I'm a voyeur.
I like to go to Williams Sonoma when I'm in the US, and just spy, listen in, eavesdrop - whatever - on the sales people and the excited customers. I'm always intrigued by the person who would consider dropping two grand on a coffee machine that isn't a heat exchanging, rotary pump driven, 2.5 litre boiler, direct plumbed 75 pound wunderkind.
And the one thing I hear most often, usually from the customer, but sometimes from the sales people is something like this:
"Wow, it cleans up after itself? How convenient!"
People... people. Throw me a reality bone here. Yes, super autos do clean up after themselves, but just as Yosemite Sam said to Bugs Bunny, "Shut up shuttin' up!!!!!" (heh heh - that's such a classic line), you have to remember to clean up the cleanin' up that goes on in a super automatic.
The discharge tray needs to be emptied daily. The spent grounds hopper inside the machine ditto. The wand needs cleaning after each steaming. The dispensing spouts need a good flush. The machine should be wiped down often.
Occasionally, the entire tray and hopper should be removed, and stray grinds should be cleaned up inside. Sometimes even, you should wipe down and clean the bean hopper on top.
| Most common maintenance |
The most common thing you'll do with this machine is empty the drip tray and spent grinds. And fill water.
As outlined above, you should empty the drip tray and spent grinds hopper every day. Run some water through the steam wand without anything attached, then through the wand of your choice (the froth aider or the frothXpress thingie). Fortunately, the machine does a bit of rinsing on its own - when it shuts down, it does a flush, and also does another flush when it powers up.
You may find that beans get "stuck" in the grinder's hopper and won't fall down into the conical burr. The reason is oily beans, but also oily plastic. If you run into this problem more and more frequently, give the hopper a good wipedown to remove all those built up oils.
The Jura Capresso S9 comes with a few cleaning tablets and a cleaning program. Buy more tabs, folks. Of course Jura recommends their own tabs, but I use the Cafiza Auto Espresso Cleaning Tabs from Urnex, which are a bargain at 200 for $25 or less - highly recommended,
The machine will tell you to clean every 200 coffees, but I say clean it religiously and regularly. If you buy the Urnex Cafiza tabs, and you clean once a week, that's nearly a four year supply.
To run the machine through a cleaning maintenance program, open the machine's programming section door and push and hold the tablet cleaning button until you hear the machine beep. With a full reservoir and an emptied drip tray (it must be emptied), and a container for catching water from the spouts in place, you open the ground coffee funnel door and drop a tablet into it. Push the tablet cleaning button again and the Impressa S9 will begin it's dishwashing cycle.
It takes about 15 minutes, and you'll be surprised at the gunk that comes out. Once done the machine will instruct you to remove and empty the drip tray - do it, and replace. Give the machine a good rinse cycle (press the rinse button); in fact, do it a few times. Basically you want to have no water left in the reservoir when you're done. Take the grounds funnel out of the machine's doser bypass chamber, give that a good cleaning, and replace. You're done, almost.
Run a few shots through it to re-season and to get rid of any remaining cleaners. Suds and crema don't mix. You read it here first.
If you don't use the Claris water filter, or other filtered water, you'll have to do a decalcifying cleaning on the machine once in a blue moon. Make use of the test strip to determine your water hardness level, and set the machine's programming function to that number (instructions in the manual).
I'm fortunate that we have really good, soft water here in Vancouver, but I also exclusively use filtered spring water for all the machines I test, and decalcifying is an issue I rarely deal with. That said, I did do one decalcifying routine to see how it was done. The process is complex:
Capresso says only use their decalcifying tabs. They aren't cheap (relative to other decalcifying powders and liquids) and can be hard to obtain, but I recommend following the manufacturer's instructions on this.
You need to turn the machine off for at least five hours before doing this. Empty the water reservoir and clean out the machine, then open the programming cover, and press and hold the decalc button until you hear a beep. The LED display will give instructions, saying "agent in tank". You add roughly 20oz of water to the reservoir, and make sure you completely dissolve two of the decalcify tabs in the liquid. Replace the water reservoir.
The display will say "agent in tank / open tap / press calc". Remove any steam wand assembly, leaving the bare pipe coming out of the machine, and put a big bowl under it. Turn the selector switch to the water symbol.
The display will say "press calc", which actually means press the decalc button again. Once you do so, the machine will go through about fifteen minutes of cleaning, filling up the bowl. The display will read "unit decalc / please wait". Eventually, the machine will beep, and reads "press (de)calc)".
You empty the bowl, and now put it under the hot water tap. And press the decalc button again. This time, for about five minutes, it will empty into the bowl through the hot water tap, then eventually beep again.
The display will read "close tap", so you turn the selector dial to the "cup" setting. And at that point, it starts working again... for almost 30 minutes!, pumping water into the drip tray.
All the while, the display reads "unit decalc / please wait"
Complicated, huh? Yikes o mighty.
Eventually, it will beep again - and tell you to empty the drip tray. Which you will do because you're a good decalcifier, aren't you. ;)
No, it's not over yet. At this point, the machine says "fill water", so you remove the reservoir, rinse it out, and fill it halfway with water and replace in the machine. The machine will say "open tap", so turn the selector dial to water, while placing a small bowl under the steam wand. The machine will read "press (de)calc". Do so. And we go all over again:
The display will read "unit decalc, please wait" during this period. Eventually, the machine will beep. Empty your bowl of liquid, and this time place it under the hot water tap, and press the decalc button again.
The machine will continue to clean, then beep again, and the display will say "close tap". As soon as you turn the selector dial to the cup symbol, it will start pumping liquid again, but this time into the drip tray
Ahhh. I'm bored with this. Basically, it's a long process, and when you finally get to the end, the machine will say "clean contacts / empty tray"... eureka! Do that, and you're done.
Thank the stars we only have to do this once in a blue moon.
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| Water Reservoir |
Occupies entire left side of the machine.
| Cover and Handle! |
The cover for the reservoir is also its handle. It folds out of the way for in-machine refilling.
| Slim |
The reservoir is slim, but it holds over 3 litres.
NB: By the time some of you may read this, the S9 may be discontinued by Jura Capresso, and replaced by the Jura Capresso S9 Avant, an upgraded model. Most of my comments below will apply to the new model.