Quick Guide to Automatic Coffee Centers

Which machine is right for you?

There are all sorts of features for each machine, and it can get a little daunting to digest them all. There are really three basic decisions that you need to make. Dual or single thermoblock? Do I need extra-stylish good looks? How do I want to froth my milk? Answer those three questions and before you know it you won't be giving all of your disposable income to a Seattle based coffee roaster.

Dual or single thermoblock
The thermoblock is the part that heats the water. Thermoblocks produce two different things: hot water (for coffee and tea) and steam (for frothing milk). To make steam, the thermoblock has to be hotter than it does when it's making hot water (this should make sense if you payed any attention in junior high science class).
If your machine has only one thermoblock, there will be some downtime between brewing coffee and frothing milk. After frothing milk, the thermoblock has to cool down to the temperature required to make hot water. And conversely, after brewing coffee, the thermoblock has to heat up to the temperature needed to make steam.
How big a deal is this downtime? Depends on your needs. If you're going to be making one cappuccino for yourself in the morning, a one thermoblock machine is probably fine for you. You'll want to look at the Jura-Capresso E8, Jura-Capresso E9, Jura-Capresso F9, or the Delonghi ESAM 3300. If you entertain a lot, where you will be making lots of drinks for people, one after another, or if you're the kind of person that will go nuts every morning waiting that minute or so to froth your milk, then you probably want to go for a dual thermoblock machine. Dual thermoblocks can be found in the Jura-Capresso S7A, Jura-Capresso S9A, Jura-Capresso Z5 and Z6, and the Delonghi ESAM 3500.

Stylish good looks
Don't get me wrong, all of these machines are good looking. But a few of them can be called downright sexy. If good looks on the countertop are what's most important to you, then pick one of these machines. The Jura-Capresso F9, and Z6 all have varying degrees of chrome plated front panels. The F9 illuminates the coffee as it's brewing with a blue light. Not exactly a practical function, I have to admit, but having seen it, I have to tell you that it looks really cool.

Milk Frothing
Unless you drink straight espresso, you're going to need to froth or steam milk. There are three options available:

1) Traditonal frothing wand
These machines have a wand, or arm, that dispenses steam. You put milk in a stainless steel frothing pitcher and swirl the milk around the wand. This traditional method is the most labor-intensive and requires the most skill. Machines equipped with manual frothing wands include the Jura-Capresso E8, E9, and the Delonghi ESAM 3300.

2) Jura-Capresso froth-Xpress Plus system
The froth-Xpress Plus is an auto-frother. It consists of a milk pitcher and special frothing wand with a froth / steam adjustment dial. When you use it, milk is drawn out of the pitcher and froth is dispensed directly into your mug. The froth Xpress Plus is included with the Jura-Capresso S9 A and S7 A, and is available as an add-on for the Jura-Capresso machines that come equipped with only a manual frother.

3) One-touch cappuccino
One-touch cappuccino is the newest milk frothing innovation. Like the froth Xpress Plus system, an auto frother is used. With one-touch cappuccino, both coffee and milk are dispensed without having to move the cup. Just push one button and you have a perfect cappuccino or latte. Machines with one-touch cappuccino functionality include the Jura-Capresso Z5 and Jura-Capresso Z6.

If you're the kind of person that wants as much information as possible, and likes to compare specs, see our Jura-Capresso comparison chart. If price is your main concern, we often have factory-refurbished, pre-brewed Jura-Capresso machines available. The selection of of Jura-Capresso refurbs varies and availability is limited. If you still have questions, or if you just want to chat with us about coffee, contact us at customerservice@kitchenkapers.com or 800-455-5567. Happy Brewing!

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