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Home / Features / I’ve been using a £3k+ coffee machine to see if more expensive machines make better coffee

I’ve been using a £3k+ coffee machine to see if more expensive machines make better coffee

Does shelling out extra for a top-priced coffee machine give you a better cup at the end? There's only one way to find out.

Jura Giga 10 making cold drink

There’s no two ways about it, I’m a bit of a coffee geek. Back in the day, I used to be a barista and got kind of stuck in my ways about brewing a good cup. Friends call me the “snob” – yes, I’m that person. So I’ve got a few different coffee bits around the gaff for brewing methods. There’s a V60 filter, a moka pot, a few cafetières, and of course, a top espresso machine. It’s a manual espresso machine, so I’ve got to do all the work – I love controlling each element of the brewing process.

But that means the quality of the coffee is down to me. How about a more expensive machine that handles everything for me – can it make a better cup of coffee? To put that to the test, I’ve been using Jura’s Giga 10 machine for the past few weeks.

Even the bells and whistles have bells and whistles

Jura’s Giga 10 espresso machine is a top bit of kit. It’s somewhere between £3500 and £4000, depending on where you get it from. So it means serious business, and most people aren’t going to be getting one for their kitchen counter. But it promises some seriously fancy features, and to make an excellent cup of coffee.

The Giga 10 can handle making 35 different coffees, both hot and cold, thanks to the ability to extract cold coffee through a longer brew process. You can completely customise your drinks, from the amount of milk, strength of the espresso, and even the blend of beans. That’s because there’s two bean hoppers here, and you can adjust the percentage of beans used from each one. It lets you create your own blend of beans like no other – a pretty cool feature for a coffee fan such as myself.

Touchscreen panel of Jura Giga 10 coffee machine

These grinders are ceramic disc grinders, so shouldn’t blitz your beans to unflavoured pieces. Once it’s ground the coffee, it pulses water in short bursts rather than a constant flow, which helps to maximise extraction time and flavour release. There’s a separate container for your milk, with a clear rubber hosepipe to connect it up. It’ll automatically heat and froth your milk (or keep it cold), according to the drink you’re making.

Everything’s controlled by one big panoramic touchscreen panel in the middle, where you can set your drinks off. You can save drinks to your preferences, shortcut the ones you make the most to the first page, and change all the settings. It’s nice to see so many customisation options on the panel. But that’s a lot of features talk, so how does it actually stack up?

How does it taste?

It’s hard to answer such a question with any level of certainty. Taste is very subjective – coffee I think tastes nice could make you want to spit it back out. And it works both ways. But we’ll try to look at this with more measurable elements, to determine if it’s a better experience.

Since the Jura controls everything, there’s less room for any manual intervention. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. Since the machine is doing the same thing every time, you’re going to get a consistent brew. If you liked a specific percentage of beans and decided on the perfect amount of foam, it’ll make that drink exactly the same every single time. That’s something a human can’t do – even the most experienced barista around. But on the flip side, you don’t get as much control. It’s unclear how much the grounds are compacted (which you could control with a press), and that affects taste. The same applies to any other factor that affects taste that you could usually oversee with a manual machine. Manual machines leave much more room for error, but the Giga 10 doesn’t even know the word.

For hot coffees, milk is somewhere where you could probably beat the Giga 10. It can give you different levels of foam, but it can’t handle microfoam like a barista. You know how a latte or a flat white comes with that thin layer of foam on top, usually with a pretty little picture? That’s thanks to tiny bubbles that make up something called microfoam. You create this by only aerating the milk a little bit, and there’s a whole lot of science behind milk proteins as to how this works. It requires a level of precision that you’d have to manually control, something the Giga 10 can’t do. Now, that’s not a criticism of only this machine, I don’t think there’s an automated machine that can do this. But it’s something significant to note about such an expensive bit of kit.

Using the Jura Giga 10

But for cold coffees, the Giga 10 can achieve something you couldn’t by yourself, without either a lot of time or an extra bit of kit. This machine can cold brew coffee. While it might sound like this just involves using cold water, it needs a different method of extraction. Cold water just isn’t as good as extracting the flavour out of coffee grounds. So it needs more time, higher pressure, or a combination of both. That’s what the Giga 10 does. It squeezes more coffee out of your grounds over a slightly longer brew time for cold brew coffees. To achieve the same, you’d either need to batch brew some cold brew over a few hours, or use an additional machine to do it quicker. Of course, you can still make iced coffees just over ice (which the Giga 10 pumps out already cool). But the ability to make cold brew is an objective advantage.

We’ll try to talk about taste a little bit. While this might sound a little contradictory, the first place to start is aroma. Thanks to the “short bursts” method of brewing, the Giga 10 enhances the aroma of your drink both while making it, and when it’s served to you. Because of how taste works, aroma plays a big part. Notice how food tastes bland when you’ve got a cold? That’s because you can’t smell it. Jura manages to maintain the aroma of your beans as they were – no burnt smell or anything like that. It lines you up for drinking a rather tasty cup of coffee.

And for the most part, the Jura makes a really good cup of coffee. You could probably tweak elements of the brew for a slightly more flavourful cup. Personally, I think it could brew the coffee for slightly longer and use a slightly smaller dose for something tastier. But the result of the Giga 10 is good, probably on par or better than something you’d get from your local coffee chain. It tastes balanced, and the Giga 10 manages to bring out some flavour from the beans you’ve put in. It doesn’t ever taste burnt or bitter, which is quite a feat for such an automated machine. And there aren’t many grounds at the bottom of your cup, something that’s an overlooked advantage of this bit of kit.

Does such an expensive machine make a better cup of coffee?

Like I said above, it’s hard to answer this question. The Giga 10 makes a tasty cup of coffee – it actually has flavour. But I reckon you could improve the brew to make it taste slightly better. Would it make a big difference? Probably not. We’re talking about nit-pickiness here that would make my friends roll their eyes. But I do think it would be wrong to say the Giga 10 can make the perfect cup of coffee. But is the perfect cup of coffee better? Or is the Giga 10’s result better?

Given how badly you can screw up a cup of coffee, with even the smallest of errors, when doing it manually – the odds are you’re going to get a better cup of coffee from the Giga 10. It’s consistent, and it absolutely will taste the same every time. And when you consider the fact it can cold brew coffee and combine two beans in your cup, you’re entering territory of thing’s you couldn’t even do on a manual or cheaper machine. So yes, perhaps the Giga 10 does make a better cup of coffee. And I’d say it is because it’s more expensive.

Because you have to shell out for this one, Jura can afford to come up with its pulse brewing method. It can pack the tech for the cold brew. And it has the quality of top ceramic grinders to make sure your beans aren’t mushed. If it was any cheaper, it couldn’t do this. So for that, I applaud Jura. Whether or not you need it is a whole other story, though…

Profile image of Connor Jewiss Connor Jewiss

About

Connor is a writer for Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website. He has been writing for around seven years now, with writing across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech. Just like everyone else around here, he’s a fan of gadgets of all sorts! Aside from writing, Connor is involved in the startup scene. This exciting involvement puts him at the front of new and exciting tech, always on the lookout for innovating products.

Areas of expertise

Mobile, macOS, EVs, smart home

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