On its very hip-looking website, Terra Kaffe markets itself as a sustainable alternative to pod brewers. How does it stack up against its bean-to-cup rivals, like Jura, who have been grinding coffee beans fresh since before sustainability was cool?
Let’s compare the two brands to see if this newcomer can take on a well-established coffee giant.
What You Should Know About Terra Kaffe
Terra Kaffe was founded in 2018 as a start-up backed by The Seed Lab. The company started in Berlin, Germany but is now headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.
The goal of Terra Kaffe is to create a more sustainable, bean-to-cup system that extracts great flavor while cutting down on waste. As they say, “coffee doesn’t grow on pods.”
Terra Kaffe’s principles of design, sustainability, rituals (they use the phrase “meaningful inactivity”), and education seem targeted toward a young, hip crowd.
So far, Terra Kaffe only markets one machine, the TK-01. This espresso maker is a super-automatic bean-to-cup machine with a built-in milk frother.
This means there is no grinding, tamping, pulling your shot, or layering your latte. Just push a button, and the machine takes care of the rest. Below, I’ll get into more detail about the TK-01 and how it compares to a Jura machine.
Who Is It For?
Terra Kaffe as a brand markets to the socially and environmentally conscious. It’s a good option for those looking to avoid the plastic waste of machines that use pods.
Since it’s a super-automatic machine, no barista experience is required. This makes it a good choice for anyone who wants to make coffee shop-quality drinks at the push of a button.
While any super-automatic is no small investment, Terra Kaffe’s machine is priced lower than any of Jura’s machines, making it perhaps more attractive to the budget-conscious.
What Don’t We Love?
The grinder doesn’t get truly espresso-fine. The finest grind that this machine can achieve is a little too coarse for our taste, and that affects the quality of the espresso shot.
Some users have found there are difficult areas to clean on this machine, where spent grounds can get trapped and then mold. Yuck.
The manual milk froth dial on the side requires the user to adjust between the “dry” foam of a cappuccino and the more milky foam of a latte- the machine doesn’t do this automatically.
There is a known issue with the water tank that makes it sometimes difficult to align. We hope this will be resolved, but in the meantime, Terra Kaffe offers a video on how to fix it.
What You Should Know About Jura
Jura is a Swiss company that has existed since 1931. It originally designed and manufactured various appliances, but that began to change in 1986 with the release of its first fully automatic espresso machine with a built-in grinder.
By the 1990s, Jura had shifted its focus to manufacturing only coffee and espresso machines and set its sights on the international market.
Since then, Jura has continued to develop its lines of fully automatic espresso makers with a focus on being “freshly ground, not capsuled.”
Depending upon the model, Jura machines are manufactured in Switzerland and Portugal.
Jura makes a wide range of super-automatic espresso machines. Some include a built-in milk frother and all feature built-in grinders.
Jura espresso makers are well-known for producing excellent quality espresso. There are a few technologies that contribute to this.
- Variable brewing unit, which automatically adapts to the right amount of grounds for the beverage, from 5g-16g.
- Pulse Extraction Process (P.E.P.), which extracts the best possible flavor from even very small amounts of grounds by using short bursts of water.
- Cold Extraction Process, a new feature in top-tier Jura machines, can produce cold brew beverages with equally good flavor.
- Intelligent Pre-Brew Aroma System (IPBAS), which moistens the grounds with water just before brewing. This helps bloom the coffee and extract the best possible flavor.
Who Is It For?
Jura’s machines are good for espresso lovers who want great-tasting espresso and coffee made from freshly ground beans.
They’re all super-automatic machines, so they’re a good fit for someone who wants the ease of just pushing a button rather than the customizability of a manual espresso maker.
Make no mistake, though, Jura machines are expensive. They’re best suited for someone who is confident they want to shell out the cash for a luxury coffee appliance.
What Don’t We Love?
The high price tag makes it difficult to pull the trigger on a Jura machine. If you’re on a budget, consider these options for espresso machines that won’t break the bank.
While the super-automatic nature of Jura might appeal to some, others prefer a more hands-on brewing process, and Jura can’t deliver that.
Head to Head: The TK-01 vs the Jura ENA 8
Both the TK-01 and the Jura ENA 8 are super-automatic espresso machines with a built-in grinder and built-in milk frother. They also share other features, like a pre-ground coffee chute (for that rare cup of decaf) and integrated rinsing, cleaning, and descaling systems.
Terra Kaffe TK-01
The Terra Kaffee TK-01 is new to the scene, but it has many of the features we love in other super-automatics. It’s bean-to-cup, grinding the beans fresh for every beverage. The touch screen has options for espresso, Americano, latte, and cappuccino.
In addition to selecting a drink, you can adjust the milk volume, brew temperature, pressure, and amount of coffee grounds on the screen.
The TK-01 is modern looking. It comes in white and black, and with its rounded edges and minimalist design, it fits right in with your phone or laptop.
- Environmentally conscious. This is a great step away from pod brewers if that’s what you’re using now.
- Easy to use. A single button tap and your latte are on the way.
- Affordable. You’ll notice we still don’t say “inexpensive,” but this is a pretty good deal in the world of super-automatic machines.
- The grinder could be better. While nice and quiet, this grinder doesn’t quite get the coffee to an espresso-fine level, and that affects the brew quality.
- Manual milk foam adjustment. This machine doesn’t automatically adjust the foam to the texture that is traditionally found in, say, a latte rather than a macchiato. You can do that yourself if you want, via a dial under the side cover.
- Doesn’t make plain coffee. Terra Kaffe’s website suggests this workaround, but it does involve some extra steps. If you enjoy basic cups of coffee, this could get frustrating.
Jura ENA 8
I promise I’m not biased when I say I really love this machine.
The Jura ENA 8 has ten brewing settings: ristretto, espresso, cappuccino, espresso doppio, coffee, macchiato, latte macchiato, flat white, milk foam, and hot water. These are selected from a color (though not touch-screen) display.
There are ten coffee strength levels to choose from, as well as three brew temperatures.
- Excellent quality espresso. The quality of the grinder, the pre-brew technology, and the Pulse Extraction Process work together to make one really tasty shot of espresso.
- One-touch milk specialties. Unlike the TK-01, the Jura ENA 8 automatically adjusts the milk foam consistency based on the drink you want, so there’s no need to fiddle with a dial to create a latte rather than a macchiato.
- Environmentally friendly. Jura has been bean-to-cup (no pods) since its first machine, and it also incorporates Energy Save Mode and automatic switch-off to save power.
- Expensive. The ENA 8 is more than twice the price of the TK-01, and it’s on the lower end of Jura’s line.
- Doesn’t come with a milk container. This is a nitpick, but come on. This is a pricey machine, and it’s frustrating to then have to shell out more for a milk carafe.
Terra Kaffe is a newcomer to a market that already has a few big, established brands. They’re playing the environmentally friendly angle, but we have to point out that Jura has been plastic-pod-free since their first machine in the 80s.
We think that the grind and brew quality, ease of brewing, and variety of one-touch beverage options all tip in the favor of Jura. If you have the money to shell out, we recommend going with them.
However, if you’re looking to stay under the $1,000 mark and still want a machine that makes good enough espresso, has one-touch functionality, and looks great on your counter, give Terra Kaffe a try.