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Jura Capresso Impressa J5: Not Just a Pretty Face

Posted: 09/19/07
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Capresso Impressa J5When you own a Jura Capresso machine, you’re not just enjoying the coffee, you’re making a statement—you live a life of luxury. Jura Capresso has built its reputation on elegant looks and ease-of-use, making it a leading brand in the global market for premium automatic espresso centers. The Impressa J5 follows in the footsteps of top end Jura Capresso machines like the Impressa Z5 and Z6, with a platinum metallic front and an understated curved design. But, with the addition of chrome accents and an enclosed storage compartment for the accessories, the J5 sets itself apart. It also features the FrothXpress automatic frother instead of the 1-touch cappuccino system found on the Z5 and Z6. Another key difference between the J5 and the Z series machines is that the Z5 and Z6 feature a double boiler system, while the J5’s single thermoblock boiler can go from brewing to steaming in under 10 seconds. Put it all together, and the J5 offers many of the great features found on the Z series, but its smaller footprint and standard automatic frothing system result in a lower price tag.

Control Dial & DisplayOut of the box: Nice complexion

The first thing you notice when you take the J5 out of the box is its stunning looks. It has silver plastic and chrome panels that really shine. The second thing you’ll notice is that it’s already put together. No pieces to attach, no trays or containers that you have to hook up—just remove the protective packaging, plug it in and turn on the main power switch. The switch is hidden on the bottom right side of the machine next to the electrical cord, and once you turn it on you can use the power button on top of the machine for turning it on and off during regular use.

When the J5 comes to life, white spotlights shine on the brewing area and the red-lit control dial flashes on top. The first prompt the display screen will give you is “Fill Water Tank.” Since the J5 has every component discreetly tucked away, you might first need to “Find Water Tank.” It is located under the left front panel on the top of the machine, and it has a built-in handle to lift it out easily for filling. Once the water tank is full, the J5 will ask you to press the rinse button on the top right side of the machine, and the rinse button will illuminate. Press it and the J5 will quickly run hot water through the steam wand and brew spouts to heat the components. At any time you can add coffee beans to the hopper, which is hidden under the back panel on top of the machine.

Control DialBrewing and Programming: Easy to talk to

The Jura Capresso J5 has 2 main control areas, with a dial on top that lets you toggle through strength settings and enter the programming mode. There are 4 drink buttons on the front of the machine, along with buttons for hot water and steam. All of the buttons come preset from Jura Capresso, but you can customize each of them to fit your needs.

The J5 gives you 3 options for brewing—you can just press the drink button you want and allow the machine to brew with the factory presets. You can also program each drink button individually, or you can adjust the coffee strength and volume on the fly. With the top dial, you can scroll through strength settings and water volume each time you brew without affecting the presets. If you prefer to program the buttons yourself, the top dial makes that easy as well—just hold down the button in the center of the dial to enter programming. For each button, you can set the water volume from .5 oz to 8 oz, coffee strength from mild, normal, strong or extra-strong, and temperature from normal to high. You can also program the hot water button to dispense between .5 oz and 15 oz, and the steam wand can be set to run for 3 seconds to 120 seconds.

Bypass Doser for ground coffeeThe Jura Capresso J5 really does have a lot of programming options, but don’t worry about getting confused, because the display screen leaves nothing to chance. The layout uses clear language to guide you through the menu categories, and with the top dial you can easily enter the “Buttons” menu and scroll through the different options.

Although Jura Capresso has included a huge range of programming options on the J5, brewing is as simple as you make it. You can just press one of the 4 brew buttons and relax as the machine grinds, tamps and dispenses espresso into your cup. If you choose to customize the buttons yourself, the J5 will use your settings every time. You can use the presets with preground coffee as well. The bypass doser on the top of the machine lets you brew a scoop of preground coffee so that you can make a few different varieties without changing the beans in your hopper. Lifting the lid of the bypass doser automatically alerts the J5 that you want to brew up to 14 grams of preground coffee.

Frothing and steaming: Fun to be around

The Jura Capresso J5 has a fast-heating thermoblock boiler to deliver hot, dry steam whenever you need it. When you press the steam button, the machine takes about 10 seconds to heat up to steam temperature, and it can deliver a consistent stream for well over 3 minutes.

FrothXpress Automatic Milk Frothing SystemThe J5 has 2 different options for making lattes and cappuccinos. The built-in FrothXpress is designed to make delicious foam or steamed milk automatically and then dispense it into your waiting cup. The FrothXpress takes the guesswork out of frothing and steaming with an integrated hose to pull milk from an external container. The J5 does not include a milk container, but Capresso’s Thermal Milk Container is a great addition with the ability to store and keep your milk cold for up to 8 hours on your countertop. The FrothXpress has a “venting tip” on the top to regulate airflow into your milk, and by turning the selector dial on the front, you can control how much froth you want in your drink. Turn it toward the top to create more foam for a cappuccino, or toward the bottom for more steamed milk for a latte.

If you enjoy frothing by hand, the J5 also includes Jura Capresso’s patented Dual Frother Plus. This manual steam wand easily fits in place of the FrothXpress auto frothing system and has 2 positions—down to froth, and up to create steamed milk. When the Dual Frother Plus is not in use, it fits neatly into a hidden storage compartment on the top right side of the machine.

Cleaning: Low maintenance!

Like all Jura Capresso machines, the J5 is virtually self-cleaning. The machine monitors how many cups have been brewed and how often the rinsing program is used. The rinsing program is an optional cleaning procedure that you can use to keep the machine extra clean. To enter it, go to the “Rinse” menu, then place a cup under the spout and press the button in the center of the rotary dial to start a 15-second hot water rinse cycle. In addition, the Jura Capresso J5 includes a packet of cleaning tablets, which the display screen will ask you to use after about 200 cups have been brewed. The display will read “Clean/Ready” and the rinse button on top will illuminate. Press it and the display will guide you through the cleaning cycle, which will clear out coffee oils and build-up inside of your brewing components.

Water ReservoirOne of the best things about the Jura Capresso J5 is that you don’t have to descale if you use the Clearyl water filtration system properly. The Clearyl filter reduces water hardness up to 75% while eliminating chlorine or other particles that can affect the flavor of your coffee. It should be replaced about every 2 months—the display will read “Change” when it is time. Use the “Filter” menu to let the J5 know whether or not you have installed the included Clearyl water filter.

If you choose not to use the water filter, there is a water hardness menu that will show up only if the filter is not installed. The J5 comes with a water hardness indicator strip to test your water supply, and you can enter the results under the “Hardness” menu on the machine. The machine will create a cleaning schedule based on your water hardness, and alert you when it is time to descale.

Keeping the FrothXpress clean after every use is easy, and it is perhaps the most important cleaning procedure of all. Just insert the milk hose into a cup of fresh water and turn the selector dial all the way up. Press the steam button to allow fresh, clean steam to flow through the FrothXpress and clear out any remaining milk. This will do wonders for the machine, and you’ll be rewarded with thick, frothy milk that tastes fresh every time you use the FrothXpress. The J5 also includes a bottle of Auto-Cappuccino Cleaner, which removes milk build-up inside of the FrothXpress. The FrothXpress comes apart without any tools, and should be soaked in a solution of cleaner and water periodically. When it’s time to restock the cleaning supplies, Jura Capresso has put together a convenient Care Kit designed exclusively for use with the Impressa line.

The whole package

With much of the style and functionality found only on Jura Capresso’s top models, the J5 proves to be an outstanding machine at an attractive price. Complete customization is the main focus of this machine, and the intuitive display screen and control dial are the icing on the cake. Its shining finish is sure to impress your guests, while the convenient brewing and cleaning systems will make it a quiet companion in your home. Whether you’re a connoisseur looking for a serious cup of coffee each day, or you just appreciate the finer things in life, the Jura Capresso Impressa J5 has been designed for you.