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Saeco vs. Jura Automatic Espresso Machines

Saeco vs. Jura Automatic Espresso Machines 2019

Offering the utmost convenience, superautomatic espresso machines have revolutionized espresso technology - taking the intensive, and often nuanced process of grinding and brewing the perfect espresso, and encapsulating the entire process in one single, easy to use machine. This week at Consiglio’s we take a look at just how superautomatic espresso machines work, and what differentiates the different models available from the top brands available on the market today - Saeco and Jura.

What is a superautomatic espresso machine?

A super-automatic espresso machine is defined by having a built-in bean grinder and brew system. At the touch of a button, the machine is able to freshly grind a dosage of espresso beans and extract a selected espresso beverage. While in entry-level models this can a single or double short or long espresso, mid- and upper-level machines offer increased versatility and variety in beverage selection, and can make everything from a cappuccino to macchiato with nothing more than a touch of a button - units with this ability to automatically make espresso and milk beverages are typically referred to as OTC, or One-Touch Cappuccino machines.

Both Saeco and Jura got their start with superautomatic espresso machines thirty years ago in the mid-1980’s. Saeco (est. 1981) launched their first superautomatic espresso machines from their manufacturing facility in Bologna, Italy in 1985. Jura, on the other hand, is a Swiss-based company established in 1931, expanding into espresso machines and household appliances in the mid 80’s.

Both Saeco and Jura are pioneers of superautomatic espresso technology, and have revolutionized the field - however, there are some very important differences between the two lines.

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In the name of being as thorough as possible, this article is quite a bit longer than most of our posts. Read straight through to get the full breakdown of our comparison, or use the menu below to jump directly to a specific section! 

Saeco vs. Jura - Basic Tech and Specks Breakdown 

Saeco vs. Jura Basic Tech and Specs Summary

Saeco vs. Jura Price Point and Model Options 


 

Saeco vs. Jura - Basic Tech and Specs Breakdown

Short on time, or looking for a specific answer? Click here to jump directly to our Saeco vs. Jura Basic Tech and Specs Summary

Grinders: As the very first step in the brewing process, grinders can have an enormous impact on the final quality of an espresso. How whole beans are broken down into grounds, the materials used in the grinder, and the final size and texture of the ground espresso have an outcome on the quality of the final beverage.

Both Saeco and Jura use conical burr grinders in their automatic espresso machines. Conical burr grinders work by drawing whole espresso beans in between two burrs, crushing them into uniformly sized particles. Conical burr grinders are highly adjustable, and offer stellar consistency in final grind size and quality.

Saeco uses ceramic for their grinders, whereas Jura use stainless steel - ceramic burrs give off less heat during the grinding process so as to ensure the abrasive act of grinding the bean in no way alters and affects the final flavour of the espresso extraction. When first introduced, ceramic grinders were quite a bit quieter than their stainless steel counterparts, however Jura has refined their burr design to create a shockingly quite grinder - even quieter than the ceramic burrs of Saeco. One notable drawback to the stainless steel burrs of the Jura line is that, with frequent high-level usage they will dull faster than their ceramic counterparts - however, this dulling process takes years and years of frequent usage to occur.

Both Saeco and Jura grinders offer extensive adjustment options for both grind size and dosage per extraction.

Boiler Systems: The boiler system of an espresso machine is, quite simply, the means by which the unit heats water for brewing espresso and steaming/frothing milk. The drawback? Brewing an optimal espresso requires a lower temperature than the point at which water steams - meaning that a superautomatic espresso machine needs a boiler system that can produce water at both required temperatures.

In a single boiler system, once an espresso is extracted the boiler can take almost a full minute to heat up to the point where steam can be produced for frothing milk, and then requires a “cool down” time before another espresso can be brewed. While this can drastically increase the length of time required to produce a cappuccino or latte - and create significant wait times when producing multiple beverages - it has no effect on those users who typically only produce one beverage at a time, or those users who only make short and long espressos or americanos. For example, the Jura Micro 1 unit does not come with any milk frothing capability thus only requires a single boiler system. The Saeco X-Small  and Minuto Pure are both single-boiler units.

A great and innovative response to the delays of steaming and frothing with a single boiler system is rapid steam technology - using a series a valves, rapid steam technology allows a single boiler to switch from brewing an espresso to steaming milk within 15 to 20 seconds, and allows for brewing to resume immediately after frothing without the cool-down period characteristic of single boiler machines. With the exception of the single-boiler entry level machines mentioned above, the vast majority of both Saeco and Jura superautomatic espresso machines use rapid steam technology.

Double boiler systems bypass the delays caused by single boiler systems entirely by having one boiler specifically for steam, and one designated for espresso extraction. This technology naturally necessitates a machine having much larger dimensions, and is reserved for higher-end machines designed specifically for large outputs in semi-professional to commercial environments. The Saeco Royal B2C and the Jura Giga line both feature double boilers.

Milk Frothing and SteamingThere are two types of frothing systems available for automatic espresso machines: manual panarello steam-wand frothers, and fully integrated automatic frothing systems.


Typically found on units at lower price points, panarello frothers require milk be steamed manually as a separate step in the beverage making process. Despite the drawback in convenience, manual frothers hold an advantage in control and versatility as they allow the user to froth or steam specifically to their preference.

Automatic milk frothers are designed specifically to streamline the process of making milk-based espresso beverages such as cappuccinos and lattes, offering these beverage options at the touch of the button - hence, why units with automatic frothers are commonly referred to as “OTC” or One Touch Cappuccino machines. Once a beverage is selected from the menu of the unit, milk is automatically drawn in from an external carafe or container, frothed or steamed to the beverage’s requirements, and dispensed directly into the cup, completing the beverage all in one step. While one-touch frothing technology streamlines the beverage making process, the convenience of automatic frothing systems feature one key drawback in that the temperature of the final milk-based beverage produced will never quite be as hot as one made with a manual frother - this, however, can easily be countered by pre-warming a cup prior to brewing.

While performance of manual frothing systems for both Jura and Saeco are comparable, Jura holds a distinct advantage for automatic frothing systems with their patented Fine Foam frothing technology consistently producing a better textured foam.

Offering the best of both worlds, Saeco’s Exprellia Evo and Royal B2C offer both a manual panarello frothing wand and integrated automatic one-touch frothing systems.

Digital Display and Usability: Though both Saeco and Jura offer a range of customizable options and beverage selections (especially on higher-end OTC models), the brands differ in how they make these options available. The primary point-of-contact for automatic units, the digital display or user interface of an automatic espresso machine determines how a user will interact with the unit - how preferences such as strength, volume and temperature can be programmed or selected, which beverage options are available and customizable, maintenance needs and error codes are all communicated through the display system.

Saeco’s user interfaces are tiered relative to the price point of the machine - entry level models such as the X-Small and Minuto Pure use either a selection-dial or backlit LCD buttons, and mid-range units such as the Intelia Focus and Minuto Focus begin to transition into basic displays and digital interfaces. Only in the advanced, upper-end Saeco units do digital displays begin to appear - the GranBaristo features a digital display while the new Avanti features Bluetooth technology, turning any tablet and most smart devices into a mobile digital interface.

While Jura is similar in that their entry models also begin with rotary-switch or button-based interfaces, their mid-range models quickly transition into fully digital, intuitive displays - the A9 features a full-colour touch screen interface for easy visual-based programming and beverage selection, offering 12 distinct, customizable drink options at a swipe of the finger.

Design and Aesthetics: Superautomatic espresso machines are arguably much more than the function they serve - they are aesthetic, stylish and eye-catching machines that stand out in any visual kitchenscape. Yes, their primary function is brewing and beverage-production, but their is no denying that many of them simply look darn good while doing it.

Saeco’s “look” is characterised by rounded-edges and soft lines, with entry and mid-range models sporting matte black or silver plastic housings with little to-no textural or visual contrast. The Exprelia Evo is a unique addition, boasting a brushed stainless steel casing, and upper-end Saeco models such as the GranBaristo and Avanti introduce dark silver or grey front panels to create contrast and distinction from the black display area.

 

Jura, on the other hand, uses sharp angles and crisp clean lines to give their machines a sleek, professional appearance. Metallic finishes and chrome accents are used to give visual contrast to front-plates - even the entry model Micro One, which features a sheer unadorned piano black front face features a chrome spout, an accent which gives the machine a classy yet minimalist aesthetic.

Mindful of space constraints - increasingly apparent in professional condo dwellings and smaller, minimalist modern living styles - both Saeco and Jura offer small, compact units capable of fitting seamlessly into even the smallest living spaces. For Saeco, look to their X-Small machines, and for Jura the Micro One - these machines are designed to minimize size while not sacrificing quality or functionality.

Pairing high quality components and casing materials with a keen eye for design, Jura’s superior aesthetic is easily distinguished and sets it well above competing lines - Saeco included.

Maintenance: Proper upkeep, descaling and basic maintenance are easily the biggest factors in the lifespan of a superautomatic espresso machine. Acknowledging this, Saeco units are designed with a removable brew group - a feature that allows for it to be removed and rinsed every couple days, eliminating the need for cleaning tablets to maintain the brew group. Jura unfortunately does not offer this feature, making cleaning both more costly and time consuming.

Although in many ways superior to the Saeco line, Jura units will cost more to clean and maintain, whether it be descaling supplies, cleaning tablets or replacement filters.

Environmental Impact: Mindful of environmental impact and energy waste both Saeco and Jura offer energy-reduction features. Saeco offers auto-standby and shut-off features, and Jura offers and energy-saving standby mode with programmable shut-off times and a zero-energy switch. 


 Saeco vs. Jura - Basic Tech and Specs Summary

 

Saeco

Jura

Grinders:

  • Ceramic conical burr grinder; gives off less heat during the grinding process, less likely to dull with high usage over time.
  • Adjustable grind size and dosage options
  • Stainless steel conical burr grinder; though typically louder than ceramic, Jura has optimized their design to produce the quietest grinder possible - arguably more silent than Saeco.
  • Giga 5 features ceramic grinder
  • Adjustable grind size and dosage options

Boilers:

  • Micro 1 does not come with milk capabilities, needs only a single boiler.
  • Vast majority of units use Rapid Steam technology
  • Giga line features double boilers

Milk Frothers:

  • Fine foam frothing technology consistently produces thicker, creamier foam

Digital Display and User Interface:

  • Entry-level units feature rotary dial or back-lit LCD buttons, with mid-range units transitioning to simple displays.
  • Digital displays only available on top-of-the-line units, with Avanti offering Bluetooth technology and tablet compatibility
  • Entry units feature rotary-switch and button interfaces, but mid-range units quickly transition to high-quality digital displays.
  • A9 Slide and Touch features full colour digital touch-screen interface.

Design and Aesthetics:

  • Rounded angles and soft lines
  • Compact X-Small ideal for small or constrained spaces
  • Sharp lines and angles give sleek, professional appearance
  • High-quality materials
  • Micro One ideal for small spaces
  • Recipient of the prestigious Red Dot Design award

Maintenance:

  • Removable brew unit makes for easy regular rinsing, eliminating the need for costly cleaning tablets
  • Descaling supplies, replacement filters and cleaning tablets make Jura units more costly to clean and maintain than the Saeco line.

Environmental Impact:

  • Offers auto-standby mode to reduce energy waste
  • Energy saving mode, with programmable shut off time and zero-energy switches minimize energy impact.

 


Saeco vs. Jura - Price Points and Model Options

When comparing Saeco and Jura espresso machines, there’s no easy way to get around the biggest difference between the two: their price differential. While Saeco’s entry models currently* start between $500-600 for the X-Small, Jura’s entry level Micro One will come in at double that at $1100 - not a small difference by any means. What’s important to consider when comparing these numbers, however, is the difference in quality, longevity and features between the two lines.

*pricing for both lines fluctuate across time depending on the comparable values of the Canadian dollar and the Euro. Please be sure to check the brand pages for both Saeco and Jura in our online store for up-to-date pricing information!

In the section below, we’ll compare models from both Jura and Saeco for their entry, mid, and upper end-price points. While the available features, design perks and options vary between price models for each brand, keep in mind that for the most part basic functionality is essentially similar. All machines (with the exception of the Micro One, which does not have milk capabilities) will be able to make all beverages - the difference lies in the number of steps required to do so, and the number of variable options available.


Entry Level : Saeco X-Small Rapid Steam vs. Jura Micro One

Small, compact and designed to fit into any living space, the Saeco X-Small and Jura Micro One double as the entry model for each brand.

 

Saeco X-Small

Jura Micro One

  • 29.5 x 42.0 x 32.5 cm
  • Manual panarello milk frother
  • Able to brew 2 cups simultaneously
  • Bypass for ground coffee available
  • Rotary-dial interface
  • Rapid Steam for quickly and easily switching from brewing to frothing and steaming
  • Water Tank: 1L
  • Bean Container: 180g
  • Used Grounds Drawer: 8 Servings
  • 23 x 32.3 x 44.5 cm
  • No milk option available - only makes espresso (short or long) and coffee. See the Micro 9 for Jura’s smallest machine w/ milk frothing.
  • Single serving per brew
  • Bypass for ground coffee available
  • Basic symbol display
  • Water Tank: 1.1L
  • Bean Container: 125g
  • Used Grounds Drawer: 9 Servings
  • Clearyl Blue Water Filter

The biggest difference between the X-Small and Micro One is in the beverage options available - while the X-Small features a manual pannarello frother, the Micro One does not have a milk option available, meaning that milk must be frothed completely separately from the unit for latte or cappuccino drinks. What the Micro One lacks in versatility it makes up in design and longevity - a sleek, professional, angular design gives the Jura Micro One a minimalist appeal.

 

Mid-Range: Saeco Moltio Carafe vs. Jura Impressa F8

Each featuring increased convenience and “perks” that set them apart from the entry-level units above, the Saeco Moltio Carafe and Jura Impressa F8 are good benchmarks for the mid-range units available from Saeco and Jura.

 

Saeco Moltio Carafe

Jura Impressa F8

  • 25.6 x 47.0 x 35.0cm
  • Automatic milk frother for one-touch milk beverages
  • Rapid Steam
  • Basic Digital Display
  • Exchangeable Bean Container - bean container can be removed and quickly swapped with another to change bean options
  • Water Tank: 1.9L
  • Milk Carafe: 0.5L
  • Bean Capacity: 290 g
  • Used Grounds: 15 servings
  • 28.5 x 35.5 x 44.5cm
  • Automatic Fine Foam frother technology for one-touch beverages.
  • 13 programmable drink options available
  • Full colour digital display + rotary switch operation
  • Bypass available for ground coffee
  • Programmable switch-off time
  • Water Tank: 1.9L
  • Bean Capacity: 310 g
  • Used Grounds: 15 servings
  • Clearyl Blue Water Filter

Distinguishing themselves from basic entry-level units, both the Saeco Moltio Carafe and the Jura Impressa F8 offer an increased range of features and convenience. The Saeco Moltio Carafe features a unique exchangeable bean container - currently unavailable in any other Saeco or Jura machine on the market. This exchangeable container allows for the user to switch between different bean types without having to empty and clean the unit’s grinder - the second bean container can simply be filled with the desired bean, and and swapped into place. While the Moltio Carafe is an OTC machine, the Moltio’s unique exchangeable bean container is available with a manual panarello style frother in the Moltio Focus.

While Jura’s Impressa F8 does not boast any specifically unique design features, it is the perfect execution of an OTC superautomatic espresso machine. Its full colour display and array of programmable beverage options make it an intuitive, easy to use machine, optimizing convenience while maintaining Jura’s hallmark professional design aesthetic - arguably bested only by Jura’s A9 touch-screen interface.

High-End: Saeco GranBaristo Avanti vs. Jura Giga 5

Exemplifying the best from each Saeco and Jura, the GranBaristo Avanti and Jura Giga 5 take superautomatic espresso machines into a realm of sheer beauty and genius. Boasting an astonishing range of features, both are a sight to behold and a pleasure to operate.

Saeco GranBaristo Avanti

Jura Giga 5

  • 20.5 x 46.0 x 36.0 cm
  • First machine in the North American market to feature Bluetooth 4.0 technology, connecting it to tablets and smart devices for remote-control via the new Saeco app
  • 18 beverage options, fully customizable through the app - temperature, volume, strength and milk foam can all be controlled and specifically set for every beverage made
  • Queue function allows multiple users to customize their beverage to their personal preference - drinks will queue, and automatically brew in sequence
  • Up to 6 user profiles can be created and stored, with the option to save favourite beverage preferences for easy, fast brewing
  • Stainless steel and plastic body housing
  • LCD Digital Display
  • Step-by-step maintenance and descaling walkthrough videos available directly through the App
  • Water tank: 1.7L
  • Bean container: 270gr
  • Milk carafe: 50mL
  • Used grounds drawer: up to 20 servings
  • Made in Italy
  • 32 x 41.5 x 49.7 cm
  • Designed specifically to bring professional-grade technology and design into the realm of home-use espresso machines
  • 2 adjustable ceramic grinders
  • 2 boilers
  • 2 pumps
  • Option to prepare two specialty beverages simultaneously
  • One-touch preparation of 19 customizable beverages.
  • TFT colour digital display
  • Amber and White cup illumination for style beverage presentation
  • Energy-saver mode with programmable on and off times specified and schedulable for every day of the week. 
  • Water tank: 2.6L
  • Bean container: 2 containers,
  • 280g/each
  • Used grounds drawer: 20 servings
  • Swiss Made
  • Clearyl Blue water filter

Though different in their approach, both the Saeco GranBaristo Avanti and Jura Giga 5 are designed to maximize luxury and convenience elevating espresso beverage preparation to the point of indulgence. The Avanti revolutionized user connectivity and interface possibilities within the North American market - you can read more about it in our special blog article here, and check out our product page for more information. Jura, while already arguably superior than any other Saeco unit for interface options, display and usability, instead maximizes the sheer amount of technology available in a single unit - with two boilers, grinders and pumps and the ability to brew two specialty beverages simultaneously Jura’s Giga 5 brings awe-inspiring technological innovation to home-use superautomatic espresso machines.

Saeco vs. Jura - Conclusion

With entry, mid, and high-end models available for both Saeco and Jura, the key difference between the lines comes down to balance between quality, features, and price point - Saeco models will retail for less, and cost less to maintain, but with the necessary trade off in quality of materials and design, intuitive user-interfaces, and number of features available.

If you have any questions about either Saeco or Jura machines - be it features, specifications, or comparisons not covered in this article - feel free to contact us.

So, Saeco vs. Jura - what’s your preference? Share in the comments below!

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Comments

Michel - September 9, 2017

How would  the Saeco pico Baristo  compare to tne C60 from Jura? I heard that the C60 is older generation from Jura is it still worth the extra money vs Saeco? How is saeco's quality since it was bought by Phillips?

Thanks

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