The perfect cup of coffee costs US$3,500

NEW YORK, June 27 — Your day’s first cup of coffee, if you make it yourself, is something of a paradox. To do it right demands quality ingredients and equipment, as well as focus and precision — two qualities that most of us are lacking in those perilous pre-caffeinated, post-waking minutes.

You could venture out into the world and get your name misspelled on a paper cup, but that is scarcely better. Enter the Jura Z6, which — in a very Swiss way — quickly, precisely, and yes, automatically makes almost any coffee drink to your exact specifications. You no longer need barista skills (or even pants) to get a perfect flat white.

The Jura even looks different from your typical espresso machine. It sits on the counter like a piece of modern architecture, its aluminium facia billowing and curving like a Frank Gehry façade. The 2.4 litre (81 ounce) water tank, lit from beneath in cool blue light, stands like a slim appendage on the left side of the machine. Below the colour screen is the bank of height-adjustable nozzles (also architecturally lit) that dispense espresso, water, milk, and foam into your mug.

On its way, the coffee and milk is touched by a whole lot of proprietary technology and with that, a whole lot of proprietary acronyms.

Coffee beans, stored in a 10-oz. hopper on the machine’s top, are ground in a conical burr grinder before water in the IWS (Intelligent Water System) flows through the IPBAS (Intelligent Pre Brew Aroma System) and moistens it, allowing it to swell before brewing.

A PEP (Pulse Extraction Process) then pulses water through the ground espresso, rather than simply flowing steadily, a process that marginally extends the extraction time but makes for a more richly flavoured shot with a more pronounced crema. This is often a weak spot for other machines in the category; the Jura Z6 gets it right.

The iPod-style wheel and button on the top of the machine offers 10 strengths and three temperatures. Likewise, milk and milk foam can each be set to any of 10 temperatures.

Your drink can also be customized and labelled (and new ones created), so if you like your cappuccino with 2.5 ounces of extra-hot, extra-strong espresso and minimal foam, while your partner wants one that’s only 1.5 ounces of normal temperature, normal strength espresso, and extra foam, each can be easily set, labelled, and saved.

The process is not all that different from those first few minutes spent with a brand new car, when you adjust your seats, steering wheel, and stereo to your exact specifications.

As simple and rewarding as it is to customise your coffee, the aspect of the Z6 you’ll probably come to love most is its speed. It took exactly 94.2 seconds from the time I powered on the machine until the moment I took a first sip of the cappuccino it made. And that included allowing for the machine to come to temperature, perform its startup rinse cycle, and grind the beans. You could probably cut that time in half for your second cup.

Sure, US$3,500 (RM14,329) may seem like a lot for an espresso machine. But this is more than that: It’s a daily dose of caffeinated instant gratification, right when you need it most. You might even call it a bargain.

Key betails: An espresso machine that can make anything from a concentrated ristretto espresso to a multi-layered latte macchiato at the touch of a button.

Competitors: Saeco Xelsis Evo (US$2,999), DeLonghi PrimaDonna S De Luxe (US$2,999)

Price: Starts at US$3,500

Why it’s worth it: Because you can easily customise every aspect of your favourite drinks, your morning cappuccino can be perfect and easy. — Bloomberg