If you know me you’ll know I love coffee. If you know me and don’t realise how much I love coffee then the next time you bump into me ask and I’ll be happy to bore you for hours about it. If you don’t know me then take it from me – I love coffee.
Not just any old coffee mind. I can just about tolerate Starbucks coffee (aside: if you think Starbucks coffee is good coffee then let me assure you it’s the junk food of the coffee world – it’s ok but not a patch on the good stuff), I don’t drink instant coffee because it’s all universally terrible and if I find a place that makes great coffee – such as Bean Loved in Skipton – I stick with it.
So a few years ago we bought a Gaggia Classic coffee machine. It’s one of those ones where you get some freshly ground coffee, put it in a holder, twist it in place, hit a button to run the hot water through into a cup, put some milk in a jug, flick a switch to heat the machine up more so it can generate steam, put the jug under a pipe, fire some steam through it until it runs out of puff, wait, then run some more through until the milk’s up to temperature, then pour into the mug and job done – you have a latte. As you’ll gather it was a time consuming process, you could only make 2 cups at a time, but it made a hell of a good cup of coffee (once I figured out how to get the best out of it).
A few years and many cups of coffee later and the amount of effort it took to make a cup of coffee was starting to take its toll. If we had friends round and I made a coffee for everyone it would take an age (2 at a time you see). Sometimes I’d screw up the milk frothing or overfill the coffee loader and blast ground coffee all over the kitchen. But most importantly I’m not a morning person and when I get up bleary eyed and grouchy I find a delicious fresh latte is the only thing to bring me to the land of the living. However as I spend every second I can in bed, the last thing I want to do is have to get up 10 minutes earlier just to make a cup of coffee. Things had to change.
A couple of years back a good friend of mine (who likes coffee even more than I do) decided to buy a fully automatic Jura coffee machine. If you take a look at their range you’ll see that they are very expensive. At the time I thought that while I’d love to have one, I just couldn’t justify spending what would buy two round the world airline tickets and only made a hot beverage. However I do feel very rough and get very grumpy in the morning so I started, foolishly, by asking my friend if he thought his coffee machine was worth it. Turns out it’s a brilliant piece of kit that makes the perfect cup of coffee every time, is very well engineered and can easily handle making the copious amounts of coffee he drinks.
I then resorted to the web and found the Seattle Coffee Gear channel on YouTube where I watched loads of reviews and demonstrations of many different machines. I wanted a fully automatic one that ground the coffee, heated up the milk, and basically did it all for you at the touch of a button. Oh, and preferably one that wasn’t expensive. Turns out that there is no such coffee machine and you get what you pay for. And that the Jura ones are very highly recommended.
Normally my wife would be the voice of reason and talk me out of such an expensive appliance purchase, but you see if anything she’s more of a coffee addict than I am so it was like asking a car salesman if I should buy a new car. Soon after we found ourselves in Peter Maturi in Leeds (the only place around that stocks such hideously expensive coffee machines) trying out the various Jura machines (we needed to see if the top of the range one really was that much better than the bottom) and several cups of coffee later walked out with a shiny new Jura Impressa J9 machine.
This was a couple of months ago so we’ve had a good time to see if it really is worth the money and if I’ve been able to make myself a cup every day. The bottom line is yes and yes! So to make a perfect latte you get a milk bottle out of the fridge, run a tube from the machine into the milk, put a cup under the nozzle and press a button. Walk away for a minute, come back and you’ve got the perfect latte ready to drink. My wife prefers stronger cappuccino’s – no problem! You can program each button to your exact tastes and job done. Switch it off and walk away while it cleans itself out. Fantastic!
It does seem a bit more demanding though as it tells you when to put more water in, when to empty the drip tray, when to put more coffee beans in, when to give it a deep clean (you just put a tablet in and press a button though) and when to replace the filter (no limescale here). However it doesn’t do it very frequently and is a small price to pay for one-touch operation. The only problem is that it’s so easy to make a great cup of coffee that you end up drinking more than you used to. Still, it keeps our local coffee bean shop in business and I’m all for supporting the local economy!
So next time you’re round my way, drop by and I won’t grimace when you ask for a cup of coffee – it’s only the press of a button away!
I like coffee but I am not knowledgeable about it at all.
Out of curiosity, on your scale from 0 (American coffee or instant coffee) to 10 (coffee nirvana, the kind of coffee legends talk about) where would you place Nespresso?
Actually the coffee is quality is very good. The only problem is you’re restricted by the beans you as you have to use the capsules and can’t go and buy your own (there are an amazing range of different strengths and tastes of coffee bean out there). Plus I always think the running costs of Nespresso is high – I can get 500g of amazing coffee beans for about £4 which lasts me ages, whereas those capsules add up when you drink a lot of coffee. Still, if you’ve got one and you’re not obsessed with coffee, you’ll do alright with one!
Hi John. That looks like a serious (and expensive) piece of kit. When I look at major purchases like this, I usually apply the budgetary logic of a friend of the wifes, i.e. if, in its lifetime, it costs less than £1 per use (not including ingredients) then you’re probably OK buying it. So, using the aforesaid logic I’d imagine your coffee addiction will ensure you get good value from your Jura.
For me though, I enjoy the process involved in making espresso etc using the less automated approach…makes me feel like I’m getting something special (a bit like uncorking wine I guess, rather than unscrewing a cap).
By the way, you’re spot-on about Bean Loved – you mentioned it a while ago and I tried it out on a visit Skipton, now its my main excuse to go to Skipton!
Yeah Phil, I think I’m just too lazy, that’s the trouble! But I reckon it’ll pay for itself in no time! 😉
Glad you like Bean Loved – it’s a really nice place and well worth a trip to Skipton!
wow, you really do love your coffee !!
I’d love a machine like that, but 1) I don’t think I could justify the price and 2) actually I don’t think it would fit in my kitchen!
So I have to make do with a Keurig – no lattes or cappuccinos, I’m afraid, but still, a perfect hot cup of coffee in just a few seconds, so I’m not complaining! (Especially not after having my 8th cup of the day – whee!)
It’s actually not as big as it looks! However as long as you’re happy with your set up then no worries! I’m not a fan of black coffee so always drink lattes – otherwise we could probably have saved a fortune! 😉
I’m obviously more of a morning person than you as I don’t mind making a breakfast latte with my Gaggia.
What I have to go with my espresso machine and grinder is my subscription coffee – Hallas’s coffee is ok, but there is better… Get yourself a subscription from hasbean and each Saturday (or, as has recently been the case Monday or Tuesday by the time the postie delivers) you get a packet of lovely freshly roasted coffee beans and on their website (inmymug.com) you get a video telling you all about the week’s beans so you get a coffee education at the same time as enjoying a wide range of different coffees. I don’t work for them, honest!
That hasbean subscription looks like a great idea! Thanks for the info Steve, I think I’ll get that a try! 🙂
Thanks for a great Background tool. I often take a cup of Cappuccino or similar from my machine (a Bosch, from Germany)and look at my many pictures from the past. You are right about coffee quality of beans.
The big problem I have is that when i run the machine during “nigthhacking” or early mornings(rare): The grinder wake my wife,(the dog doesn´t care).
Do you use Arabic or Columbian cofebeens?
I am from Sweden and we Was the biggest consumer in the world/capita, I do not how it is now-days.
I’m green with envy. I don’t know if they even sell those here in the states.
Heh heh, it rocks! And I do believe you can get them in the US in specialist coffee shops! Well worth testing out if nothing else!