with this machine, as the EC PRO also comes with a bottomless portafiler. This allows you get a better look at your shot as it comes out of the machine and note things like channeling, and adjust your grind, dosage and tamp accordingly if your extraction is messy. The upside is, once you have gotten these three variables down, the shot will look beautiful as it pours out of your machine.
To learn a few additional pointers about brewing on this machine, watch as Gail and Kris discuss it features.
Through the magic of the Internet, we heard that people have been using their espresso machines to brew black tea. This sounded like an interesting concept to us, and we were curious to see if it would work. People have been known to brew rooibos (also called red espresso) this way, and have even started whole cafes based on this idea. So why wouldn’t it work with black tea? We decided to put this theory to the test and use the Capresso EC PRO Espresso & Cappuccino Machine to brew Ceylon O.P. by Danmann Freres Teas.
To make the tea, we filled the machine’s pressurized portafilter up to the first line inside with the loose leaf black tea. Then we loaded the portafilter into the machine, and started the extraction. We let the extraction go long, about 30-40 seconds, until the cup was mostly filled and the brew started to become clearer. The tea that was produced had a good aroma and was medium orange-brown in color. However, when we sampled the tea, the flavor was not bad, but definitely weaker than normal.
Not ones to be easily defeated, we were curious what would happen if we ground up the tea leaves before dosing them into the portafilter. To grind the tea, we grabbed the Hario Skeleton (Skerton) Coffee Mill, and set it to a coarser grind setting since we were using a pressurized portafilter. After grinding a couple of teaspoons full of tea we noticed that many of the tea leaves were passing through the grinder whole, so we readjusted our grind to be much finer. We were a little concerned that the tea was now too fine and would choke the portafilter, but we decided to go ahead and try it anyway.
Once again we loaded the portafilter into the Capresso EC PRO and started the extraction. We immediately noticed the tea was coming out much darker in color this time around. Suddenly we began to notice a different color coming out of the portafilter – there was a crema on top of the tea! While having a crema is not unusual for rooibos brewed on espresso machines, we were surprised we’d get the same effect with black tea. After about 30-40 seconds, we stopped the extraction. The color of the tea was much darker in comparison to the first cup we made, and topped with a thick, foamy crema. This time around the tea tasted exactly like it should, as if it had been steeping for three to five minutes.
We were (pleasantly) surprised to find you can brew a decent up of tea using a semi-automatic espresso machine and a pressurized portafilter. If you are going to try this experiment yourself we highly recommend grinding your loose leaf tea into smaller particles, since that gave us the best results. We only tried this experiment with black tea, so we aren’t sure if this technique will work to brew other types of tea, such as rooibos or herbal infusions. We also haven’t tried brewing the tea with a different machine or tested to see if brewing tea on an espresso machine is faster than brewing with a kettle. If you try this experiment with different variables, let us know in the comments. I sense more tea experiments in our feature!
Although it is still pretty cold outside, at least around these parts, this is the time of year where the sun starts to appear a little more frequently, making us long for the return of warm summer days. While we have a quite a few more months to go before that happens, we can at least get our taste buds (and our minds) in the spirit for warmer weather with a milky melon cooler.
While the recipe for this drink might sound a little unusual, it is surprisingly light and refreshing. Better yet, it is super easy to make since all it requires is cold milk, watermelon syrup and an automatic milk frother. We made our milky melon cooler on the Capresso FrothTec Automatic Milk Frother, but you can make this recipe with any standalone milk frother that has a cold froth setting, or even on a manual model like the Frieling Milk Frother.
Watch Brandi walk us through these few easy steps and then mix up a drink of your own. You’ll feel like you’re relaxing at the beach or having a picnic in the park in no time!
Last, but in no way whatsoever least, in our series of refreshed Jura espresso machine reviews is the GIGA 5, an almost-ridiculously featured one-touch superautomatic that offers functionality like no other home machine available on the market.
In addition to its dapper case design, gorgeous, full color TFT navigation screen and one-touch cappuccino functionality, the GIGA 5 also rocks unique features such as dual coffee bean hoppers — which you can use to custom blend your beans — and an integrated Barista Menu that offers nearly 30 different programmable and customizable beverages, plus a slew of somewhat quirky guided recipes.
Crafting your cappuccino or latte macchiato at the touch of a button, the GIGA 5 is pretty much the top of the line where superautomatic espresso machines are concerned. We think the GIGA 5 is the machine of choice for gourmet home kitchens, small office break rooms or as a complementary service in a business environment such as a car dealership, art gallery or design studio.
But its singular features and exceptional functionality does come at a relatively high cost; if there has to be a drawback on this machine, it would be its price tag. Otherwise, it’s hard to go wrong with this gem!
Want to learn more about it? Watch Chris guide us through a comprehensive review, explanation and demonstration of the GIGA 5.
Next in our series of revamped reviews of Jura’s series of superautomatic espresso machines is the Impressa J9, a seriously sexy superauto that features Jura’s first implementation of the TFT screen. A gorgeous piece of eye candy, this full color menu is incredibly intuitive, with both programmable buttons and the rotary dial navigation Jura is known for. In addition to the fetching menu screen, the J9 also features one-touch cappuccino functionality, a sleek case design and luxe finishes like a polished stainless steel drip tray.
After having the Impressa J9 around for awhile and getting to know it much, much better, it was time for a redux! In this comprehensive review video, Chris takes us through the usual explanation of features and specs, provides tips and trick for making your favorite coffee on it, then demonstrates how simple it is to make a delicious espresso-based drink at the touch of a button.
The Impressa J9 is the superautomatic for you if you reside squarely where both form and function meet. It’s not only an excellent espresso machine, it looks darn great doing it … and who doesn’t love that? Check it out!
This summer, we started filming Brandi as she tried out the rather unique drinks included in the Barista menu of the ultra-sophisticated Jura GIGA 5. From pepper-infused espresso to a souped-up latte macchiato, sampling these recipes was quite an adventure.
At long last, we’ve reached the end of the menu, topping it off with an interesting gem called Winter Magic Coffee. With ingredients such as chocolate hazelnut spread and ground ginger, we weren’t quite sure what to think. But we took it on anyway and were pleasantly surprised.
Like many of the drinks incorporated into the Jura GIGA 5’s Barista menu, it is an interesting answer to a question we had never even thought to pose: Will ginger and cardamom meld well with the flavor of espresso? Watch as Brandi rocks it out, again, and then both she and Gail give their feedback on the flava!
Recipe: Winter Magic Coffee a la Jura GIGA 5
If this drink intrigues you and you don’t happen to have a GIGA 5 at your disposal, here’s the recipe:
1 teaspoon chocolate-hazelnut spread
1 teaspoon honey
2 pinch of ground ginger
1 pinch ground cardamom
1.5 oz of espresso
steamed milk to taste
In your serving mug, combine the chocolate, honey, ginger and cardamom together, then stir well until smooth.
Add the espresso and again stir until everything is well incorporated.
While we affectionately refer to Jura’s Impressa Z7 as ‘the elder statesman’ of their one-touch superautomatic espresso machines, it is by no means outdated! At one time, it was their most sophisticated espresso machine, offering an array of programming features and one-touch cappuccino functionality.
Then came along the TFT-enhanced models like the J9 or the big daddy, the GIGA 5, and the Z7 seemed downright simple in comparison. But rather than considering it simplistic, we prefer to accentuate how streamlined it is — and even though there are other show ponies now available, it’s still a solid choice.
With Jura’s intuitive menu interface, the ability to program a selection of different drinks and the upgraded automatic frother technology that produces a finer, denser foam, there is a lot to love about the Impressa Z7. So we asked someone who truly loves it — and has for a long time — to refresh our review! Watch as Chris takes us through all of the features and specs, then demonstrates crafting a delicious latte macchiato at the single touch of a button.
When Jura released their ENA series of superautomatic espresso machines a few years ago, they were a unique offering in terms of both ease of use and footprint. Designed to fit into the space of a legal-sized sheet of paper, they were targeted toward folks with limited kitchen counter space. But one thing this series of streamlined machines was missing was a true one-touch model … until the ENA 9, that is!
Released a few years after the initial round of machines, the Jura ENA 9 has the super-intuitive interface of previous ENA models, paired with Jura’s one-touch cappuccino functionality. Since we have spent a considerable amount of time with it over the past couple of years, we thought it was time to refresh our review! And what better way to do that than by having Chris offer his perspective on this popular superautomatic?
Watch as he guides us through all of the ENA 9’s features and specs, provides his own tips and tricks on getting the best cup and then demonstrates making a one-touch cappuccino. While Jura has released newer model variations since the ENA 9, this one-touch still offers excellent features for the price.
Designed to fit into the footprint of a legal sized sheet of paper, the Jura ENA Micro 9 features Jura’s updated brew technology and one-touch cappuccino functionality. We love that it also has a lower clearance, so you can more easily access its water tank and bean hopper even if you have lower cupboard clearance.
In this refreshed review, Chris guides us through the features and specifications of the Jura ENA Micro 9, then demonstrates how to craft a cappuccino. Check it out!
In the world of gourmet coffee, the holy trinity might very well be freshly roasted – freshly ground – freshly brewed. Okay, so it’s all about being fresh, and committing to that will mean truly delicious java on a consistent basis. But we also get that sometimes our lives are busier than we might like and convenience has to reign supreme over handcrafted quality.
Jura understands this quandary and, instead of passing judgement, they’ve devised an Automatic Coffee Center that will hopefully bridge the gap between convenience and quality: The ENA Micro 1. Instead of using a capsule to produce a single cup of coffee on the go, you can select your favorite coffee and grind the beans freshly prior to brewing, all at the touch of a button. With an updated brew chamber and pressure system, you’ll be able to craft delectable drip coffee one cup at a time!
Watch as Chris takes us through a refreshed tour of this popular machine, including its features and specs, then brews us a cup of coffee. The ENA Micro 1 is the machine for drip brewed coffee and/or Americano lovers everywhere! And, if you occasionally have a milk drinker over for a cuppa, you can always meet their needs by picking up a Jura Automatic Milk Frother on the side.