Every espresso dedicated fan wants the best automatic machine to brighten up his mornings with the wonderful aromas of the perfect brew, but how do you know which is best when there are so many of them on the market.
Well, let’s have a look at two of the most reputable brands, Jura and Saeco.
Basically, you cannot go wrong with either of them, but they do have different features which you need to consider before making your choice.
When you say Jura, you say Swiss excellence and tradition, as they’ve been in the business of home appliances since 1931. Built with top-quality materials and innovative technology, Jura coffee makers are sleek, compact and above all durable.
At the same time, the Swiss-made machines are among the most expensive on the market, which can be an important factor when you make your choice.
Comparatively, Saeco is newer on the market, although the company was established in 1981, so by now they have four decades of experience in making coffee machines. Saeco is an Italian company, part of the Phillips family, which is an established name in home appliances.
Saeco has a line of automatic all-in-one coffee machines, comparable to the Jura classical models, but they also have a range of capsule-based espresso machines, made to rival the famous Nespresso machines.
Talking about coffee machines is no easy task, as each company has many models on the market, from the low-priced with limited features models to the high-priced, high-end, high-everything ones. What we can do is examine the basic functions Jura and Saeco generally offer on most models!
This is an essential feature for most coffee lovers who know you want your ground coffee as fresh as can be. Since most Jura models are fully automatic, they come with a stainless steel conical burr grinder, which is practically the best type as it ensures the grounds are consistent in size. This is very important since when you have coarse grounds mixed in with very fine grounds, you can end up with coffee that is either under-extracted or over-extracted. (This is why you should stay away from blade grinders, by the way!)
Since some of the Saeco models work with coffee capsules they have no need for grinders. However, those that do come equipped with grinders have ceramic conical burr grinders, which work just as well as the steel ones.
Or you can buy one of the company’s most popular models like Saeco Poemia Top Espresso machine, which offers you perfect freedom – you can use a coffee pod when you’re in a hurry or grind your own beans.
Many people became espresso lovers since coffee pods were invented, as they save you a lot of trouble. Just pop a pod in, press the button and your machine starts brewing. The Saeco machines use Easy Serving Espresso (ESE) pods, which are quite affordable compared to the fancier Nespresso pods and you can also find on the market compatible capsules from other brands.
Still, many coffee enthusiasts hate all this pods fashion and complain you get boring coffee and not very fresh. Fortunately, most Saeco machines allow you to grind any blend you choose so you can experience new flavors and aromas, just like on the Jura machines.
For many people, the whole point of buying a single-cup coffee machine is to be able to prepare milk-based drinks, barista-style cappuccinos, and lattes. To do that you will definitely need a good milk frother.
Now, some of the lower-priced Jura machines do not come with a frother, the only drink you can make is espresso – ristretto, regular or lungo, and that’s about it. If cappuccino is your drink of choice you will have to invest in a separate milk frother.
On the other hand, the high-end fully automatic Jura models come with a fabulous frother, which uses Fine Foam technology to give you a velvety milk foam any barista would be proud of.
Saeco has two options for milk-based drinks aficionados, you can get a machine with a manual frothing wand or a fully automatic one, that gives you a thick layer of foam at the touch of a button.
For best results, it is recommended to turn the frother on before putting it in the milk, so it heats the milk quicker. Most users say you need a bit of practice to make foam with the Saeco Panarello wand, but once you get the idea it makes a great foam.
The taste and strength of a good espresso depend on the extraction process and both companies use basically the same technology.
Coffee machines makers know these machines are meant to be used by sleepy-eyed people who need some really strong coffee to wake up and function properly.
Nobody wants to fiddle with settings and many confusing buttons before coffee, so both Jura and Saeco make sure their machines are quite intuitive and easy to use.
The lower-priced machines have a rotary-switch dial, while the premium models come with elegant full-color LCD touch screen displays that are so easy to use you can almost get the coffee going with your eyes closed.
Nobody wants to deal with cleaning the coffee machine, but this has to be done regularly, otherwise accumulated residues will affect the quality of your brew.
If you buy a Jura machine, cleaning it won’t be much of a problem, as the fully automatic models have rinsing and descaling functions at the touch of a button. But, it will cost you extra. This type of self-cleaning machines cannot be taken apart and require cleaning tablets and descaling solutions, which you need to order from the company.
Maybe you can do without cleaning tablets and simply run hot water through the machine, and only do a serious cleaning once in a while, but you have to be careful with regular descaling. Jura machines are reliable and resistant, but you do need to take good care of them.
With Saeco machines, you can do most of the cleaning manually. Most of their machines come with removable brewing units that will make them easy to rinse and hence eliminating the need to buy the expensive cleaning tablets.
As for the day to day cleaning, rest assured these machines won’t make much of a mess on your kitchen counter. They come equipped with removable drip trays and there’s not much dripping to begin with. You might make a mess with the milk for the manual frothing wand, but, you know, you cannot blame the maker for that.
After carefully looking at Jura and Saeco and comparing their machines feature for feature, it’s hard to say buy this one as it’s definitely better. They’re generally speaking on the same level – Rapid Steam technology and double boilers to heat water and milk at the same time, coffee shop grade 15-bar pressure pump, pre-heating of the cup feature, integrated burr grinders. That’s all that you need to bring out the barista in you and prepare great coffee.
For milk-based drinks’ lovers, Saeco seems the better option as most of their machines come with a frother, manual or automatic. This is a problem if you look at some of the already expensive Jura models that only give you espresso, no frother, no foam.
All in all, it all comes down to how much you are willing to spend. If you want a reasonably-priced very good espresso machine you should go for a Saeco. You will probably be quite satisfied with the espresso and your budget will take less of a blow.
On the other hand, if you want to splash some money on a state of the art coffee machine why not become the proud owner of a Jura machine everyone will envy you for and enjoy a rich velvety espresso with a thick layer of crema on top of it every morning.
Actually, with such a jewel in your kitchen, you might become very popular among your friends.