An excellent, compact super automatic espresso machine, ideal for home use, and an excellent pick for those with limited space.
Recommended for: Anyone who can afford one.
Table of Contents
- 1 An Overview of the Jura Z6 Automatic Coffee Machine
- 2 Surprisingly Easy to Use & Clean
- 3 Pros and Cons of the Jura Z6 Coffee Machine
- 4 Jura Z6 Review Conclusion
An Overview of the Jura Z6 Automatic Coffee Machine
Are you an “accept no substitutes” kind of person?
Have you been looking for a one-touch super automatic that does it all, offering convenience of use and (relative) ease of operation while allowing you to maintain full control over the brewing process of your favorite specialty coffee drinks?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, and you’ve got money to spend, then you’re going to love our detailed Jura Z6 review. This machine has everything you could ever want or ask for in a coffee machine. It does everything but bring it to your table.
As much as we love it, we readily admit that it’s not a perfect machine, and we’ll cover its shortcomings as well, so you’ll have a complete picture of the model before you buy. Let’s jump right in and see what this coffee making beast can do!
Form Factor, Footprint & Aesthetic
The first thing you’ll notice about the Jura Z6 is that it’s a sizeable appliance. Measuring 17.7” x 12.6” x 14.8” and weighing in at 26 pounds, if your kitchen is on the small side, you have limited counter space or small clearance between your countertops and cabinets, then you’re probably going to have a tough time finding a home for it.
Part of the heft of the machine stems from the fact that both the front and top panels are made from aluminum (side panels are sturdy ABS plastic)
Where looks are concerned, it’s clear that the designers placed more emphasis on function over form. It’s not that the machine is unattractive, it just doesn’t have the striking, artistic design that some models are known for.
That’s not a bad thing. The Z6 has simple, clean lines. It’s all business, and ready to work, anytime you need it to.
As power coffee drinkers, this is one of our favorite features of the Jura Z6 coffee machine. It sports a massive 81-ounce, top-loading water tank, located on the left side of the machine as you’re standing in front of it.
When you purchase your unit, you’ll get two water filters for the tank, which is one more than you get with most other machines whose water tanks accept a filter.
We’re of two minds about this. On the one hand, we totally understand why a lot of people like having a filter built into the tank, as it cuts down on maintenance by virtually eliminating the need to descale your machine.
While this is undeniably a good thing, it also means that you’ll have to periodically buy replacement filters, which dramatically increases your total cost of ownership over time. Add to that the fact that there are other ways to get the same benefit, including only using distilled water in your tank.
In any case, you get two with your purchase, so if you’re a fan, by all means, put them into service!
Note: People familiar with this model will note one significant upgrade in this department. In the previous version of the model, you had to manually tell the machine you were using a filter.
Jura wound up fielding a lot of support calls from people who were using a filter but still got messages that it was time to descale their machines because they hadn’t taken the step of manually programming in the presence of the filter.
With this latest update, the Jura Z6 now comes equipped with sensors that will automatically detect the presence of the filter and report it to the machine’s control unit.
The Z6 features a top-loading 9.9-ounce bean hopper attached to a ceramic, conical burr grinder with six adjustment settings. There are a few things to say on this topic, the first of which is the fact that there’s a bit of a size mismatch between the size of the water tank and the capacity of the bean hopper.
It’s not as severe as we’ve seen in some other models, but especially if you like your coffee strong, you’ll find that you have to refill the bean hopper more often than you like.
The second is the fact that while six grind settings get the job done, it’s only about average.
Getting the right grind setting is incredibly important in terms of what your final output tastes like, and since everyone’s tastes and preferences are different, the more grind settings you have available to you, the more fine-tuning you can do.
There are machines on the market that offer a dozen or more grind settings, and given the price of the Z6, we’d love to have seen more featured here.
Third, we have to give a shout out to Jura for making it relatively easy to change grind settings on this model. In many of their other models, they require you to use a grind wrench every time you want to change settings. Here, it’s as simple as turning the dial, which is located in the bean hopper itself.
Pro Tip: This is not something unique to the Z6, but holds true for nearly all super-automatics. They don’t do well with oily beans. For best results, find a good Medium Roast you enjoy and stick with it!
Also note that if you don’t want to use fresh coffee beans, the Z6 comes with a two-scoop bypass doser, which is an excellent addition!
The Boiler System
We regard this as a bit of a disappointment. Given the price of the machine, we were expecting a double boiler system, that would allow you to simultaneously steam your milk and brew coffee. Sadly, that’s not the case here.
On the plus side, the single boiler is aluminum, with a stainless-steel lining, and features Thermoblock technology, so it heats and adjusts temperature quickly, meaning you won’t have to wait very long to switch from one task to the other.
One of the things we love about this model is how much control you’ve got over your temperature settings, both for brewing coffee and steaming milk. With most machines, you’re lucky to have 2-3 temperature settings. The Z6 gives you ten, which allows you to produce any kind of specialty drink at exactly the temperature you prefer. That’s fantastic!
Telescoping Coffee Spigot
Not only do the Jura Z6’s coffee spigots telescope to accommodate glasses as tall as 6” but they also “butterfly,” allowing you to increase the amount of separation between them to accommodate wide-mouthed cups. Another subtle feature you don’t find on every unit, and another big win in our book!
The Brew Unit and Control System
The brew unit is the nervous system of the whole machine and is the bit that’s responsible for delivering all the specialty coffee goodness to your cup. The control system on the front face of the unit is your means of interacting with it.
As with all of Jura’s machine, the brew unit on the Z6 is not removable, so about once a week you’ll have to drop a cleansing tablet into the bypass doser and run the cleaning cycle.
The control unit is, in a word, a masterpiece. Centered on a brightly lit LCD screen, you can navigate through all the menus via a combination of the control knob on the top corner of the device and an array of buttons on either side of the screen. There are a total of 21 fully programmable drinks available on the Z6, including all your favorites like:
And more. You can customize every aspect of each drink, from dosing strength to temperature, to the amount of water, foam, and milk used, and amazingly, thanks to smart use of the LCD technology and good menu design, all these features are easy to access.
Of course, you can also customize your auto-shutoff time reset the machine to factory defaults, and access the system maintenance menu the same way.
Best of all, you can pick your six favorite drinks and make them available on the “home screen” of the display panel, then use the dial on the top of the unit to access the ones you don’t use as often, for maximum convenience.
Make no mistake, there’s definitely a learning curve with this machine, and it will take you quite some time to program, then tweak all the settings for all 21 of the drinks this model can serve up. Once you get through that process though, the rest is one-touch convenience.
Another thing worth mentioning at this point is the fact that this model utilizes PEP (Pulse Extraction Process), which is a different way of brewing espresso that helps to bring out more of the flavor from the beans.
It is well worth experimenting with, although if you find that it’s not to your liking, you can also brew espresso the standard way (no pulse). It’s entirely up to you, and the fact that Jura made both options available is pure awesome.
The Milk Frothing System
There’s a lot to talk about here, some good, and some not so good.
The first thing to say is that the Jura Z6 uses an auto-frothing system, rather than providing you with a frothing wand. Right out the gate then, this design decision will count as a strike against the machine for most coffee purists, who prefer the more direct control that a frothing wand gives them.
Having said that though, the Z6 offers an enormous amount of customization in the programming menu, allowing you to digitally control the amount and quality of the froth you produce. It’s a different methodology, true, but it still gives you a surprising amount of control.
Finally, and this last bit is something that we were disappointed in when you buy your Z6, it doesn’t come with a carafe for milk. You’ve got to buy that separately, and given how expensive this machine is, we honestly don’t think you should have to. Our view is that if you’re spending more than three grand on a machine, it should come with absolutely everything you need, period.
That complaint aside, the frothing system is easy to use and easy to clean. It’s a simple matter of placing one end of the connecting tube to the machine itself, and the other end into whatever you’re using to hold your milk (note that Jura does sell a stainless-steel milk carafe designed to work with the unit, and a refrigeration unit you can set up next to it).
We’re not particularly fond of the fact that when you’re making a milk-based coffee drink, your very expensive machine winds up looking a bit like a high school science project, but it’s certainly not difficult to use, which is the main thing, and you won’t be disappointed in the temperature of the milk or the quality of the froth it produces.
Note: The company includes some accessories designed to help you thoroughly clean the milk hose after every round of milk-based drinks you create. This process isn’t what we’d call elegant, but it’s a step above what most other companies offer, and in about two minutes’ time, you’ll have your equipment ready for its next use.
A Few Words About Espresso
At this point, we should probably say a few words about the way espresso is made for people who are new to this world. If you’re already familiar with it, just skip over this section.
If you’re researching so, you can buy your first semi- or super-automatic coffee machine, then you’re probably currently using a drip-brew coffee maker. Those machines rely on gravity to convey the coffee from the grounds chamber and into your waiting pot or cup.
Machines like the Z6 are different. They use pressure as an integral part of the brewing process. Pressure is measured in bars, with one bar being equal to atmospheric pressure at sea level.
It takes at least 9 bars of pressure to make a good espresso shot, and the Z6’s pump is rated at 15 bars so that you won’t have any difficulty on that front! Your machine’s pump has all the power you need to get world-class espresso, every time you use it.
Cup Warming Tray
This will be a short section because despite being loaded with so many other features, the simple truth is that a warming tray was not incorporated into the Z6’s design. In most other machines, this could be seen as problematic, because specialty coffee drinks are designed to be enjoyed at temperatures lower than Americans are used to drinking coffee.
Where the Z6 is concerned though, it’s essentially a non-issue, because the model offers such a high degree of control over temperature settings.
If you wanted to pre-warm your cup anyway, the simplest workaround would be to fill it with hot water while you’re setting everything up, then just empty it into the drip tray when you’re ready to brew.
Surprisingly Easy to Use & Clean
It goes without saying that a machine with as many features as this one offers is going to have a bit of a learning curve. That’s unavoidable, but Jura really outdid themselves in terms of making the system easy to learn, navigate, and ultimately master.
With so many options to program, and so many drinks to customize to your particular tastes, the initial setup and configuration can be a bit daunting, and it may take a week or two before you get everything just the way you want it.
Once you do though, it’s amazingly easy to use, and you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.
Where cleaning is concerned, all the things you need to clean manually (drip tray, brew unit, dregs box, grinder, milk tube, etc.) are easy to access, and the automated routines are straightforward and easy to attend to as well.
There’s no question that a super-automatic requires more maintenance than your average drip-brew coffee maker, but you won’t find it particularly challenging or bothersome.
Pros and Cons of the Jura Z6 Coffee Machine
As you can see, there’s a lot to like about the Jura Z6, and we’re big fans of the model. However, there are a few things we’d love to see in a future model upgrade. None of these are deal breakers, but we feel they would enhance what is already a great machine. In no particular order, they are:
Jura Z6 Review Conclusion
And that wraps up our Jura Z6 review.
In a nutshell, we love it. A few nits aside (covered above), the only things that prevents us from recommending it to absolutely everyone is its hefty price tag, which sadly, will put it out of the reach of a fair segment of the market.
That’s a pity, because the Jura Z6 super-automatic coffee machine is one of the best on the market today, and we recommend it without hesitation, for anyone, but regard it as ideal for:
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