When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Automatic espresso machines are a quick, mostly hands-free way to make cafe-style coffee drinks yourself. We’ve tested several for our guide to the best espresso machines and found the Jura Z10 is the best for making quality espresso at home. The Jura Z10 stands alone in the sea of sub-par automatic espresso machines on the market — though not without a few shortcomings of its own.
The Switzerland-based brand, which has been developing automatic espresso machines for more than 50 years, pulls out all the regular espresso, latté, cappuccino, and macchiato stops while adding a cold-brewing feature into the mix. The Z10 makes a menu of more than 30 drinks — though a handful of them are redundant if you ask us (more on that later). Read on for our thoughts on this hands-off espresso machine.
Testing the built-in grinder
The best burr grinder is, apart from the coffee beans themselves, the first make-or-break step in quality espresso. The Z10’s “product-recognizing grinder” (PRG) has a sensor that dials grind size based on the beans and adjusts them in real-time to make sure they’re optimized for brewing.
Since we can’t see inside the machine, we can’t verify this. However, we measured the percentage of total dissolved solids (TDS) of its espresso using a densitometer and found that it met the Istituto Espresso Italiano‘s requirements of between 7% and 12% TDS.
This is the first of any of the automatic espresso machines we’ve tested that has achieved true espresso as defined by the IEI. Others have come close, and most have sadly been far from it.
If you’d like to bypass the grinder in favor of one you already have, there’s a shoot for pre-ground coffee in the back. We put our coffee through the best coffee grinder for espresso, the Baratza Sette 270, and sent it into the shoot as well to see what came out. The espresso was even better, but know that the built-in grinder more than suffices.
The Jura lists 32 different programmable beverages, but that’s a little misleading since the brand counts each beverage available once as a single and once as a double. Still, 16 drinks are more than enough to hit all the basics and more: you get an array of espressos (hot and cold); long black or Americano coffees; and milk-based macchiatos, cortados, lattes, and cappuccinos.
We based our tests primarily on the balance of the espresso we made using three different freshly-roasted bags of beans, but were impressed by the reliability of the milk-based beverages. Every time, we got a perfect coffee-to-milk balance and the milk was never burnt.
Cool Control, the separate accessory that keeps milk at 39 degrees Fahrenheit is an appliance unto itself; it is shockingly pricey, sold separately, and takes up even more space on your counter. Frankly, it may or may not be worth it when you can just as easily pipe in a jug of milk that may not be temperature-stable but will otherwise serve you every bit as well and be much, much easier to clean.
Cold brew espresso
One of the big standouts for the Z10 is its “cold brew” function. It doesn’t exactly make cold-brew coffee per se — what it produces is akin to a somewhat watery nitro brew, which is impressive considering it’s served up in less than a minute. True cold brew is made using an eight-hour-plus steep, but fine grounds and high pressure allow for the Z10 to expedite the process that results in something remarkably similar.
We tried cold-brew macchiatos and lattes that were enjoyable enough for this stodgy espresso snob. If you want a proper cold brew, look elsewhere, but if you are looking for milk-based cold-brew drinks or are happy with something close with little effort, the Z10 will serve you well.
The worst thing about this machine, and any automatic machine that incorporates milk, is the cleanup. Because it draws milk through tubes and into what is in effect the group head, you’ll want to make sure you clean the machine and the accessories after every milk-based drink. Unlike with a semi-automatic espresso machine and a steam wand, the cleaning process is clunkier and more involved than a quick steam purge.
The Z10 comes with a cleaning tray and a cleaning solution that will last several cleaning cycles, but you’ll want to pick up something like Urnex Cafiza Powder for future cleanings.
Cons to consider
Unfortunately, we found dealing with Jura’s customer service to be a frustrating experience. One day into using the machine, we found we were unable to brew coffee using the secondary shoot for pre-ground coffee. We entered a live chat with a technician’s assistant and were quickly directed to a payment page to continue chatting for $40. In our opinion, no one should have to pay to consult a technician on a nearly $4,000 machine.
The brand doesn’t make it crystal clear, but the machine is Bluetooth- and Wifi-compatible with the addition of “Wifi Connect,” a plug-in piece of hardware that you can even operate through Siri, but you’ll have to buy that separately, too. We didn’t have the opportunity to use this function, but it’s available for around $60.
The bottom line
In the end, no fully automatic espresso machine we’ve tried competes with a quality semi-automatic machine and a perfectly dialed burr grinder. But if convenience is your primary concern and you have the budget for it, the Jura Z10 is the best automatic espresso machine on the market.
The biggest downsides of the machine are its size, price, and expensive accessories that we think should be included with the base machine considering the price tag. Otherwise, this is an almost flawless machine that makes nearly cafe-quality espresso drinks with no plastic or aluminum waste at the push of a button.
Pros: Best espresso we’ve tried from an automatic machine, makes almost every coffee beverage we can think of
Cons: Large, poor customer service, accessories (including wifi connectivity) sold separately