Jura X8 Review

by Marc Buckman February 22, 2019 10 min read

 

It’s one of only a few bean to cup automatic machines that makes two beautiful and delicious milk based espresso beverages at the same time. Imagine treating clients, staff and friends to barista quality lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites and more. It’s incredibly easy to use. Through an app you can customize drinks, create a library of favorites, place an order, and make your beverage without ever touching the machine. It makes some of the best drinks in the business and is super simple to maintain.

Today an in-depth review of the Jura’s new X8 Platinum. This high capacity machine is a perfect fit in office or business environments or, put one in your home and experience the best in cafe quality beverages. You know, I’ve used just about every automatic bean to cup machine made in the last five years and Jura’s X8 is a real standout. And, it’s not just because it’s among the handful of machines that can make two lattes at the same time. It’s about the quality of those lattes and other drinks. This machine has some unique milk functions—a lot more on that in a minute—and it’s super easy to use and maintain. I’ll go through all that as well. And I’ll cover the really cool and useful app that let’s you create, customize, and place multiple drink orders from your phone or tablet.

Jura X8 and tablet.

Now if you’re reading this, I’m guessing maybe you’ve done a little research or you're familiar with these types of machines. If not, real quick, they are like having your own personal barista. Use the app or push a button and the machine grinds whole beans fresh to make espresso or coffee and heats and froths milk for drinks like cappuccino, latte, flat whites and macchiatos.

Drinks and Programmability

Here’s a full list of all the drinks the X8 Platinum makes right out of the box. So any of the espresso, coffee or milk drinks can be made one or two at a time. Beyond that it’ll make a full pot of coffee up to forty ounces, provide hot water or hot water for green tea that’s temperature adjustable. Beyond what’s listed here, using the app you can create and customize your own drinks. All the drinks come pre-programmed at traditional sizes but you can customize them individually to your taste and cup sizes. And, there are a few ways to do that.

My favorite: Jura’s J.O.E. app. Using your tablet or phone you can adjust every drink including strength, amount of brew water and coffee temperature, amount of milk foam and its temperature, and the amount of milk and its temperature. But that’s just the start. You can also create new drinks, name them, and adjust all the parameters. And, you can create multi-drink orders with the ability to adjust drink settings as you order. So imagine you’ve got a group; Bob wants a latte macchiato, he wants it extra strong, and he wants the milk on the cool side. Lisa would like a flat white, she wants it normal strength, but wants her coffee and milk hot. And you’re going to have your regular 10 ounce latte with a double espresso shot. Add ‘em all to the order, place a cup and start the machine brewing right from the app by tapping on each drink. Very cool, kinda magical really—your own personal barista that takes quick custom orders.

Now there’s a lot more in the app including complete instructions, product counters, and maintenance counters. Useful information on how the machine is being used and maintained.

Now if you don’t want to use the app, you don’t have to, you can do all the programming right on the machine. To set in cup volumes, the easy way is to just press and hold the button for the beverage you want to program until you see “enough coffee or milk” in the display. Once you have the amount you want in your cup press any button to stop delivery and that amount will be saved. The second method gives you all the same options as the JOE app. Press the program button then go to “expert mode” and don’t think you have to be an expert to go there. Here you can program volume in either ounces or milliliters. But then you can go much further with ten coffee strength settings and two temperature settings. And you also have the option to choose a position on the main screen for the drink. So you could have all your coffee beverages on one screen and all the milk drinks on another.

Advanced Milk Frothing

Now where the X8 really shines is in the quality and control you have over the milk drinks. For the coffee portion of those drinks you have the same control you did for any of the straight espresso or coffees. But then each milk drink can have two different types of milk. And that’s a big deal! For each you can have a combination of straight heated milk and silky milk foam. For both of those you have control of the amount of milk based on time and the milk temperature in ten steps. The ten milk temperatures are nice and far more control than you get on other machines, but it’s the ability to have those two different types of milk in the same drink that gets you to next-level barista quality. It’s a feature you‘re not going to find in competing machines. Now you get that milk combination in lattes, flat whites, and macchiatos. The cappuccino is traditional and uses frothed milk only. With a macchiato there’s also a programmable delay interval between milk types that allows the milk to form a layer. When espresso is brewed over the layered milk you end up with a macchiato with the beautiful classical layering.

All the control of milk and mixing of two types in the same drink really makes a difference. But I don’t want to ignore how well this machine does with espresso and coffee. I’ve been very impressed. Now I’ve got this machine loaded up with one of my favorite coffees, Maromas Orphea. If you haven’t given it a try It’s a wonderful Italian style blend. Very rich with chocolate notes and no bitter tones. But just take a look at this espresso. Crema rich from top to bottom. Making a shot that looks like this starts with a good coffee like the Orphea and Jura’s Aroma G3 grinder. It’s fast and quiet. Prior to brewing, coffee is pre-infused briefly. Then, the X8 uses Jura’s pulse extraction process which modulates pressure during brewing for richer more aromatic espresso. The end result compares very well to what I get from this coffee on commercial semi-automatic machines.

Machine Specs

So let’s go over what it’s like to use this machine day to day and some accessories. First, huge capacities. The bean hopper holds a little over a pound of beans. That enough for 60 to 100 coffees, depending on strength. The water reservoir has a 5 liter capacity—enough for more than thirty 5-ounce coffees. The used coffee box holds the results of forty brewing cycles. The bean hopper, water reservoir, used coffee box and drip tray are actively monitored so you’ll get a warning in the display when they need refilling or emptying. Now all are very large so you’re not going to mess with them much and the machine is rated by Jura to produce 80 beverages a day.

I went through making drinks using the app, but of course you can do it right on the machine. I like the TFT color display with a slight up angle for easy viewing. Two main screens with six drinks each just press the button for the one you want. It’s got the nice pictures so very intuitive even say for a client or friend whose never used the machine before. And to get two of any beverage just push a drink button twice.

For milk the machine uses a pickup tube. Now you can place that tube into any milk container and use it that way, but my favorite way of supplying milk is with the optional cool control from Jura. It keeps milk refrigerated so it’s always available. Fill it up and it keeps milk cold indefinitely. If you’re doing a lot of milk drinks it’s a must have accessory.

Now with any machine there is some maintenance required and Jura has done a lot to make it as easy as possible. First, use Jura’s water filter and you never need to descale this machine. They lead the industry with that no-descaling-required feature. And there’s no guesswork. The machine tells you when to change the filter and automatically senses filter changes using built in RFID technology.

The machine automatically rinses the coffee circuit on startup and shutdown. For deeper cleaning about every 180 brewing cycles you’ll get an alert to drop a cleaning tablet into the pre-ground coffee bypass doser. From there, the machine does the rest using the tablet it deep cleans internal coffee brewing components.

Milk system components get an automatic hot water rinse about 10 minutes after the last milk drink was made. Or you can run the rinse manually at any time. For deeper daily cleaning, add a capful of the included jura milk system cleaner to the 2 chamber cleaning container. Insert the the milk pickup tube and start the cleaning cycle in the menu. Frothing components in the spouts should be removed and rinsed daily. They sit behind a magnetic cover. Just pull out, separate the components, rinse, and replace.

Around the outside of the X8, there are locking covers on the water reservoir and bean hopper. Up front the coffee and milk spouts are height adjustable with up to six inches of clearance for travel mugs, extra tall glasses and full size coffee pots. The screen is beautiful with the drink pictures, the menu system is simple and intuitive and I like the display’s up angle for easy viewing.

Jura X8 height adjustment.

Accessories to consider: the Cool Control. If you’re doing milk drinks, just fill it up. It keeps milk refrigerated so it’s always available.

Maintenance

For maintenance, The machine comes with a water filter but you’ll want to have a spare around. Again, use the filter and you never have to descale the machine. You’ll also get a large bottle of milk system cleaner with the X8—enough for fifty cleaning cycles. So if doing milk drinks everyday you’ll want some more of that. And the machine comes with two coffee system cleaning tablets. Those get you through 360 brewing cycles. And believe me you’ll go through those quick so I’d suggest picking up bottle or three of 25 cleaning tablets. Each bottle of covers you for 4500 brewing cycles.

I’ve used just about every bean to cup machine made in the last few years and I’ve gotta say the X8 is impressive. Huge capacities make it perfect for serving clients, customers, staff or entertaining large groups. But beyond that, with the two milk types and advanced brewing features it makes true barista quality beverages. And you can get them just the way you want them. The app with instant customizing is incredible—all drink parameters on a single screen with sliders for quick, simple control. Plus you can create and name your own drinks and take multi-drink orders—walk up to the machine and brew up one customized drink after another. I’ll be honest. Before using the machine I was a little skeptical. Do I really need an app to control a machine? Well after using the machine for a few weeks. I’m in love with it. It’s well designed and the fastest way I’ve come across to customize drinks so people can have them just the way they want them.

Marc Buckman
Marc Buckman

Marc is one of Whole Latte Love's resident experts on everything coffee. He built our YouTube channel from the ground up in 2009, demystifying the world of coffee for upwards of 100k subscribers by producing over 1000 in-depth videos. Marc enjoys hiking, scuba diving, and saving the lives of his coworkers when the kitchen runs out of coffee by sharing some of his own.

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