Jura A1 Review: The Most Reliable Superautomatic Espresso Machine?
Just like magic, superautomatic espresso machines let you go from bean to cup with the touch of a button, allowing you to start your day with espresso that is as fresh as can be! However, some of these coffee makers can get pretty bulky and end up taking over half of your countertop… and bank account.
If either of these concerns have been on your mind, you may find that the Jura A1 Super-Automatic Espresso Machine solves those problems. It’s the upgraded version of the Jura Ena Micro 1, which has now been discontinued in some countries but is still available from some alternative vendors. Find out all about what the A1 has to offer to determine whether or not it is the right brewer for you.
Summary: The Jura A1 Superautomatic Espresso Machine
- The slimmest and most budget-friendly of all Jura coffee makers
- Features Jura’s patented Pulse Extraction Process
- Rapid brew cycle
The slimline one-cup machine delivers quality, speciality coffee in no time.– John Lewis
The Jura A1 Review
The Jura A1 Super-Automatic Espresso Machine is an excellent tool for the focused coffee drinker who loves espresso. With premium, updated features that take every facet of brewing to the next level, this super-automatic Jura is built to impress. Representing the most economical model in Jura’s line of coffee makers, this machine still comes with a hefty price tag. That being said, any espresso enthusiast would be delighted to have this brewer in their kitchen, keep reading to see if it will work for you!
Design – 4.5/5
As we promised, you won’t have to revolutionize your entire kitchen to fit this machine. Just like its predecessor, the Jura A1 is compact and slim. Measuring 20.5 inches high x 12.7 inches wide x 18.6 inches deep, it’s the smallest machine in Jura’s current range. Considering that it contains a bean hopper, a grinder, a water tank, and a full brewing system, less than 13 inches in width is truly impressive. Bear in mind that, despite its small size, it’s pretty heavy: weighing almost 20 pounds, it’s definitely not something that you’ll want to move around often.
They say that not everything is either black or white, but the Jura A1 sure is! Available in Piano Black and Piano White, the sleek design and simple color scheme is bound to complement any kitchen. Even though its external surfaces are made of plastic, it certainly doesn’t look tacky. On the contrary, it has a stylish, chrome-y look in keeping with Jura’s brand.
With both like the Ena Micro 1 and the A1, Jura opted for a minimalistic approach. The front panel is uncluttered, featuring only the wide drip tray and the height-adjustable coffee spout, perfect for fitting taller glasses. Though the Ena Micro 1 has been discontinued, customers can still get excellent coffee from a stylish, easy-to-use Jura A1.
The control panel is located on top and is also quite minimalistic and intuitive. Rather than a full display, Jura opted for some classic old-style buttons featuring a choice between brewing with 7 grams of coffee (indicated by one coffee bean) or 10 grams (indicated by three coffee beans). The control panel also features some symbols that will only light up to remind you to take care of routine maintenance.
If you love Jura and are looking for a touch screen rather than button display, check our Jura A9 review.
Brewing System – 5/5
The 5 ounce bean hopper comes with an aroma preservation cover, which is handy if you don’t end up grinding all the beans that you’ve chucked in. While from the outside it’s impossible to tell the Ena Micro 1 and the A1 apart, the upgraded grinding and brewing system is what improved the already excellent quality of the Micro 1. The A1 features an improved multi-aroma G3 grinder. This manually-adjustable conical burr model is quieter than many of the grinders on competing models, and can be adjusted via a slim dial on the top of the machine. Should you want to use pre-ground coffee grounds or make a decaffeinated shot, you can simply use the practical bypass doser instead!
Not only does it reduce the grinding time by half, but it also preserves the full aroma of your coffee beans after they’re ground.
Another welcome change is the combination of the IPBAS and PEP that’s been added to the brewing process. These aren’t just fancy and mysterious acronyms! The Intelligent Pre-Brew Aroma System and the patented Pulse Extraction Process that are unique to Jura mimic manual extraction methods and were specifically designed with short specialty coffees in mind. (1) By preinfusingthe grounds with hot water at short intervals, you can extract in less time, giving you a better-preserved and more nuanced coffee aroma.
The Jura A1 allows you to go from bean-to-cup in less than 30 seconds. The speed is due to a combination of the technological updates to the brewing system, as well as the efficiency of the stainless steel-lined aluminum boiler. Featuring a fast Thermoblock heating system, the Jura can heat the water to the right temperature for brewing in a flash. Now all of these are important factors in brewing great espresso, but perhaps none so important as the foundation of espresso: pressure.
“What makes a perfect espresso, well, an espresso? Pressure. Sure, there’s also the crema, the size of the drink, and the concentrated nature of the coffee, but in the end, it all comes down to pressure.”
While the pressure required to brew an espresso is 9 bars, Jura coffee makers including the A1 go above and beyond, featuring 15 bars of pressure. (2)
Another often overlooked factor that can influence the final flavor of a brew is the quality of the water used, and Jura knows that! They have installed a Claris filter in the 37 ounce water tank and included the first filter cartridge so that your espresso is top-notch.
Coffee Quality and Versatility – 3.75/5
While there are bigger (and more expensive) super-automatic espresso coffee makers that feature milk frothing and more coffee options, the Jura A1 prefers to focus on one thing and do it extremely well: make fast and delicious shots of coffee. That’s why this machine is perfect for coffee purists as well as those who enjoy the occasional cappuccino but already own a milk frother.
Thanks to the Intelligent Pre-Brew Aroma System and the PEP, the Jura A1 allows the ground coffee to develop its full flavors and aromas, resulting in a high-quality espresso shot with a delightful layer of cremaon top.
Less customizable than other Jura coffee makers, its variable brewing unit ranges from 7 to 10 grams of coffee and it can only brew one shot at the time. However, given its speed, we seriously doubt it will be a problem.
With the Jura A1 you have three drink choices: a ristretto, a classic espresso or a larger cup of coffee.
You can choose between two coffee strengths(7g or 10g) and adjust the amount of hot water used and, once you like what you’ve obtained, you can program it to replicate that exact shot. In fact, the Jura A1 lets you program 3 different cup sizes.
Another way for you to influence the extraction process is to change the grind size with the adjustable grinder, choosing a finer grind if you prefer a stronger and more bitter coffee or slightly coarser for a faster extraction and a weaker shot. (3) The bypass doser means even more possibilities, allowing you to use decaf and pre-ground coffee.
As we mentioned, the Jura A1 does not include any milk steaming or frothing features, so be sure to buy a frother separately for all your frothy beverage needs. Check out higher-tech Juras for a machine that truly does it all, like the D6, Giga 5 and Impressa E8.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 5/5
The Jura A1 was designed to make upkeep easy and hassle-free. This superautomatic espresso machine features 3 integrated maintenance programs that alert you when it’s time to activate them. You’ll be prompted to clean the machine after 180 preparations or 80 switch-on rinses and you’ll usually have to change the filter in your water tank once 2000 ounces of water have gone through it. The descalingprocess takes just over half an hourand can easily be carried out with water and descaling tablets. (4)
The machine also lets you know when you need to fill up the removable water tank, which is easily accessed from the back, and when it’s time to empty the dregs basket that slides out from the front. Other than that, you’ll only need to rinse the drip tray and wipe down the external surfaces every once in a while.
Value for Money – 4/5
Since they pack a whole grinding and brewing experience into one product, superautomatic espresso machines are not cheap. However, the Jura A1 and its predecessor are currently the most budget-friendlycoffee makers in the entire Jura product range! While it’s true that they don’t include any milk frothing options, the introduction of the PEP and multi-aroma grinder adds to the value for money of the A1.
Designed and manufactured in Switzerland, Jura machines are very high-quality coffee makers and are built to last you for many years (they come with a 2 year or 6000 brew warranty, whichever comes first). (5)
While there are plenty of machines that still use pods and K-cups, this super-automatic machine runs on real coffee, which is better for your taste buds and your wallet. Adding to its longevity and promoting an even more eco-friendlyexperience (as well as saving you money on electricity), the Jura A1 features a programmable automatic switch-off feature and a patented Zero-Energy Switch to ensure high energy efficiency.
If you’re still on the fence, you could check out our review of the best Jura machines here.
Things we liked:
- Pulsed extraction and automatic pre-infusion
- Built-in burr grinder
- Most compact Jura model
- High energy efficiency
Things we didn’t like:
- No milk frothing system
- Not a lot of customization options
- Can only make one drink at a time
Do Not Buy The Jura A1 If…
- You want a more budget-friendly super-automatic espresso machine – When it comes to Jura models, the A1 is the cheapest option. However, if you were thinking of investing a smaller budget, we recommend looking into the Gaggia Brera. Designed and built in Italy, this versatile super-automatic espresso machine also includes a milk frother, grinder, and excellent brewing system at a more budget-friendly price.
- You want more customizability – Would you like more options and perhaps automatic frothing at your fingertips? The Jura Z6 has got you covered with 10 coffee strength levels and 13 drink options. Combine the wide brew selection with the top-quality milk frother and you have dozens of frothy, caffeine-packed, beverages at your fingertips. Like the A1, the Z6 includes premium features such as the Aroma G3 grinder, PEP and IPBAS, but with more customizability than the A1. Read more about this model here. If 23 drink options isn’t enough for you, the the 43 pre-programmed drinks the Giga W3 is another machine you can consider.
- You want to make milky drinks – We don’t recommend the A1 if you like latte, cappuccino or other milky coffee drinks unless you already have milk frother. Since this model doesn’t have milk frothing system, the Jura ENA 8 would make a better choice.
The most compact coffee machine of the reliable Swiss powerhouse, the Jura A1 is the perfect superautomatic espresso machine for the coffee purists who are only interested in espresso, ristretto and black coffee. The updated design combines premium upgradessuch as the Pulse Extraction Process and the Intelligent Pre-Brew Aroma System with a high-quality conical burr grinder designed to maximize flavor and aroma.
- (n.d.). (2018, March 13). European Coffee Expo ‘Exhibitor Spotlight’: JURA UK. Retrieved from https://beveragebusinessworld.com/latest-news/european-coffee-expo-exhibitor-spotlight-jura-uk-13-03-2018/
- Kilbride, D. (2017, June 8). How Does Pressure Affect Espresso Quality?. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/06/how-does-pressure-affect-espresso-quality/
- (n.d.). (2017, January 30). Espresso Recipes: Time. Retrieved from https://www.baristahustle.com/blog/espresso-recipes-time/
- JURA. (2014, July 31). ENA Micro 1 − Descaling the machine (multi-language subtitles). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fzKb5aFLbM
- (n.d.). Warranty. Retrieved From https://us.jura.com/en/customer-care/terms-conditions/warranty