Jura Capresso Impressa S9 Avantgarde

Avant-garde (ä’vänt-gärd) adj. Of, relating to, or being part of an innovative group.

When Jura Capresso names a machine, they usually go basic – like E8, C1300, and F9 for example – and let the machine and its impressive features do the talking. This time they decided to give you a little preview of what this machine’s personality is before you even see it and gave it the name “Avantgarde”. As the name implies, this machine comes from a company and a line of super automatics known for their innovation, and the S9 Avantgarde itself – despite being based on the prior S9 model – is no exception.

What’s New?

So what exactly puts the “avant-garde” in the S9 Avantgarde? A few things actually, including significant improvements in the programming, brewing, and menu controls. To start off, Capresso beefed up their LED display – nearly doubling it in size as compared to the original S9 – for even more visibility and clearly stated directions and alerts. From this display, the Avantgarde will let you know when you’re out of beans or water, when the dump box needs to be emptied, and even when you need to run cleaning cycles. As you can see, the LED display is really the center of communication between you and your super auto, so its larger size really enhances the user experience.

Another significant change with the S9 Avantgarde is its transition to the use of a rotary dial for menu access and navigation. Located behind a “hidden” door on the front left side of the machine, this dial completely replaces the myriad of buttons that sat in the same place on the older model S9. In the center of the dial is a button that when pressed, provides instant access to the menu options. After you’ve entered the menu, you can simply turn the dial left or right to scroll through the menu options and press the center button again to access any of them for programming.

Programmable Brewing & the Elusive 5th Button

Among the menu options available on the S9 Avantgarde (the majority of which we’ll cover later in this article) is the capability to program the 4 brewing buttons that sit in the main control panel above the rotary dial door. On the first row (from left to right) you’ll see the 1 small cup and 2 small cup buttons. The second row is made up of the 1 large cup and 2 large cup buttons. Each of these buttons can be programmed to a specific temperature (normal or high), a specific strength (5 options from extra mild to extra strong), and to dispense a specific liquid volume (from 1 to 8 oz.). The thing to keep in mind here is that the double cup buttons double the amounts you’ve chosen. For instance, if you have the 2 large cup button programmed to brew an extra strong 8 oz. drink, the machine will double the amounts of coffee and water programmed to produce an extra strong 16 oz. drink. If you want to change the brewing volume at any time during the grinding/brewing process, you can override the preset amount by using the rotary dial to scroll through and choose between volume options as they appear on the LED display.

Some of you may have noticed that we only mentioned 4 programmable brewing buttons, which is a little different than the older S9’s 5 programmable buttons. Yes, there is one less programmable button, but the 5th brewing button does still exist – right behind the “hidden” rotary dial door. Capresso has dubbed this button the “a la carte” button, and just like it sounds, it’s ready to do what you want exactly when you want it. Right after you press this button to brew, you simply use the rotary dial to select both the strength of your intended brew and the liquid volume you’d like to be dispensed.

When you press any of these 5 brewing buttons, the S9 Avantgarde’s internal grinder goes to work – but you may be hard pressed to hear it. When designing the Avantgarde, Capresso took special care to insulate the grinder, making this machine one of the quietest super automatics around. You can even avoid hearing – or using – the grinder altogether. If you’ve got a craving for a different coffee or want decaf instead of those regular beans you’ve got in the 8 oz. bean hopper, you can brew using preground coffee in the Avantgarde’s bypass doser. The bypass button is also located behind the rotary dial door, and you’ll just need to press this button, add your preground coffee (as the LED display prompts you), and press any of the 5 brewing buttons to select the volume you’d like to be brewed.

The Oldies but Goodies

Change is good, but Jura Capresso knew they had something special with the original Impressa S9, so they made the changes we’ve already discussed and decided to keep the rest of the Avantgarde true to its roots. The centerpieces of the Avantgarde are its twin thermoblock boilers, which allow this machine to go from brewing to frothing or steaming and back again with no downtime. And froth or steam you shall. A 96oz reservoir provides a continuous supply of water to your choice of the S9 Avantgarde’s Dual Frother Plus or frothXpress auto-frothing system so you can make cappuccino after latte after cappuccino without refilling. The reservoir is also equipped with Capresso’s Clearyl water filtration system that, when used properly, eliminates descaling and improves the overall flavor of your coffee by removing nasty minerals and chemicals that can affect taste.

Activating the Clearyl system is just one of the useful things you can do through the rotary dial menu. Just like the original S9, this menu is your key to programming the brewing buttons, programming the steam portion button (from 3 – 120 seconds), running manual rinse and cleaning cycles, setting the machine’s internal clock, programming auto-on and auto-off times, seeing how many cups you’ve brewed, viewing how many cleaning cycles you’ve run, and choosing between 7 different languages that you’d like to see all this information displayed in. In short, the menu is your one-stop control center that sets everything up for one-touch brewing ease.

A Model of Invention

Jura Capresso didn’t try to reinvent the wheel with the Avantgarde’s development. They simply stayed true to what was great about the older model S9 and improved upon it wherever possible. Just like avant-garde theater, literature, and art, the S9 Avantgarde is a concept rooted in tradition that captivates its audience with innovation and style.

Dictionary definition of avant-garde on Answers.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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