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Astra mega II
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Astra mega II  
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Zoe
Senior Member


Joined: 16 May 2012
Posts: 3
Location: Cabot
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Jun 14, 2012, 10:42am
Subject: Astra mega II
 

I have recently purchased an Astra Mega II machine used. This is our first real espresso machine. I also have a mazzer super jolly (which I also bought used), that works beautifully. I have many questions about the machine
Here are a couple that are bothering me:
   Can I preinfuse my espresso? It doesn't have a manual switch.
   Also, it has an auto tamper. Can I still tamp it myself or does that mess it up? On the subject of the self tamper; I know that you should not see the screen and screw imprint on the top of your espresso, but does the tamper change that?
   Thank you, and any other advice will be much appreciated.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,775
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Jun 14, 2012, 11:16am
Subject: Re: Astra mega II
 

I think you might be a little confused.
I didn't know anything about that particular machine so I looked it up and it is just a standard, two group commercial espresso machine and they do not have any tamping feature at all, why do you think it auto tamps? An auto tamper is normally only found on a super automatic machine and on some grinders, I have never seen it on an espresso machine.

The SJ should be a very good match with that machine. Tamping is the least important part of the whole process, the grind, the dose and freshness are way more important, the tamp only compresses the coffee bet to remove any air spaces and to try to make it as uniform as possible. You can not match the pressure the water will be putting on that puck, a brew pressure is about 9 to 10 bar or about 140 PSI, much higher than your total pressure of about 30 pounds spread out over the whole puck of coffee.

You have a good machine and grinder, you need good coffee. If it is not fresh, you are just wasting your time and all the money you have in the equipment. Fresh is within 2 weeks from THE DAY IT WAS ROASTED. If there is a "best by" date, forget it, that coffee is stale. There are a lot of good roasters on line to choose from, if you need help, we can advise you to try some. Off the top of my head, Klatch, Kean and Redbird are all great.

As to preinfusion, I don't know that particular machine but most commercial machines have some sort of pre infusion feature built in I think. I know the E61 group head does for sure but that is not what you have.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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Zoe
Senior Member


Joined: 16 May 2012
Posts: 3
Location: Cabot
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Jun 14, 2012, 11:29am
Subject: Re: Astra mega II
 

When I go to the Astra web site it says that it is standard in all astra mega machines. They call this an automatic, I expected it to be a semi automatic. They do have the super automatic, so maybe it's just they're terminology? Thank you for responding. I was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed. Nobody else I know is really into making a great cup of espresso. Any suggestions for an inline water softener?
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,775
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Jun 14, 2012, 4:07pm
Subject: Re: Astra mega II
 

I went to the astra web site and look at it very thoroughly. they do make a machine that is a super auto matic and it is called the super mega 1. so do you have a super megga 1 or a mega 2?

in a nutshell a super automatic machine will grind and brew and empty the grounds auto matically. an automatic machine uses a sense or 2 measure the water flow so it has buttons with different sized drinks on them but you still need to grind and jim and load the portafilter into the machine yourself then you remove the portafilter an empty there grounds. A semi automatic machine does not have the flow sensor so in addition to what you do on the automatic machine you start and stop the water flow for the drink yourself.

about not knowing anyone who knows about espresso equipment relax you have a whole world wide friend network right here and we can get you through just about anything.

Please excuse grammer errors etc this was dictated on my cell phone and the voice recognition system is not always dead on

oh and I forgot to say it welcome to the board

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,775
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Jun 14, 2012, 4:21pm
Subject: Re: Astra mega II
 

About the water filter, it really depends on your water. You might need a water softener or not.

To really get your head spinning about water, google for "the insanely long water FAQ" there is enough stuff there to make the espresso questions seem like basic info!

Like I said, relax and ask your questions, there is no such thing as a stupid.question.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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Zoe
Senior Member


Joined: 16 May 2012
Posts: 3
Location: Cabot
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Jun 14, 2012, 4:27pm
Subject: Re: Astra mega II
 

I have the automatic version. Kind of disappointed about that. So I am limited to how much I can change about my espresso.  I did call Astra, and the woman seemed very helpful, though she didn't know what preinfusion was. When i get going on it she aaid they can walk me through any problems I have. As to my water, I have very hard well water.  Thank you for the welcome. This is my first time on anything like this.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,775
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Fri Jun 15, 2012, 5:44am
Subject: Re: Astra mega II
 

Automatic, in my opinion is better than Semi automatic. You have MORE control than with a semi automatic. You can stop the shot at any time you want, just like a semi auto BUT, if your grind and dose is going well, you can walk away from the machine without worry that it will just keep running! This gives you the option to do things like get ready for your next shot, walk to the fridge to get the milk etc.

After having my automatic, I really don not want to go back, the ease of use and consistency is so much better with the automatic as the water volume is ALWAYS the same so if you pull into different cups, you do not have to fret over the liquid volume which can look completely different cup to cup and the volume of crema does not throw you off either as the water volume is measured and is always the same. Do not be dissapointed, REJOICE!!!!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
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