Great coffee is fast becoming a must have home essential, and for the coffee purists out there who like it straight up, a super automatic espresso machine is the maker of choice. This Jura A1 review will let you know if this is the one for you.
This slim and compact coffee machine is packed with all the features you could want, but it doesn’t come cheap.
The simple yet elegant design is available in either piano black or piano white, and I am sure you will agree will look great on any kitchen countertop.
Hopefully by the end of this review you will know if you need to spend this kind of cash, and do you really need all those extras. After all there are plenty of other good bean to cup coffee machines available for less.
The New Jura A1 Espresso Machine
The all new Jura A1 Automatic Espresso Machine is a real gem, if you are looking for exceptional espresso with a simple touch of a button this is the machine for you. No Milk Frother though.
If you like to know more detail about what some of the features below do then read my full guide to Jura Coffee Machines
- Super Automatic Espresso Machine
- Multi-Level AromaG3 Grin
- Intelligent Pre-Brew Aroma System (I.P.B.A.S.)
- 15 Bar Pump Pressure
- 1.1 Litre Water Tank Capacity
- Pulse Extraction Process (P.E.P)
- Thermoblock heating system
- Integrated cleaning and descaling programme
- CLARIS Blue filter system
- Height adjustable coffee spout
- One Touch Operation
- Variable brewing capacity
- Dimensions : 23.9cm (W) x 44.5cm (D) x 32.3cm (H)
- Weight : 9.2kg
- 125 gram bean hopper capacity, with Aroma Preservation seal
My Jura A1 Review
First things first, the Jura A1 is a machine for the kind of coffee drinker who likes it short, black and neat. If you are a fan of a speciality coffee then you will need a machine that also has a milk frother. Check out the top 10 here
You may be familiar with now discontinued Jura Ena Micro 1, well this is an upgraded version of that well-loved espresso machine.
A good place to start when reviewing a super automatic espresso machine, how good is the coffee quality produced? After all it is the whole point of this coffee machine!
Firstly this is a single-shot espresso machine, meaning each member of the household will have to wait their turn. But unlike some of the cheaper options available the Jura A1 will go from bean to cup in less 30secs, which should mean this isn’t an issue.
There are two main components to making great espresso, bean grinding and brewing the shot. So lets examine these separately.
Grinding the beans
The bean hopper (container) on the A1 is not the largest and can hold 125 grams of coffee beans, which is enough for a 2 person household.
Normally I would advise you only fill a 250 gram bean hopper half way anyway and keep the remaining beans in an air tight container. But the Jura A1 this isn’t required, as its bean container is fitted with an “aroma preservation seal”. This basically means it is airtight and and has a shaded lid to stop the light spoiling your beans.
The A1 is already off to a great start, we all know fresh coffee beans are an essential part the coffee quality.
One of the big upgrades you get on the Jura A1 over the Ena Micro 1 is the grinder. The new and much reviewed Multi-Aroma G3 grinder is a huge step up.
This ceramic conical burr grinder can be manually adjusted, to allow you to dictate the coarseness of your beans. But this is pretty standard and nothing to write home about.
So what makes it so special? Well the clever engineers at Jura have adjusted the cutting angle, which results in a significant increase in efficiency. Now you get all the aroma and the full flavour in half the time a regular burr grinder takes.
Depending on your choice of coffee strength the Jura A1 also has a variable brew unit, capable of taking 6-10 gram of grounds.
The Jura A1 also features a handy bypass doser, for those who may want to use pre ground coffee instead of coffee beans. Handy when you fancy a decaf.
The Brewing process
So we have the exact amount of freshly ground beans in the brew unit, we now need to turn that into the perfect shot you crave each morning. It’s here where I think the Jura A1 really excels, and where I think the extra money goes when you choose the Jura A1 over another espresso machine.
For this price tag you get two more acronyms, well not the actual acronyms (they still belong to Jura’s copyright department) but the technology they stand for. The I.P.B.A.S. and P.E.P
The Intelligent Pre-Brew Aroma System (I.P.B.A.S), is patented by Jura, but is actually just a better version of other pre brew systems. Effectively what happens here is a little heated water is added to the brew unit in advance of the actual brewing process. This causes the individual ground coffee particles to swell and compact further, resulting in a full flavour extraction and consistent quality cup after cup.
The pulse extraction process (P.E.P.) is something you wont find on other brands, this is a method of brewing where the water is pressed through the brew unit in short bursts, which fully optimises the extraction time.
The Jura A1 features also features a thermoblock boiler, which can rapidly heat water, and provide the 15bar brewing pressure in next to no time.
The Espresso verdict
The Jura A1 is a real gem among espresso machines. By combining Jura’s exclusive technology, such as the Pusle Extraction System and the AromaG3 grinder they allow anyone to produce perfect espresso with the touch of a button.
Full marks from me for this elegant looking coffee maker.
One of the main advantages I like on the Jura A1 is its simplicity and how ease of use, for anyone to just touch a button and make great coffee. But it does come with a few basic custom options to ensure all varying tastes are catered for.
As mentioned above the first part is the grind size, you can manually set the conical burr grinder to your preferred level of coarseness. The finer the grind the slower the extraction and the stronger the coffee, and the coarser the grounds the weaker the coffee.
You can also influence the coffee strengths by adjusting the amount of grinds used, chose between 7 and 10 grams. Or you can use the bypass doser and add your preferred amount of pre ground beans, perfect for those late night decaf moments.
You can choose between barista quality specialties like single espresso shot, ristretto or black coffee, with one touch of the top mounted touchscreen control panel.
There is no milk steaming function on the Jura A1, no this is coffee purists machine. For those that fancy an occasional frothy coffee, you will need a separate milk frother. However if you drink a lot of these then you may want a Jura Bean to Cup machine that can also handle this.
Some people tell me I should stick to writing about the coffee, and the technical stuff when reviewing. Their argument being aesthetics and design have no effect on the coffee produced. Well I think, while not as important, it is a vital part of the buying process.
After all you are going to be giving your coffee machine a prime position on your kitchen countertop and you will have to look at it everyday.
It seems I am not the only one either, as they have put a lot of thought and effort into designing the Jura A1, its not just an espresso machine but also a kitchen sculpture.
Its simple cubist design comes in either “Piano Black” or “Piano White” and is minimalist enough t fit in with any design. The outer casing is actually made of plastic which is a little bit of a disappointment, I would have liked something more like stainless steel for the price tag.
It true minimalist style the front elevation is sleek, uncluttered and is only broken by the drip tray and height adjustable coffee spout. No buttons, lights or indicators in sight.
On the A1 the control panel is top mounted and is very simple and easy to use. There is no computerised touch screen display to confuse you. There is a control for the two coffee strength levels and 3 buttons to choose between cup sizes – espresso, ristretto or regular coffee.
The Jura A1 control panel also has warning lights for descaling and cleaning. So you don’t need to worry about forgetting and damaging it.
This is also one of the smallest automatic espresso machines going, at just under 24cm wide can slip into the tightest of spaces. If you are planning on keeping it out of site and just bringing it out when needed, just bear in mind it weighs in at 9.2kg when empty.
As coffee makers go the Jura A1 certainly has the looks to back up its impressive set of features.
Cleaning and Maintenance
If you’re the same as me, when you are researching a new gadget, you want to get excited about how it will improve your life. Not how it will add to your list of chores. Luckily with the A1 it is not as bad as it could have been.
As you probably expect from such a great super automatic machine, the cleaning and maintenance parts are also hassle and worry free. It seems every aspect of the Jura A1 has been well thought out and this is no different.
There are inbuilt maintenance programs, which ensure you keep on top of this. You will be reminded when it is time to run the rinsing, cleaning or descaling program.
The descaling program isn’t strictly 100% automatic, you do need to add the tablets. The whole program takes around 30 minutes, which is not too bad, I know a coffee maker where this takes upwards of an hour.
One of the dangers of any coffee machine is accidentally running it dry. This is really not good for the pumps. Fortunately for you, the A1 will remind you when you need to top up the water tank.
The water tank is really easy to remove for both filling and cleaning. As is the used ground coffee bin, which pops out from the front.
The only other cleaning required, does require some effort on your part. And this is the rinsing and drying out the drip tray after each use/spillage. And occasionally giving it a wipe down. I wouldn’t worry too much about this, just do it when you wiping your surfaces.
Value for Money
Whether something is cheap or expensive is really subjective and is relative to what you can afford. What is NOT subjective though is value, this is a direct relationship between what you get compared to what you pay.
So does the Jura A1 represent good value for money? Yes it does is the simple answer.
While it is true the A1 is not the cheapest espresso machine, when you consider the vast array of features you get, then can’t help but be impressed.
Jura’s exclusive features such as the pulse extraction process and the AromaG3 grinder used to be exclusively on the top of the range Jura coffee machine. So to think you are getting these on the entry level option, really does represent great value.
Add onto this the fact that all Jura coffee makers come with their standard 25 month warranty and guarantee and full UK service centre(2), and you are worry free.
Ongoing value is achieved when you consider the money you save over visiting coffee shops. Brewing your own is a lot cheaper, and the Jura A1 is really efficient, and features an energy saving mode and auto switch off mode.
Why I wouldn’t recommend the Jura A1
As you guessed I do really like the Jura A1 but as with anything it is not suitable for everyone. And we are talking about a significant amount of cash, so I need to let you know when this may not be the best coffee maker for you.
The first and most obvious drawback is the lack of internal milk steaming, so if you are partial to a milk based coffee then you will want this included. However you can use an external milk frother, but this is added expense and hassle.
Secondly if you are a big household or office you may want to consider a larger machine. The Jura A1 is a single cup coffee machine. Meaning it can only make 1 coffee at a time. In addition the bean hopper and water tank are really only enough for 1 or 2 people. The last thing you want is to be topping these up daily. It does feature an adjustable nozzle for different cup size, but doesn’t have a setting for a regular cup of coffee.
And last but not least, the price. I have argued above it represents good value, it is a pricey machine, and if you only have a coffee once a week, then look at an alternate budget bean to cup machine.
Frequently asked questions
Below are a selection of the more commonly asked questions, hopefully this answers any you have but if not get in touch
Can you fit a large mug?
Yes the Jura A1 comes with an adjustable height nozzle, meaning you can configure it to fit your cup size. The maximum height is 144mm, much more than a standard mug (95mm)
How long should it last?
Following the regular cleaning and maintenance as advised by your instructions, the A1 will last upwards of 10 years.
How fast does it heat up?
Like any other Jura coffee machine the A1 features a thermoblock boiler, meaning it can heat up very quickly. When first switching on it will be ready in under a minute, and once at temperature it will go from bean to cup in less than 30 secs.
Can I make Americano?
Not directly from the machine, the Jura A1 coffee machine does not dispense hot water. You can of course boil a kettle and turn your espresso into an Americano.
The Final Verdict
Serious coffee enthusiasts will love this little espresso machine. Apart from looking great and being small enough to fit in the most compact of kitchens, it is packed full of features that ensure even novice baristas can produce consistently outstanding coffee cup after cup.
At first glance it seems expensive, but if you use it daily and place value of good quality, then it represents great value. Its been a joy to review this espresso machine.