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Ascaso Steel UNO Professional Espresso Machine Versus Rancilio Sylvia 2009
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espressoaddict
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Joined: 18 Mar 2009
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Posted Sun Oct 25, 2009, 12:18pm
Subject: Ascaso Steel UNO Professional Espresso Machine Versus Rancilio Sylvia 2009
 

Getting ready to replace my current machine and have isolated my choices to these two models.

Keep in mind, my budget is $600.00.

Better yet anybody own the Ascaso Steel UNO Pro and have any pros or cons about why they bought this machine over the Sylvia?

Thanks in advance!
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wideasleep1
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wideasleep1
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Espresso: VBMDoubleDomo
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Posted Sun Oct 25, 2009, 12:41pm
Subject: Re: Ascaso Steel UNO Professional Espresso Machine Versus Rancilio Sylvia 2009
 

I would tend towards Silvia for many reasons: Tried and true, loads of support and user-derived experience behind her, made of serious commerical components and built to last, parts availability when the inevitable failure happens on ANY machine, and, of course, Italian parentage vs. Spanish. :p

FWIW, I have a PID'd (Watlow SD3) Silvia in BST around your price point. ;) It's a V1, before Rancilio began adding plastic 'bling' to Silvia.
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acasabia
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acasabia
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Location: Westchester, NY
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Espresso: Expobar Brewtus iv-p,...
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Roaster: hot-air popper.
Posted Sun Oct 25, 2009, 1:06pm
Subject: Re: Ascaso Steel UNO Professional Espresso Machine Versus Rancilio Sylvia 2009
 

i would agree with the sylvia, it has more of a following, you can find more info on it, more people would be able to help if you have problems.

Do you have a grinder? most people, including myself would argue the grinder is more important than the machine. you can have the greatest machine in the world, but w/o a capable grinder your espresso will suck.

I would also consider the le'lit pl041 available from 1st line and Clive coffee for about $400 (hey with the savings you could buy a grinder if you need it). the disadvantages of the le'lit is that it has a 57mm group instead of 58 like the sylvia (I believe the ascaso is also actually 57). the le'lit also has a smaller boiler but it hasnt been a  problem, and it has more temp stability. the boiler does not have an auto refill (Im not sure if the sylvia or ascaso have this either)

the most common complaint against the le'lit is the steam wand attachment, taking it off leaves you with a shorter wand, which with +20oz pitchers may be an issue. I haven't had any problems with mine.
also in accordance with wideasleep1's post, the Le'lit is italian.

i use an ascaso grinder with my Le'lit and I am getting consistent and phenomenal results.

 
Anthony C

Currently pulling:
Path Coffee Roasters (PortChester, NY) Feather in cap espresso.

Cold Brewing:
Gimme! (ithaca, NY) Moca Java

http://coffeeandneuroscience.wordpress.com/
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acasabia
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acasabia
Joined: 17 Oct 2008
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Location: Westchester, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus iv-p,...
Grinder: Quamar M80e, Hario slim
Vac Pot: Yama Vacpot, Aeropress,
Drip: french press
Roaster: hot-air popper.
Posted Sun Oct 25, 2009, 1:14pm
Subject: Re: Ascaso Steel UNO Professional Espresso Machine Versus Rancilio Sylvia 2009
 

Just looked into the ascaso, it does have a 57mm group, and the frothing attachment on that machine makes the wand very short, so steaming would be a pain. Comparing its specs, your better off with a Le'lit, which is cheaper and more recognized than the ascaso.

 
Anthony C

Currently pulling:
Path Coffee Roasters (PortChester, NY) Feather in cap espresso.

Cold Brewing:
Gimme! (ithaca, NY) Moca Java

http://coffeeandneuroscience.wordpress.com/
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Frost
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Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
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Location: Sierra
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Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
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Posted Sun Oct 25, 2009, 3:21pm
Subject: Re: Ascaso Steel UNO Professional Espresso Machine Versus Rancilio Sylvia 2009
 

What are you looking to accomplish by replacing your PID Gaggia?
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Jmanespresso
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Posted Sun Oct 25, 2009, 9:56pm
Subject: Re: Ascaso Steel UNO Professional Espresso Machine Versus Rancilio Sylvia 2009
 

Yeah, I wouldnt call the Lelit/Silvia/Ascaso an upgrade from your PID gaggia coffee.

Aside from a 3-way solenoid valve, the PID Gaggia probably is easier to use.  Being used to a PID on your machine, you will want to PID one of the above machines REAL quick.  BUT, the operation will stay exactly the same.  I'd wager that given proper shot building and fresh coffee, and a PID/temp surf, the shots from all the machines would be next to impossible to tell apart.

If you're looking for an upgrade, personally, Id be looking at entry level HXs. the Fiorenzato Bricoletta is 1K from 1stline, same price as the Bezzera's, and the NS Oscar.

If you're looking for a replacement(due to a broken gaggia), Id keep the PID from your Coffee, and go for a Gaggia classic, and slap the PID on it.

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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espressoaddict
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Mar 2009
Posts: 346
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3 (Primary)...
Grinder: Baratza Vario 2009 and...
Vac Pot: None
Drip: Melitta Single Cup, Bodum...
Posted Sun Oct 25, 2009, 11:42pm
Subject: Re: Ascaso Steel UNO Professional Espresso Machine Versus Rancilio Sylvia 2009
 

acasabia Said:

Do you have a grinder?
I would also consider the le'lit pl041 available from 1st line and Clive coffee for about $400 (hey with the savings you could buy a grinder if you need it). the disadvantages of the le'lit is that it has a 57mm group instead of 58 like the sylvia (I believe the ascaso is also actually 57).

Posted October 25, 2009 link

Actually, I already have a Rancilio Rocky Grinder.  The Ascaso Uno Pro Version sports a 58mm PF.

acasabia Said:

the most common complaint against the le'lit is the steam wand attachment, taking it off leaves you with a shorter wand, which with +20oz pitchers may be an issue.

Posted October 25, 2009 link

Yeah, that was a concern, as well.  I've removed the attachment from my Gaggia and use it plain, but this is not possible with the Lelit.

wideasleep1 Said:

I would tend towards Silvia for many reasons: Tried and true, loads of support and user-derived experience behind her, made of serious commerical components and built to last, parts availability when the inevitable failure happens on ANY machine, and, of course, Italian parentage vs. Spanish. :p

FWIW, I have a PID'd (Watlow SD3) Silvia in BST around your price point. ;) It's a V1, before Rancilio began adding plastic 'bling' to Silvia.

Posted October 25, 2009 link

Good point! Thanks!

acasabia Said:

Just looked into the ascaso, it does have a 57mm group, and the frothing attachment on that machine makes the wand very short, so steaming would be a pain. Comparing its specs, your better off with a Le'lit, which is cheaper and more recognized than the ascaso.

Posted October 25, 2009 link

The pro features a 58mm PF.  The issue I have with the current Lelit is that they are not only out-of-stock, but it doesn't have a 3-way valve.

Frost Said:

What are you looking to accomplish by replacing your PID Gaggia?

Posted October 25, 2009 link

It has served me quite well, but there are two things I don't like about it and is due for an upgrade.
  1. The aluminum boiler is just too troublesome to maintain.  Mineral deposits aren't much an issue, but there is some carbon like powder that is stemming from the internal boiler.  Healthy wise not good as it goes into the Espresso.  Keep in mind, I use bottled water and monthly descale.  I've even used a wire brush and even buffed the pits caused by corrosion.
  2. The steam wand is too tight to operate. I've already descaled the steam arm twice and still not fix.  Plus just replaced the steam knob and it still slips.

I just don't want to put any more money into this unit.  If I do, I will fix it later, then use it as a backup or sell it.

Jmanespresso Said:

Yeah, I wouldnt call the Lelit/Silvia/Ascaso an upgrade from your PID gaggia coffee.

Posted October 25, 2009 link

Probably not, but I would like to eliminate the aluminum boiler completely.  I'm very interested also in the more durable operation steam arm and performance.  Yeah, I would agree with the others it is a very expensive upgrade, but I need a new Espresso machine very soon.  Plus the Lelit is on back order and doesn't have the 3-way valve.

Aside from a 3-way solenoid valve, the PID Gaggia probably is easier to use.  Being used to a PID on your machine, you will want to PID one of the above machines REAL quick.  BUT, the operation will stay exactly the same.  I'd wager that given proper shot building and fresh coffee, and a PID/temp surf, the shots from all the machines would be next to impossible to tell apart.

Jmanespresso Said:

If you're looking for an upgrade, personally, Id be looking at entry level HXs. the Fiorenzato Bricoletta is 1K from 1stline, same price as the Bezzera's, and the NS Oscar.

Posted October 25, 2009 link

Dude, I'd like to go there believe me, but right now the budget is maxed out at $600.00.  Realistically, it was originally $300.00, but there is no machine I like in that range.


Jmanespresso Said:

If you're looking for a replacement(due to a broken gaggia), Id keep the PID from your Coffee, and go for a Gaggia classic, and slap the PID on it.

Posted October 25, 2009 link

Believe me, if the metal on that boiler was just brass, I would have done that by ordering it from Costco ASAP.
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davethebrewguy
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davethebrewguy
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Posted Mon Oct 26, 2009, 1:36am
Subject: Re: Ascaso Steel UNO Professional Espresso Machine Versus Rancilio Sylvia 2009
 

espressoaddict Said:

Believe me, if the metal on that boiler was just brass, I would have done that by ordering it from Costco ASAP.

Posted October 25, 2009 link

I don't expect to see Gaggia downgrade to brass anytime soon, it would be a very poor choice with their boiler design. Of course, considering the stainless boiler in the newer models, I guess anything is possible.

When did LeLit remove the 3-way from their machine??? 1st line's site still shows the PL041 as having it. That or the Classic would easily be my choice over the Silvia or the Ascaso, but without the valve I would also take it out of the running. I've owned an old Gaggia Espresso and a Silvia, the stainless Silvia was nicer to look at than the white plastic Gaggia and the 3-way solenoid was a nice addition but other than that the Gaggia was the better machine. I still have both of them, I've been toying with the idea of adding a PID to the Gaggia (it's my backup machine) but the Silvia will probably end up on BST sooner or later. Adding a PID to the Silvia made it almost equal to the Gaggia (without a PID) in my experience. If the prices were equal I would buy a Classic over the Silvia without a doubt, it's just a better machine.
Have you considered the Venus? Last I heard it was only a few bucks more than the Silvia and it looks to be a better machine. Between the two machines that you've asked about, I would probably try the Ascaso. Like the Silvia, the element is too small for the size of the boiler at only 1000 watts and it is over priced for what you get but the Silvia was such a disappointment that I'd be willing to try anything else first.
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acasabia
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acasabia
Joined: 17 Oct 2008
Posts: 620
Location: Westchester, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus iv-p,...
Grinder: Quamar M80e, Hario slim
Vac Pot: Yama Vacpot, Aeropress,
Drip: french press
Roaster: hot-air popper.
Posted Mon Oct 26, 2009, 8:24am
Subject: Re: Ascaso Steel UNO Professional Espresso Machine Versus Rancilio Sylvia 2009
 

espressoaddict Said:

Actually, I already have a Rancilio Rocky Grinder.  The Ascaso Uno Pro Version sports a 58mm PF.

Posted October 25, 2009 link

I saw somewhere that while the ascaso site says its a 58mm, the filter basket is 57mm. I know that the blank I use in my machine is intended for the ascaso and it is a 57mm basket.

espressoaddict Said:

Yeah, that was a concern, as well.  I've removed the attachment from my Gaggia and use it plain, but this is not possible with the Lelit.

Posted October 25, 2009 link

this is very possible with the Le'lit. after removing the attachment I am left with a 3.5 inch regular wand, mine is newer so it may not be the same on older models

espressoaddict Said:

The issue I have with the current Lelit is that they are not only out-of-stock, but it doesn't have a 3-way valve.

Posted October 25, 2009 link

the Le'lit pl041 does have a 3 way valve. there is a new version that does not have a 3-way... pl042? I dont know its model number (it has buttons not switches). but the pl041 does in fact have a 3 way valve.

check clive coffee, last I checked they still have the pl041 in stock for $379 if you're interested.

 
Anthony C

Currently pulling:
Path Coffee Roasters (PortChester, NY) Feather in cap espresso.

Cold Brewing:
Gimme! (ithaca, NY) Moca Java

http://coffeeandneuroscience.wordpress.com/
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Frost
Senior Member
Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,098
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Mon Oct 26, 2009, 9:50am
Subject: Re: Ascaso Steel UNO Professional Espresso Machine Versus Rancilio Sylvia 2009
 

An old boss once said, 'When the list of complaints gets long enough, it's time to start a new list.'

I'm assuming whatever machine you get, you will put your PID from the Gaggia on it.
The Ascaso data on the PRO model does say it uses a 58mm basket and a 10oz boiler. ( but can we really trust the data is accurate from Ascaso? Better confirm with an actual machine) Really the basket size is just about easy availability of different commercial baskets. I think it makes a difference.

Assuming this is the case I would head towards getting the Ascaso for the saturated group vs. offset on the Silvia. This will give you more predictable and easier to manage brew temps.

There is no mention of what OPV is on the Ascaso, so you may have to deal with this issue to tune it in.

The way I see it, the rap sheet on Silvia is long enough that I avoid it. (Because of the offset group and alleged issues with showerhead/water dispersion) Break the cycle/tradition, don't follow the crowd, get a different machine and open it up, install your PID and see what you can get out of it! I'm betting you will be able to beat the Gaggia on shot quality. (.....but that's based on my WAG and comparing Venus to Gaggia Espresso)

Be sure to report back here in a few months with what you did and your results.

(on your Gaggia boiler corrosion, it sounds like your de-scaling was too aggressive and shortened it's life. With the right water, descale should only be one maybe once or twice a year. Every month would be for some hard water. )
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