Jura Impressa A1 Review: Espresso And The Little Black Box
Jura zeros in on the essentials of espresso with its Jura A1 superautomatic espresso machine.
What do you get when pure, clean water is heated to just the right temperature and pushed with just enough pressure through fresh, evenly ground espresso? You get arguably one of the most delicious forms of extracted coffee: the espresso shot.
Jura has taken away all of the fluff and focused on creating the perfect environment for the process of espresso extraction. With the A1, Jura has ensured the water is hot, the grounds are fine, and the pressure is strong.
Is It Worth Your Money?
If you’re looking for a fine-tuned espresso drink without the milk, this machine is worth the investment.
No, it does not steam milk. Instead, all of Jura’s focus has been put in the process of espresso extraction.
Of course, you can find espresso machines that are a lot less expensive, ones that feature a steaming wand. But with the Jura name and reputation, you can bet time and quality has been invested in this machine so that you can enjoy finely extracted espresso for years to come.
Detailed Review and Breakdown
The Jura A1 is one of the sleeker espresso machines on the market. Its compact, all-black, minimalist design will sit inconspicuously on any kitchen counter, and blend right into any modern home.
For such a small machine, the Jura A1 is incredibly fast. It will make drink after drink in just a few minutes before the water needs to be refilled. This is all thanks to its speedy Aroma G3 conical burr grinder and quick-heat thermoblock boiler.
Although the brewing process is fast, the espresso is still very high quality; largely because of Jura’s P.E.P. (Pulse Extraction Process) method. P.E.P technology allows the A1 to push heated water through the portafilter in bursts, promoting only the best flavor extraction from the grounds.
Other than Jura’s detailed focus on shot quality, the rest of the machine is incredibly simple. All that’s visible on the outside of the Jura A1 is the coffee spout and a few buttons up top.
The buttons will allow you to select how much espresso will drip into your cup. And, it gives you the choice of two different coffee strengths. The water tank and bean hopper disappear into the streamline black paneling up top.
- Jura’s smallest espresso machine at 9”W x 17.5”D x 12.7”H
- A heavy machine despite its small size – nearly 20 pounds
- P.E.P. (Pulse Extraction Process)
- Will alert you when the water needs to be refilled or the dreg bin needs to be emptied
- Automatic shut off
- Jura Aroma G3 conical burr grinder
- Adjustable spout
Ease of Use and Reliability
Finding an espresso machine that’s easier to use than this one may be a challenge. As the options on this machine are limited, you won’t have to deal with confusion trying to figure out how to program a complicated drink.
As long as the bean hopper and water tank are full, all you need to do is push either the ristretto, espresso, or regular coffee button, and off it goes. You can program how long the machine should extract espresso based on each coffee setting. And, you can choose either a 7 or 10 gram shot with the press of a button. That’s it. There’s nothing else to it.
- Simple, compact design that’s easy to use
- Quick and quiet operation
- High-quality espresso shot, ristretto, or long coffee
- P.E.P (Pulse Extraction Process)
- No milk steaming function
- Small capacity
- Limited programmability
The Jura A1 is at the higher end of the price spectrum for small, compact espresso machines. This is especially true considering the A1 is lacking any milk steaming capability. However, it is fast, quiet, and made with high-quality parts, as evidenced by its hefty twenty pounds of weight for such a small machine.
If you are interested in purchasing the Jura A1, you will be looking to spend between $700 and $1000.
Who Is This For?
The Jura A1 is a super automatic espresso machine designed for coffee purists who are willing to spend a bit of money on properly extracted coffee. The Jura A1 does not mess around with milk.
Best meant for the espresso junkie, the Jura A1 can quickly pull multiple espresso shots in a row without needing a refill. So, the quad espresso drinker will not be let down. This machine does not spit out hot water either. So when we say espresso purist, we mean it. No Americano drinkers allowed.
For the vast majority of you who enjoy milk with your espresso, you will be vastly disappointed by the Jura A1. Yes, you can buy independent milk steamers to accompany this espresso machine. But, Jura makes very good automatic espresso machines that will both pull espresso and steam milk for you at a very good price.
The Jura A1 is not a typical espresso machine. Therefore, it’s meant for an atypical part of the espresso loving population. Most of us would do better with the more popular combo milk steaming/espresso pulling machine, especially when many combo style machines are available at around the same price point as the Jura A1.
That being said, the Jura A1 is a well designed, well built, attractive, compact machine. It will be a solid workhorse for the devoted single, double, triple or quad espresso drinker for years to come. Its efficient cleaning system makes maintenance and upkeep just as simple as its espresso production.
Other Options Worth Looking At
If you want a small, dependable machine like the Jura A1, but with the milk steaming feature, then we would suggest the Gaggia Classic to you. Gaggia is another high-quality espresso machine manufacturer.
Their Gaggia Classic produces really fine espresso while featuring an easy to use pannarello steam wand. So, you can enjoy just about any espresso drink you want, with or without milk.
If you like the sound of the Gaggia option but you’re not too fond of the manual nature of a steam wand, check out the Saeco Incanto Carafe Super-Automatic Espresso machine. It’s a couple hundred dollars more than the Jura A1 but it will automatically steam milk for you into your coffee cup. And, like the Jura A1 the Saeco Incanto is very easy to operate.