I've had my Jura/Capresso S7 (purchased from Whole Latte Love) for four months now, and have poured over 2400 shots. A lot were visually judged "dial-in" shots I just threw out, or warmup shots (more later on that). I mostly drink a double-and-a-half or so, enough to fill a 3.75 oz demi. with a bit of cream and sweetener.
Timing: it seems to take about 12-13 seconds of actual pressurized water flow to make an espresso, and I can't see a difference with grind setting, dosing, etc. But I'm not counting the pre-brew time - with that its about 18 or 19 sec. But by the spent pucks the filter diameter seems smaller than the 58mm portafilters, so maybe the "golden rule" may need to be adjusted for this situation?...
Beans: I found that the quality of the bean makes a huge difference in the shot quality. I struggled a bit at first trying to get good shots with local roasts (ha, "local" - I live in Seattle so what does that mean?). Ok, I meant mostly micro roaster houses. If you can get it, I found that Caffe Umbria's Gusto Crema Blend (pure arabica) can produce great crema on the S7 - sometimes about 1/2 inch in a 3-3/4 oz demitasse. (Settings for this are 2 grind, "hot" temp, and enought water to fill a 3.75 oz. cup.) The Bizzarri Blend is a little richer tasting, a little less crema. E. Bizzarri's roasting shop is a treasure to Seattle I think. Sometimes I have to go right to their shop to get it fresh enough, though, as the grocer's Umbria stock might be weeks old. Other microroasters are good too, as long as you consider the next issue: The age of any of the beans makes a SIGNIFICANT difference. After they sit four or five days in a ceramic sealed container at room temp, I have the urge to buy freshly roasted beans.
Frother: I found with a little practice it makes quite good cappucino/latte foam from 2% milk, but breves from straight creme are pretty tough. But I'm a rank novice at frothing, so take that with some salt.
Overall shot quality: The S7, hands down, makes better espresso than most - maybe 7 or 8 out of 10 - bars I went to before I made the purchase. To me, that makes it definately worth it. I must say I thought long and hard about the purchase, and almost bought the Baratza/Solis Palazzo at 1/2 the price of the S7. But when the words of Dennis Hopper came to mind: "Ya can't go halfway to Venus, man..." it became clear to me I should just pony up the rhino for the Jura machine. I gathered from the coffeegeek first look that the s7/8/9 might be making some of the best consumer superauto shots available, though the Solis 5000 digital (virtually the same brew group as the Palazzo) is rated pretty highly. I would still like a side-2-side compare with the Palazzo some day if I could.
Things I don't like: oily beans will stick in the craw of the grinder, and deprive the dosing mechanism. So every time I use oily beans, I must open the lid, remove the second lid (or "aroma preserver" as they've named it), and stir the beans. So much for "one-touch" operation. Drying the beans on a plate, as the manual recommends, does not seem to work for me. I now have simply removed the feeder/disperser thingie in the hopper, which is where oily beans get stuck. This required some extra washers to take up slack in the screws.
Temp/warmup issues: I notice I get better espresso when I shoot a throwaway, after the machine's been sitting idle for even 15 minutes or so. The crema is noticable thicker. Better still if I run two shots thru first. Running the rinse cycle helps with the brew-group temp only a little bit as far as I can tell. So I'm burning through extra beans to get the better shots. I've actually tried buying cheap coffee to put in the bypass doser for the warmup shot since I don't drink it anyway. And no, the machine is not going into "economy mode" when this happens.
Programmability: I found I don't really need all the programming for different cups. Without programmable grinder settings it doesn't really matter. Caffe Crema/Suisse needs a coarse grind, while espresso needs finer. You can change grind only while grinding, usually wasting a shot because of the 1 shot latency in the doser path. If you can remember, you might use the same wasted shot for the warmup I guess. The two "small" and "large" cup buttons have a doubling feature, but I wish the manual would explain it better: it says that they are "adjusted" for powder dosing, but what does that mean if you're already on max dosage for the single button? Does it try and cram double the coffee into the filter? I guess I'd prefer to have more programmed drink buttons, and I would set them up for different coffee blends/roasts rather than cup sizes. And eliminate the doubling buttons. But with the S7 I can have only two, while maintaining the "special" coffee button purpose for the cafe Suisse (what my wife drinks).
Thank goodness wholelattelove explained the shower screen cleaning procedure. It needs to be done quite often, and Fed-Exing the machine back to the factory for a procedure you can do yourself in 5 min. with a wet paper towel would be sad. I have to do this about once a week it seems. It degrades shot quality long before it slows the brewing procedure, as some other reviewers have noted.
Flaws: when I first got it it had a bug. No, I don't mean a software fault, I mean an INSECT. Some tiny dead critter fell into the crema of a shot after I snapped the silver adjustable dispenser housing into the max-up position, on maybe my 30th shot. I couldn't tell if it was a New York bug (distribution) or a Swiss bug (manufacuring).
I'll conclude by re-stating: I'm glad I bought this machine.