True to its name, the Saeco Xsmall is the brand’s smallest superautomatic espresso machine on the market. As result, this machine takes up very little space on your counter but still comes at an affordable price with a lot of basic functionality. The machine’s streamlined design also makes everyday maintenance, like filling the water reservoir, emptying the dregs box or even cleaning the brew group (yes, it’s removable!) a breeze.
Another one of our favorite features on the Xsmall is the troubleshooting-related, test mode section on the machine. In fact, when one of our superautos starts acting up, one of the first things we do is access their respective test mode sections. Why is this helpful? Test mode allows you to operate the functions of your espresso machine freely, outside of the software of the machine. This means you can run your grinder, pump or brew unit motor to see if they are working properly without having to brew a shot and wasting your favorite coffee beans. To make the troubleshooting process easier, these different components are broken down into four test mode levels on your machine (for instance there are different levels for checking the machine’s sensors, brew unit, water flow, grinder and boiler) so you can test everything related to one area individually.
While test mode is extremely useful, getting into it on the Xsmall can be a little challenging. In this video, our parts guru Brendan teaches us how to access it and navigate the four different testing levels on the machine.
One of the hidden secrets of many espresso machines is that they come with an accessible test mode section. What is great about test mode is that it is an excellent resource for troubleshooting your machine. For instance, test mode can allow you to determine if components like your water pump, grinder or brew unit motor aren’t working because they are broken or because something in the machine has been misplaced and is keeping them from working.
One espresso maker that has this functionality is the Saeco Intuita. Luckily, as its name suggests, getting into the test mode section on this machine is more intuitive than it is on other espresso machines and only requires a few simple steps. Once you are in test mode, there are five different levels to explore, which allow you to test everything from the lights on the machine to the grinder. You can even test the machine’s sensors to make sure they are working properly, which is a great way to help pinpoint what is causing an alarm in regular mode.
In this video, Brendan shows us how to access test mode on the Intuita, guides through each of the different levels and explains how to use each one to diagnose any problems you are having with your machine.
The fact that the Saeco Talea Touch does nearly everything for you (except fold your laundry) makes it one of our more popular espresso machines. Not only does this machine’s technology allow for easy brewing, but it also enables you to access the Test Mode section, so you can give it a “check up” and explore the cause of any issues that may be occurring.
One of the greatest benefits of Test Mode is that it allows you to freely operate the functionality of your machine. For instance, you can do things like check to see if your grinder is working without brewing a shot of coffee, monitor if your brew unit motor is running right or even see if your pump is in good shape. While this mode is useful, the Test Mode for the Talea Touch is one of the more challenging to get into. You must know a special code, as well as how use it, which are both cryptic enough to warrant the use of a secret decoder to finger them out. This is also the case for both the new and the refurbished Saeco Talea Touch Plus, which requires you go through the same process to access the Test Mode.
Luckily, we have something even better – our parts and tech expert, Brendan, who told us the secret code and how and when to enter it. Once we were in, he also showed us how to navigate through the system and play with the options, which are much easier to use.
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.
During our recent field trip to Nuova Distribution, the US arm of Nuova Simonelli, we had the opportunity to interview one of their master technicians, Ryan, on the ins and outs of the uber-sophisticated Talento commercial superautomatic espresso machine.
As a follow-up to Brandon’s comprehensive review and demonstration video, Ryan speaks to the design approach and methodology that makes the Talento such an excellent choice for certain commercial environments. With a high level of control on the part of the administrator and extensive troubleshooting tools for techs, the Talento is designed to provide worry-free espresso based drinks in environments that may not be conducive to lengthy barista training.
He also shares with us the technical decisions behind elements of the machine’s design, specifically around the brew group functionality, and then dives deeply into guiding us through the machine’s internal menu — how to program it, the different options and settings available, what each sub-menu is designed to do and more!
If, after watching Brandon’s video review, you wanted more detail on the Talento, this video is right up your alley. And if you want even more info on or want to discuss whether or not this machine is the right fit for your business, contact us!
Field Trip: Nuova Simonelli Talento Overview with Ryan
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.
While there are several superautomatic espresso machines designed for home use, there is a relatively smaller selection in the commercial space. If your business requires exceptional ease of use and consistency, yet cannot support lengthy barista training, then a machine like the Nuova Simonelli Talento is well worth your consideration.
How does it differ from its residential-oriented counterparts? Like most commercial machines, it comes down to the robustness and quality of the components used to build it. Commercial-grade equipment is designed specifically for high volume wear-and-tear, so you can rely on it to consistently create what may be your business’ most important product. Some environments like large hotels with room service, high school cafeterias or even fast food restaurants lend themselves better to a superautomatic because, with little training on part of the operator, tasty espresso-based drinks can be crafted to order.
In addition to its exceptional build quality, the Nuova Simonelli Talento also features sophisticated programming for up to twenty different types of drinks and the option of using a one-touch cappuccino function or an automatic steam wand. During our field trip to Nuova Simonelli’s US headquarters, Brandon dove deep into this sophisticated superauto! Check out his full review and demonstration in this comprehensive video.
Crew Review: Nuova Simonelli Talento Commercial Superautomatic Espresso Machine