Saeco Rio Vapore / Starbucks Barista, Saeco Super Automatic Magic Deluxe, others
A boldly priced plastic-bodied machine requiring frequent consumables and oily dark beans tend to stick in it making it “fiddle automatic”, not “fully automatic”.
Positive Product Points
The S7 does make good coffee. Good thick crema, hot, all that. I confirm the quality coffee mentioned by other reviewers. I don’t quite agree with another reviewer who said that the first shot after a rinse must be thrown away. With lighter beans especially, the first shot is just about as good as subsequent shots. I respect the other opinion, but it’s not a biggie to me.
It also gives excellent plain English instructions on the LED display such as FILL WATER and EMPTY TRAY. This is very straightforward and a very nice feature. I liked that my gorgeous wife (who is not a mechanical tinkerer as I am) could just push a button and make a coffee. Super automatic machines are also a delight at parties because of this ease of use, and this one is easy to use and pretty reliable (except, ironically, with actual espresso beans, as noted below).
I like that it’s on and ready (requiring only a rinse first) when you program it to be in the morning.
It follows a very good maintenance routine that may preserve the machine over years. It prompts you to replace the filter or clean the unit when needed.
The bluish light that illuminates the cup area whenever you use the machine is charming at first. It MUST move a lot of machines out of the showroom floor. But is this cute little illumination effect worth all that dough?
Negative Product Points
If you’re going to get one of the Jura S-series machines, get the S7, it is identical to the S8 and S9, but has black instead of metallic colored plastic (and the S9 includes the Froth Xpress Plus attachment, otherwise an $80 upgrade). Why pay more for faux metallic plastic? The main downer of this machine is the plastic body.
The $80 Froth Xpress Plus attachment is greatly overpriced for what it is- a simple plastic milk container with a tube with steam wand attachment and simple valve dial. It works, but don't buy it unless you're going to make 50 shots at a wedding.
I’ll confirm another reviewer’s note: Ironically, you can’t use espresso roast or dark beans in the S7 because the oiliness causes the beans to stick in the hopper and not fall into the grinder. When you make coffee, the grinder gets that high-pitched “empty” sound because it’s not receiving beans. When this happens, sometimes enough beans will have fallen in to make a proper cup and sometimes not, then in either case the display warns you to FILL BEANS until you make the next cup.
Reaching back under the kitchen cabinets, opening the lid, removing the plastic freshness barrier, and fiddling the beans down into the grinder before/after every cup is an annoyance that shouldn’t be necessary with a "super automatic" that’s supposed to “do it all”.
So the main downer of this is that you really can't use a dark oily roast with the S7. If you respect that, it works fine. But what if you prefer a dark oily roast and not the tangier, more caffeinated light roasts?
The workaround for the beans sticking is to remove the plastic cap that covers the burr grinder (and put the mounting screws back in place). This makes beans stick a lot less.
I’ve returned two of these machines. The first S7 I received from Williams Sonoma had one row of LEDs burned out (just three little lights in one of the blocks). It was possible to read the display, but annoyingly hard to decipher some symbols. Picture your bedside clock with a tiny portion of the display burned out and you can’t tell at a glance if it’s 6:20 or 6:30. Not life threatening, but an annoying quality goof on so expensive machine.
The second return was when I noticed some black pitting showing up on the silver (silver colored plastic, that is) column on the front of the machine. I’d had it about 2 months and the faux metallic look from the paint is pitting already??? A machine that’s good on the inside shouldn’t have a plastic body.
The maintenance routine on this machine is good for preserving the machine.
Williams-Sonoma was excellent because of their return policy, but they no longer sell the S7, only the S8 and S9.