JURA Z7 Review

JURA Z7 Review

It is 2 weeks now I have been using my Jura Z7. Following are my preliminary impressions.

This machine replaces my Gaggia Synchrony Compact Digital that I gaggiahave had for several years. After about 12000 shots, 3 service visits including a grinder replacement, the quality is now inconsistent and generally not as pleasing. I had to resort to using pre-ground coffee to get a respectable shot. Occasionally, I ‘top’ up the coffee by adding pre-ground as it is grinding. This produced reasonable shots. The practice is seriously frowned upon by the dealer.

The Roast

I roast my beans.   I use Gene Cafe that I have gene_cafe had for a few months and just becoming comfortable with it.   The green beans are the Emperor’s Organic Espresso Blend from Sonofresco in Burlington WA.  scale I measure 250 grams on a digital scale.   I roast outdoors with an ambient temperatures in the 40s.

This is the profile I follow: 300 F for 5 minutes to dry the beans, 446 F for 4.5 minutes, 465 F for 1.5 minutes, 482 F for 2 minutes and then 456 F till end of roast. I use the cooling cycle of the roaster. The first crack is at 16 minutes from the very start lasting for 2 minutes. The second crack starts at 19.5 minutes.

I roastedbeans 3 batches, one till the beginning of the first crack, one stopped a half a minute before the second crack and one stopped half a minute after the second crack. All were blended and used in the Jura Z7.

The Hunt

When I decided to get a new espresso maker, I went over the debate of super automatics or traditional. All the arguments have been made. There is no perfect decision, I opted for the super-automatics. When I researched the options, my initial choice was the QuickMill Monza. The insurmountable barrier was the height of the machine. The counter-cabinet clearance was about a half an inch too short.

The design principles of coffee making by Jura appealed to me. In January I was on a cruise on the Nautica, one of the Oceania Cruise Line ships. The ship mostly have Cimbali 2 group machines throughout the ship using illy coffee beans. About 75% of the time, 100% if you picked the right location, you would get outstanding espresso and espresso drinks, especially the Macchiato. While on shore in Singapore,bigespressomachine we stopped at a cafe. I tried an espresso and my wife a cappuccino. The espresso had an amazing flavor, was a bit longer than I like. The cappuccino was great. I went to the back. The cafe uses a Jura XS90 and uses illy coffee beans. That settled it.

Upon return home I went to a local dealer and tried the Jura ENA Micro 9 One Touch and the J9. When I set it to extra strong and reduced the volume, the shot was as close to a manual is you can get, beating the products you get from most coffee shops. The Macchiato was outstanding with a temperature just under burning the roof of your mouth.

I love the Ena, but eventually realized that the smaller capacity and frequent emptying and refills will get to me. I narrowed it down to the J9 and Z7. I picked the Z7 as the J9 employs a TFT screen that is absolutely gorgeous but this is the first one of the Jura line that has it. I try and avoid first versions. The Z7 has established itself.

The Choice

The Jura Z7 is a beautiful z7 addition in the kitchen. Took less than 5 minutes to have it ready. The operation is intuitive and simple. I have tried all options and modified a few. I will not bore you with a review of all the buttons on the Jura Z7. The machine did not disappoint. The Gaggia in it’s heyday does not come close.

After turning the machine on and going thru a rinse, the first shot of espresso can be discarded as it is just a bit weaker than the following ones. I found that the shorter shots are a tad too short. The longer shots seem to extract more coffee flavors without any bitterness.

The Results

The closest to an absolutely ideal manual shot espressoprepared by a master barista, can be produced by choosing an extra strong shot that is between one and one and half ounce. My beans are not oily and the grinder is between the middle and the finest position. The result is a shot topped with very rich crema that is velvety and almost creamy. The flavor is complex and that has several levels of taste as it moves across the palate. There is no hint of bitterness. This has proved to be my favorite drink followed closely by an extra strong shot that is 3.5 ounces! The extra long extraction brings out extra coffee essence.

Cappuccino and Latte Macchiato were excellent. Flavorful and hot without burning the roof of the mouth. I fill a traveller mug in the morning and it stays hot for my 20 minutes drive to work. I have reduced the milk proportions as my roast lacks the milk cutting strength.

I am a heavy consumer of Espresso and Espresso drinks, I am now joined by my family who have become converts.

Compared to commercial establishments, the Jura Z7 will beat the bulk of coffee shops. There are only a handful of ‘boutique’ coffee shops that produces superior products. I visited JJ Bean for comparison, this is in Vancouver. They make an awesome espresso and an amazing Cappuccino. I am able to come extremely close with my espresso. The Cappuccino is hard to distinguish. I bought their Espresso JJ roast, the one they use daily, and green beans from them, Brasil Carmo Bourbon and Columbia Papayan, a spicy bean. Using their roast, I was able to essentially duplicate the espresso. I roasted both beans using the profile described above stopping the roast 1 minute after the first crack begins resulting in a city roast. I blended 3 Brasil plus 1 Columbia. The blend is similar to the roasted beans I had bought.

I compared to my brother’s setup. He uses the same coffee beans, Emperor’s Organic Espresso Blend from Sonofresco, that he roasts on a barbecue setup. He has a high end grinder that measure out each shot and he tamps it using 30 lb pressure. The coffee machine is a semi-automatic Vivaldi. His espresso shots are neck and neck with the Jura Z7. The Cappuccinos and Lattes that he produces are inconsistent as the final temperature is difficult to control even with the use of a thermometer. The Jura Z7 foam is superior.

I am still experimenting and will try different roasts and blends and will fine tune all the settings. In time I will post an update.

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