In the world of one-button coffee and espresso drinks, Jura and Nespresso are two well-known brands with totally different brewing approaches.
Jura is known for its high-price-tag luxury machines and prides itself on being “freshly ground, not capsuled.”
Nespresso pioneered the pre-portioned coffee system and makes espresso machines that use a capsule system to make fresh espresso available to anyone.
But which is right for you: high-end and freshly ground or cleverly engineered and widely accessible? Let’s take a closer look at these two brands to help you decide which is the right choice for your kitchen.
Jura is a Swiss company that has manufactured appliances since the 1930s. The company produced Switzerland’s first automatic coffee machine in the 1980s with a built-in grinder and began to focus on the coffee machine market.
Jura has focused on creating the best possible fully automatic, bean-to-cup espresso machines since the 1990s. They have since phased out all of their other appliances and focused on making an international name for themselves in espresso machines.
The Basic Operation
Jura takes a dig at its competition by marketing its machines as “freshly ground, not capsuled.” Indeed, Jura machines have used fresh ground beans for each cup of coffee since the beginning.
Jura makes a wide range of luxury, super-automatic espresso machines. Each machine has a built-in grinder, and some machines have a built-in milk frother.
Jura beverages are brewed by pressing a button to select the drink you want. From there, the “super-automatic” part takes over to grind the coffee beans, pump hot water through the grounds using Jura’s Pulse Extraction Process, and dispense it into your cup.
Who Is It For?
Jura is a luxury brand, and it’s made for and marketed to coffee purists who want an excellent tasting coffee or espresso and maybe want a status symbol as well.
Jura’s beverages undeniably taste great. It’s also possible to adjust the grind size, beverage size and temperature, and beverage strength. This makes it a good option for anyone who wants to be able to customize their brew.
Higher-end Jura machines have a huge menu of specialty coffees, including cold brews on some machines. If you’re comfortable paying the higher price, this is an ideal machine for lovers of variety.
Finally, the super-automatic nature of a Jura means it’s very easy to use and maintain. This makes it a good choice for anyone lacking barista skills who still wants a great espresso-based drink.
What We Don’t Love
The price. There is no low-budget model in Jura’s lineup. This is just not a good brand for the cost-conscious.
For some, automation. For some users, the fully automatic nature of the Jura might be perfect. However, this isn’t a great choice for those that prefer to get more hands-on in their coffee making.
Nespresso was born out of the desire to “enable anyone to create the perfect cup of espresso coffee.”
Created in 1986 in Switzerland, Nespresso was the first portioned coffee system. The idea for the Nespresso coffee machine came about when a Nestle employee, Eric Favre, noticed a certain coffee bar gaining more customers by serving coffee with better flavor and thick crema.
The baristas achieved this by pumping the espresso machine many times, forcing more water and air pressure through the grounds.
The Nespresso system is designed to replicate what Favre saw these baristas doing.
The Basic Operation
Nespresso machines use hermetically sealed aluminum pods, which keep the coffee grounds inside fresh.
Small holes are punctured in the pod’s lid when it is placed inside the machine. The machine pumps pressurized hot water into the pod through those holes.
The thinner foil on the other side of the pod ruptures, allowing the brewed espresso to flow out into the cup. Just like that, you’ve got espresso!
Who Is It For?
Single-serve coffee machines have grown in popularity in recent years. Nespresso brews a cup or small pot of coffee quickly, easily, and consistently, making it a good choice for busy coffee drinkers who want their caffeine fast.
Nespresso machines are also available at a wide range of price levels. While more pricey high-level machines are available, many smaller machines are very attainable for smaller budgets.
Nespresso also makes many compact machines, so these machines might be a good choice for those who don’t have much counter space to spare.
What We Don’t Love
Not very eco-friendly. Although recycling programs are available, the pods can’t be tossed in with your recycling at home. They must be brought to a special drop-off site or mailed to Nespresso in a special recycling bag.
The inconvenient recycling process means that not many of these pods are actually recycled; instead, they become a lot of waste heading to a landfill.
Not customizable. With the coffee grounds prepackaged into coffee capsules, there’s no way to fiddle with the grind, the amount of grounds, the amount of water, or any other factor.
If you just want your coffee brewed easily and quickly, that might not bother you. But if you like to fine-tune your brew, this is not the machine for you.
The flavor. Some reviewers report that the pods are very darkly roasted and that it’s hard to taste the nuances of each coffee’s flavor. This will be a matter of taste, but again, you can’t change much about it with the capsule system.
Jura vs Nespresso: Entry Level Showdown
Jura ENA 4 vs Nespresso Vertuo Titan
The ENA 4 and Vertuo Titan each brew four delicious coffee beverages. Jura calls them espresso, coffee, coffee doppio, and espresso doppio, while Nespresso names them espresso, double espresso, Gran Lungo, and coffee. Despite the different names, the offerings are pretty similar.
Neither coffee maker has a built-in milk frother, but Nespresso markets a separate milk frother that can be used alongside the Vertuo.
The ENA 4 has a chute to allow the use of any pre-ground coffee in the machine and has a built-in coffee grinder for fresh beans.
The Vertuo requires the use of Nespresso capsules.
Both machines produce a thick crema on top of the espresso shot. Some find the brews from the Vertuo to be rather strong, while the ENA 4 can be adjusted to three different strength levels.
The ENA 4 stands at 17.5 x 10.7 x 12.7 inches, while the Vertuo Titan takes up less space with dimensions of 11.9 x 8.3 x 11.9 inches.
The water reservoirs are comparable in size, with the Jura ENA 4 holding 37 ounces while the Vertuo Titan holds 40 ounces.
There’s really no contest here- you could buy the Vertuo Titan nearly five times over for the price of the ENA 4.
If you’re in the market for a basic machine, the Vertuo is much more affordable and produces similar offerings, although using capsules is somewhat restricting.
Jura and Nespresso: High-End Showdown
Jura E8 and Nespresso Creatista Plus
Let’s take a look at the highlights of the Jura E8 and Nespresso Creatista Plus regarding brewing capabilities.
The Jura E8 brews 17 beverages, including some milk-based coffee drinks which use Jura’s integrated milk frothing system. The Nespresso Creatista Plus brews eight beverages and has a built-in milk system.
The Creatista steams the milk into a jug and requires the user to assemble the drink, while the Jura E8 is one-touch and dispenses the espresso and milk automatically.
As with all Nespresso machines, the Creatista Plus uses pods. The amount of water can be adjusted, allowing some customization. This machine produces consistent, quality brews, but some reviewers find the coffee in the pods too strong.
The Jura E8 grinds beans fresh for each drink, and the coffee strength, amount of water, and water volume can all be customized. Jura machines also consistently produce excellent, flavorful, “typically Italian” espresso shots, thanks to their Pulse Extraction Process.
The Jura takes the lead in the area of brewing options and ease, as well as taste.
Size and Design
Both machines are stylish and will look great on your counter. They also have color display screens for operation.
However, if your counter space is tight, you might prefer the Creatista Plus, which is only 6.7 inches wide (compared to the 11-inch width of the E8).
Again, the price difference between these brands is huge. The Jura E8 is nearly four times the price of the Nespresso Creatista Plus. And this isn’t anywhere near the top of Jura’s line!
For the budget-conscious, the Nespresso Creatista Plus has the advantage here.
Which Automatic Espresso Machine Do We Recommend?
Before you choose between Jura and Nespresso, you’ll need to do a little soul-searching to decide what to prioritize.
If you want the freshest, best-tasting espresso drinks brewed with perfect ease (right down to layering your latte macchiato for you), Jura is your brand. However, you’ll have to be prepared for the hefty price.
If you don’t mind using capsules and surrendering some control, Nespresso provides many solid machines that deliver your coffee quickly, consistently, and easily. This brand will be much, much friendlier to your wallet, as well.