This is one of those parts of the review where my loss of all the collected data I had is really, really sucky (I lost the original Detailed Review data for the Jura Capresso Impressa S9 in a hard drive failure several months back). But we must struggle on.
This section will be a bit smaller than some other performance pages in the DR section. Partially because itís a super auto, and other than basic measurements and temp tests, there isn't a helluva lot to it. With that said, here's our tested numerals.
Start Up Times
Impressive, mainly because itís a thermoblock, but we're talking an average time from a cold start of about 92 seconds, based on five tests in five mornings.
That's right - 1.5 minutes after you press the power button, its ready to go... er sorta. You have to rinse the unit first, but it is ready.
Its usually a non issue though with this machine because you can program it to turn on automatically at a set time during the day (say 10 mins before you wake up), so its' ready to go.
Temperature Tests: Espresso
Super Autos seem to have an issue with brewing a "first shot"... it always comes out colder than subsequent shots, and kinda stinks, because almost every super automatic I've ever tested leaves far too much ground coffee in the machine between the shots. So brewing a first shot in the morning usually uses yesterday's ground coffee. Blech.
The Jura Capresso S9 is susceptible to this, but not as bad as some (coff coff Saeco Italia... coff coff. Solis Palazzo) machines. Basically with any super automatic, I consider the first shot a junk shot. With the coff machines, usually two or three shots before I'll enjoy a drink.
My testing of the espresso performance on the Impressa S9 returned the following numbers:
First Shot Temperatures: 91.2C (196F), based on five tests over five mornings.
Second Shot Temps: 93.8C (200.8F), again based on five tests over five mornings.
My Average shot temperatures over five shots pulled in a row, (done over five days - so that's 25 shots in total measured) is 92.7C (199F).
These temperatures were measured at the tube entry point that delivers the espresso into the front chamber (spouts). Cup temperatures will obviously be lower, and here's what I measured:
Average Espresso Cup (ceramic, preheated) temperatures for the previously mentioned 25 shots: 83.8C (182.8F
The Jura Capresso Impressa S9 is no steaming demon; however, it is ready to steam on demand... sorta. (that word again!).
| Good temps! |
Good temperatures on the frothing and steaming, automatically!
| Okay Froth |
Microfroth is evident; the big bubbles you see are from the last sputters of the FrothXpress as it is shut off.
| Brew into the cups |
Brew into the cups after. Capp temperatures are around 70C when it all done.
See, when the machine turns on, the steaming ability is ready to go. But if you have the machine in its programmed "economy mode", the steam boiler will shut down after roughly 20 minutes of inactivity. If you have it not in economy mode, it still will shut down after about 45 minutes (I haven't timed this, sorry).
So how long does the machine take to get back into steaming mode if it's not ready to go? Less than 10 seconds on average. Pretty cool. Er, hot.
When "manual" steaming, using the traditional wand, my test showed some steam power, but still a bit slow. Steaming seven ounces of milk took about 45 seconds, and steaming 12oz of milk took about a minute and fifteen seconds.
Steam performance using the FrothXpress system depends on how "hot" you have the dial set. With our test unit set to deliver approx. 63C milk (145F), our tests showed these numbers:
120ml (4oz) froth + steam = 21.6 seconds
240ml (8oz) froth + steam = 40.2 seconds
Very acceptable numbers, for sure.
Hot Water Temperatures
The Jura Capresso Impressa S9 shines at hot water delivery, something I consider very important for a home coffee centre, or any home espresso machine. Here's my temperature tests, based on an average of five attempts:
120ml hot water: 91.0C (195F)
240ml hot water: 89.6C (193F)
Both temperatures are measured in the cup. This is amazing, and nearly perfect for brewing tea. It's also good for heating up cups and for americanos.
Espresso Brewing Times
The Achilles heel of any super automatic, brewing times are, in my opinion, far too short for proper extraction of the good stuff from ground coffee. Part of the problem is the puck diameter - 46ml in the Jura Capresso S9. The other problem (and I blame the Swiss for this and their gosh darn love for caffe suise), is that the grinder can't be dialed fine enough.
These times were measured from the start of brewing, and include the preinfusing pause; I've also shown a measured time with the preinfusion subtracted to show actual brew time under pump pressure: All times were measured using the finest grind, and with a "junk shot" pulled first to give fresh ground coffee to the test environment.
Brewing time, 1oz single: 14.2 seconds.
Brewing time, 2.5oz double: 21.2 seconds
Brewing time without preinfusion pause, 1oz single: 11.0 seconds
Brewing time without preinfusion pause, 2.5oz double: 17.9 seconds
Just too short. And it shows in the cup. While this is possibly the best espresso-brewing super automatic I've tested so far, a finer grind would improve the shot quality immensely, in my opinion.
Concluding thoughts on performance
Even before I get into the comparisons page, I know this is probably the best overall super automatic I've ever done a detailed test on. Shot temperatures are nearly perfect. Steam performance, ability, "on time" and power up time are superb, and hot water delivery is amazing.
Where the Jura Capresso Impressa S9 needs work (and I hope the replacement machine - the S9 Avant addresses some of these issues) is in the grinder settings (I need at least two clicks finer on the adjustment dial), and damnit, give the user the option to turn off the preinfuse mode.
There's one other area needing fixing, not only in these machines but in all super automatics I've ever tried - tiny puck sizes (diameter) = bad extraction. That's not me saying it. That's Dr. Illy and a wide range of scientific tests that the Illy labs have done finding the optimal puck size for superior extraction. At 46mm, these pucks are too tiny.
That said, there's a lot of good stuff going on with this machine in the performance department, and I hope Saeco and other manufacturers are taking note.