The Jura Impressa A9 Review: The Perfect Machine for Lazy Coffee Lovers
The Jura A9 automatic coffee espresso machine manages to cram an entire barista into a case that’s roughly the size of a Keurig machine. Well, they didn’t actually put a live barista in the machine, but with a vast array of drinks available with one simple touch, it’s as good as! So the question is simple: is the Jura A9 a miniature coffee shop worth having in your kitchen?
SUMMARY: The Jura A9 Superautomatic Espresso Machine
- Compact design
- One-touch brewing
- Touch screen could be better implemented
The quickest way to enjoy the perfect cup of coffee is via the colour screen with touch technology. The compact A9 offers outstanding convenience and unique speciality coffees.– Jura
Jura A9 Review
Jura’s swiss design and engineering has always produced machines that impress, and the A9 is among them. This machine falls in between the simple, coffee-only A1 and the more elaborate and versatile Giga 5. A smaller, more basic version of the E8, the A9 is an excellent choice for someone who doesn’t brew much coffee at a time, but still enjoys the ability to try different brew styles and recipes. Keep reading to learn about the A9’s high points and drawbacks.
Design – 3.5/5
The Jura A9 packs a lot of technology into a small package. At only 9.4 inches narrow, 12.7 inches high, and 17.5 inches deep the machine is downright compact for a superautomatic espresso machine.
The front is finished in glossy piano black while the sides are brushed aluminum. If you pick up a refurbished model you might find an A9 with glass sides. (1)
Instead of buttons, the Jura A9 relies on a curiously placed touchscreen. Located on the top of the machine and facing straight up, the screen may be challenging to read and see for shorter individuals. Also, in an era where touch screens are ubiquitous this one is almost comically unresponsive. Based on this screen it is easy to understand why Jura’s more expensive E8 foregoes a touchscreen in favor of hard buttons along the periphery of its TFT-LCD screen.
One convenient feature is how the screen allows users to “pin” four drinks to the home screen. This way you won’t have to swipe your way through several pages of options before arriving at your morning staple.
Brewing System – 4/5
The Jura A9 is small – and it has a capacity to match. The whole bean hopper holds just 4.4 ounces of beans and the water reservoir has a capacity of 37 ounces. This isn’t a problem if this machine is serving one or two people, but if you are planning on purchasing a machine for an office or a home full of coffee lovers, you should expect to have to fill the beans and water tank frequently. The spent grounds container can hold 9 beverages worth of grounds, which means you’ll also be emptying it often. Despite its size, the A9 is still a Jura, featuring the characteristic innovation of the brand as well as the hardware of larger Jura units.
The Jura A9 is a bean-to-glass device and includes a built-in steel conical burr grinder. The grinder is Jura’s Aroma G3, which is the same as the one found in the excellent Jura E8. While ceramic grinders are often regarded as superior to steel, the distinction between the two is less pronounced than many would suspect. Steel grinders have shorter lifespans, but are still capable of delivering excellent results. (2)
One difference between the grinder found in the E8 and the A9 is that the larger E8’s grinder can only be set between 6 different settings while the A9 has a stepless range. It is hard to say which is a better setup – the E8’s settings will be easier to repeat while the A9 offers more granular control. In either case, the grind setting on superautomatic espresso machines is usually regarded as a “set it and forget it,” rather than a feature you will frequently fine-tune.
Just like the E8, the Jura A9 uses Jura’s patented Intelligent Pre-Brew Aroma System (IPBAS) and their pulse extraction process (PEP). The IPBAS is a pre-infusion system that gently soaks the coffee grounds in hot water before starting the pressurized brew process. (3)
The goal [of pre-infusion] is to evenly saturate the grounds so the entire bed has the same amount of water flowing through it once extraction begins.
Once exposed to hot water, the coffee grounds swell and release CO2, allowing for a more even and thorough extraction. Unlike simpler pre-infusion systems this one adjusts the quality of hot water based on the amount of coffee you are brewing.
After pre-infusion, the pulse extraction process delivers the pressurized water to the grounds in pulses. By pulsing out the water rather than depositing it in one steady steam, the machine extracts over a longer period of time which develops a more flavorful espresso or ristretto. (4)
Quicker espressos will generally have a lighter body and higher acidity. Slower espressos will generally have a heavier body and more sweetness.
The heating element is a single unit thermoblock, which means that there will be a slight delay in switching between brewing espresso and steaming milk. It would be nice to see dual heating units, but even the pricier Jura E8 uses a single thermoblock.
Coffee Quality and Versatility – 4/5
While the customization of the A9 doesn’t reach the levels of the Jura Giga 5 and Z6, it is still a high-quality brewer. This model is able to make espresso, ristretto, filter coffee, latte machiattos, cappuccinos, and doppio versions of the aforementioned drinks. In addition to coffee beverages, the machine is able to dispense hot water as well as frothed milk.
Users can program each beverage’s volume and strength setting. Curiously there is no temperature control in the programming – a feature found both in the higher end E8 and the cheaper ENA Micro 90.
One frustrating element of the A9’s interface is its strength selector. After you choose your beverage you only have a few seconds to change the strength of your beverage. Other Jura models allow you to select the strength and then choose your beverage, giving you a much more forgiving time window to make your selection.
That being said, once you know your go-to settings and get the feel of the machine, this should not be much of an issue.
We mentioned that the A9 has a limited hopper and reservoir capacity, and the same is true of its brew capacity. The A9 is only able to brew 10 grams of coffee at a time. However, this limitation is not particularly onerous as the Jura A9 has a feature that allows you to tell the machine to brew two of whatever coffee drink you select. It will grind and brew your selection twice – a marked improvement over Jura’s models of yesteryear which simply doubled the amount of coffee and water used in a single brew cycle. (5)
A double shot portafilter holds between 18 and 25 grams of coffee, so the 2x 10 grams of the A9 is completely adequate for most people!
The dual espresso spouts mean that when preparing doubles you can simply set one cup under each, making brewing for two super easy. If you are brewing milk-based beverages, however, you will have to brew one at a time since the frothing goes one by one.
Jura calls the milk frother on this machine “fine foam technology,” which is one of two types of frothers available on their products. The fine foam frother is non-adjustable; it only dispenses milk with a medium layer of foam. That means that if you want just steamed milk or just foam this machine cannot offer you that flexibility. Jura’s adjustable milk frother, the Professional fine foam frother, is not compatible with the Jura A9.
Like all Jura machines, the A9 uses a hose to draw up milk from a container and dispense it directly into your cup. Jura is happy to sell you an insulated carafe or even a refrigerated carafe, but the milk dispenser works just as well with the hose put directly into your milk container.
If you don’t opt for an insulated or refrigerated vessel for your milk you should promptly return it to the fridge after use!
If you’re the kind of person who likes to make the occasional cup of decaf at night, the A9 has you covered. A ground coffee bypass chute on top allows users to brew a second variety of coffee without having to remove their daily beans.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 4/5
Jura consistently excels in building machines with top-notch automated cleaning and maintenance cycles. The A9 does a great job taking care of itself, automatically running rinse cycles, prompting cleaning cycles, and scheduling descaling based on your water hardness.
The Jura A9 has a manual plastic calendar that sits atop the filter in the water tank so you can keep track of when it needs to be replaced. Sure, it works, but we were hoping for more given that other Juras like the E8 have automatic alerts to remind you to change the filter.
It is worth noting that although the milk frother has an automatic rinse cycle that it goes through after making milk-based beverages, we recommend that you disassemble and clean the milk frothing assembly regularly. Multiple users have reported inconsistent foaming if they were not rigorous in their milk frother cleaning regimen. This is not a particularly time-consuming task, just be sure to give the frother the TLC it needs and you shouldn’t have a problem.
Value For Money – 4/5
The Jura A9 offers most of the functionality of a larger super automatic espresso machine without the weight and bulk. While it is not as expensive as some of the larger Juras, the step down in price is not quite as significant as we would hope. If the Jura A9 had all of the features of its bigger brother the E8, then it would very clearly be a bargain.
However, as it stands the A9 is missing the milk froth adjustability, filter change alerts, temperature control, and has a subpar touch screen. Even with these problems, the A9 is still a great machine, it just isn’t quite the value proposition that it could be if some of these concerns were addressed.
Do Not Buy The Jura A9 If…
You want more customization – The Jura A9 allows you to customize your drinks, but not quite as much as some of its bigger peers. If you want to be able to choose how much foam your cappuccino has, or select a higher temperature for your lattes then the Jura E8 is a great choice. Read our full review here.
You want a budget option – The Jura A9 is a great, compact, super automatic espresso machine. But if your main priority is to get a super automatic and size isn’t as big a concern you can definitely find cheaper models. The Gaggia Brera offers most of the features that the A9 has but for considerably less money. The Brera does not have one-touch beverage making, you’ll have to foam your own milk using its panarello-style wand. In some cases, this might prove to be a boon as it offers you great control over your milk.
You want a more basic espresso machine – If you love Jura’s classic swiss design but don’t plan on making milk-based beverages or already have a separate milk frother, fear not, there is an option for you. Both the Jura Ena Micro 1 and the Jura A1 brew excellent espresso and do not include a milk frothing system. The Ena Micro 1 has been discontinued, but you can still read why we have it a good rating here and perhaps buy it from an alternative vendor online. The A1, however, is still very much available. See what we have to say about it here.
The Verdict On The Jura A9 – 3.9/5
Compact, versatile, and capable of making a variety of drinks, the Jura A9 is a good espresso machine with some nagging shortfalls. Inside its small frame it packs the grinder and brew system of a much larger unit, but lacks some of the customization that you’d expect at this price.
Even if the customization isn’t a deal breaker, the touch screen is disappointing. Ten years ago companies could get away with subpar touch screens, but the technology is fully mature and in a high-end machine people expect better. To check out our thoughts on a host of other Juras, see our full round-up review.
- Jura Impressa A9 Teardown. (2019, March 29). Retrieved from https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Jura Impressa A9 Teardown/62543
- Steel vs Ceramic burrs and heat generation – the lowdown by Xavi Guerrero. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://baratza.com/steel-vs-ceramic-burrs-and-heat-generation-the-lowdown/
- Clive Coffee. (2019, May 9). What is Pre-Infusion? Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIm23AsY8nc
- Espresso Recipes: Time. (2019, May 22). Retrieved from https://www.baristahustle.com/blog/espresso-recipes-time/
- JURA Elektroapparate AG. (n.d.). A9. Retrieved From https://us.jura.com/en/homeproducts/machines/A9-Platinum-NA-15151.