Many super-automatic espresso machines pull beautiful espresso and brew myriad milk-based drinks at the touch of a button. However, every coffee enthusiast has different tastes, and, for some, only the best black coffee will suffice.
The Jura A1 is aimed squarely at coffee purists for whom milk-based espresso drinks are anathema. Jura A1 is selected as one of our top 10 espresso machines, check out the full list here. But is it up to the task? What black coffee options does it offer? Also, is it better than the alternatives?
This review goes in-depth on the Jura A1 to offer detailed answers to those questions and others. It also gives an overview of two alternatives.
By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding as to whether the Jura A1 is the machine to meet your black coffee needs.
Jura A1 Automatic Coffee Machine Review
Jura A1 Automatic Coffee Machine Summary
- One of the most affordable Jura models
- Equipped with the latest Jura tech, including Aroma G3 and P.E.P for full flavors and full aroma
- On-touch operation for ristretto, espresso, and coffee
- Not suitable if you are looking for milk-based coffee drinks
Design And Build Quality
At first glance, you’ll find a sleek, box-shaped machine with a minimalist appearance that will complement the sophistication of most modern kitchens. Indeed, it doesn’t look dissimilar to its predecessor, the Jura ENA Micro 1.
The A1 is one of the less expensive Jura machines, and, as such, the housing material is mainly plastic. Nevertheless, there is a chrome spout and drip tray to add a touch more quality and premium aesthetic. Meanwhile, the Jura A1 is available in a gorgeous glossy piano black or piano white.
Meanwhile, the look and feel of the machine are solid and robust. The A1’s weight bears this out – it’s pretty heavy, weighing just shy of 20lbs. However, it’s still compact enough to fit comfortably on most kitchen countertops, measuring W 9.4in x D 17.5in x H 12.7in.
A concealed lid holds the bean hopper at the top of the machine. Flip open the lid, and pour in up to 4.4oz of coffee beans.
Also, towards the front and on the right-hand side of the top is a bypass doser for adding pre-ground coffee. The capacity is limited, holding just one scoop of grounds (unlike the two scoops afforded to other Jura machines). However, it’s useful to have the option when you’re out of whole beans or just want to try other coffee.
An identical flip lid is on the left-hand side, symmetrical to the bypass doser. Open this, and you’ll find the grinder setting.
At the rear of the machine is the 36.8oz capacity water tank. The tank also houses a water filter – standard in Jura machines.
The chrome spout in the center of the machine is adjustable to leave a clearance of between 2.5in and 5.5in, which is good for most cup sizes.
Overall, the Jura A1 is attractive, minimalist, and robust with a pleasing symmetry. Not only that, but its uncluttered design extends to the buttons on top of this slimline one-cup machine – there are just three for brewing your preferred black coffee beverage, lending the A1 the welcome impression of being easy to use.
The Jura A1 has just three drinks options, and you choose them via each of the three buttons on top of the machine. So, you can brew a ristretto, an espresso, or a regular coffee. The ristretto is a shorter version of traditional espresso. It’s more intense than espresso but slightly sweeter. Meanwhile, the regular coffee option brews a beverage akin to Americano (espresso with hot water).
Because the A1 is a specialty black coffee machine, there’s no milk frothing system. So if you’re looking for a super-automatic espresso machine that makes drinks like cappuccino, latte, or other speciality coffee beverages, it won’t be suitable unless you use a separate milk frother to make your beverages.
Jura prides itself on producing machines with plenty of programmability and customization options. Indeed, in some of its high-end machines, you can choose the temperature and volume of your coffee and milk, and even decide the order of the espresso and milk when brewing a milk-based espresso drink. But, of course, the A1 is different because it only has three black coffee options. Therefore, it’s understandable that it has far less scope for programming and customization. However, there are some options.
As we mentioned earlier, the A1 has three drinks options. There are also two coffee strengths. The one-bean coffee strength option brews using 7g of beans. Meanwhile, for those who prefer a more robust drink, the three-bean option (slightly confusingly, there isn’t a two-bean option) uses 10g. You can also customize the volume of water of each cup size. Let’s take a closer look.
You can set the amount of water for the cup size. So, if you set it once, it will dispense the same amount of water for that drink option in the future.
Let’s say you want to adjust the amount of espresso to the cup size. Here’s how to do it.
- Position your cup underneath the dual spout
- Touch the espresso symbol for three seconds until the ristretto and coffee symbols appear
- Release the espresso symbol, and the espresso will brew. The espresso symbol and coffee strength symbol will flash.
- Once you have enough espresso in your cup, touch the espresso symbol to stop the flow.
- The amount of water for the espresso is now stored.
- The espresso symbol and coffee strength symbol will flash until the machine is ready to use again.
If you want to change the setting, simply go through the steps above again, stopping the beverage’s flow on the required amount.
One of the most significant upgrades from the Jura ENA Micro 1 is the addition of the Pulse Extraction Process (P.E.P). This technology ensures the pre-infusion of the coffee puck by forcing hot water through it at short intervals. The benefits? The maximum flavor extraction, fullest aroma, and best possible coffee. It’s available in the latest Jura models.
There is a variable brewing unit for 6g to 10g of coffee (depending on the coffee strength you choose) to ensure the perfect brewing conditions for excellent coffee at all times.
Meanwhile, the Jura A1 houses the upgraded Aroma G3 grinder, which grinds at twice the speed of the previous G2 grinder while losing none of the quality and consistency. Of course, the fact there is a high-quality built-in grinder also means you don’t need to spend extra on a separate grinder.
Finally, the Jura A1 has five grind settings which you select via the grind setting dial on top of the machine.
Coffee Drink Quality
Compared to other Jura machines, the Jura A1 is decidedly no-frills and more affordable. However, that doesn’t mean it compromises on the most important element – the quality of the coffee it produces.
The machine easily outperforms cheaper espresso machines, producing cup after cup of rich, flavorful espresso with beautiful crema. In contrast, lesser machines tend to produce less flavorful beverages with a far thinner layer of crema.
The coffee even looks gorgeous as it appears in your cup, dispensing enticing pillows of creamy espresso beneath that rich bed of crema before settling into a truly authentic espresso.
The coffee the Jura A1 produces is also hot, so if you harbor reservations about the coffee being lukewarm, you can rest assured that isn’t the case here.
Ease Of Use
Using the Jura A1 could barely be simpler. First, turn the machine on using the power button. Then, pour your coffee beans into the bean hopper and close the lid. Next, place your cup under the spout, then choose your desired strength and cup size. The machine will then grind the beans and brew the coffee.
The machine works quickly, too. For example, selecting the largest coffee size using regular strength will produce a beautiful bean-to-cup beverage in just one minute 10 seconds. Meanwhile, it takes just four seconds to grind the beans, which it does quietly enough to leave others undisturbed early in the morning.
There are no concerns over forgetting to switch the machine off after use either, thanks to the patented zero-energy switch. So, after around five minutes idle, the brightness of the symbols lowers to indicate the machine has entered that setting ensuring high energy efficiency.
There is a one-piece drip tray and spent coffee puck container (with a nine-puck capacity) that will need removing from the front and emptying daily. If you forget, don’t worry – a symbol on top of the machine indicates when it needs clearing. Similarly, when it’s time to add more water, another symbol will alert you.
The machine comes with a CLEARYL Blue filter cartridge that ensures that you won’t need to descale the machine as long as you activate it and regularly replace it. The filter will need to change after every 2,000 ounces (60 liters) of water or 1,000 espresso shots. However, they are inexpensive.
While the filter will save you plenty of hassle, you can easily descale the machine using Jura descaling tablets if you don’t have one. After every 180 preparations or 80 switch-on rinses, you’ll receive a prompt to clean it.
Value For Money
Like all Jura machines, the A1 is not cheap, even though it’s the most affordable. However, there’s no denying it produces the highest quality espresso. Indeed, the coffee quality’s as good as far more expensive Jura machines.
If you’re strictly an espresso drinker, a semi-automatic machine in the same price range might offer more control over the brewing process. Meanwhile, the additional steam wand would allow for milk drinks. However, there’s a steeper learning curve with a manual brewing process, and you’d need a separate espresso grinder.
Meanwhile, single-serve capsule machines like Nespresso are cheaper, but the coffee flavor isn’t as good as espresso brewed using fresh beans. Also, over time, a Nespresso machine would likely cost you more because of the extra expense of the pods over fresh beans.
If you usually buy your espresso daily from a coffee shop, the A1 can pay for itself in a year. In short, despite not being cheap, the Jura A1 offers great value for money, particularly considering Jura has such a pristine reputation in the world of super-automatic espresso machines.
Drawbacks are few and far between, but there are a couple to be aware of.
The rear location of the water reservoir is a great space-saver. However, it’s harder to get to than one at the front or side. Therefore, you’ll need to lift it out to refill it. So, filling it with a kettle is your best option.
Another minor issue is the brew group isn’t removable, so you can’t simply remove it and rinse it. Because it’s fixed in the machine, it’s susceptible to coffee residue and mold build-ups. However, one saving grace is as a milk-free machine, it minimizes the chance of a bacteria build-up.
Jura A1 Alternatives
Tchibo Fully Automatic Coffee Machine
|Tchibo Fully Automatic Coffee & Espresso Machine...||1,436 Reviews||See on Amazon|
Last update on 2022-08-03 / As an Amazon Associate, if you buy via the links, Brewcoffeehome earns a commission at no extra cost to you.
Tchibo is a German brand with a solid reputation, and this machine, like the A1, only brews espresso and coffee. It’s even more compact than the Jura A1 and costs half as much. Another advantage is the brew group is removable for easy cleaning. Like the A1, it produces beautiful espresso with authentic crema quickly. However, the A1 has a more impressive aesthetic, and the PEP brewing system is superior.
This is another Jura machine built for espresso only. It is more compact than the A1 and is more stylish. There is also more scope for customization, and its build uses better-quality materials. Like the A1, it also has Pulse Extraction Process PEP technology with the Aroma G3 grinder. Also, it has 3D brewing technology for a more even grounds extraction and is Wi-Fi enabled, so you can control it with the J.O.E. app via a smartphone. Overall, it’s an upgrade on the A1, but it is more expensive.
If your domestic brewing focus is fixed firmly on perfect espresso and black coffee, the Jura A1 is one of the best machines around.
The machine looks amazing, and it’s also compact, cheaper than other Jura machines, and easy to clean and maintain.
The mere fact this is a Jura machine means it’s worth further investigation. The Swiss company enjoys a deservedly stellar reputation for the quality of its super-automatic espresso machines, so any espresso machine carrying its name is almost guaranteed to offer coffee shop-quality coffee.
The Jura A1 is no exception, producing the highest quality espresso. That quality should mean that before long, you’re waving goodbye to expensive coffee shop-bought espresso in favor of the gorgeous coffee produced by the A1.
If black coffee is your focus – or you have a separate milk frother to turn espresso into milk-based beverages – the A1 is as good as anything on the market in its price category.