Steel Duo Professional: $1199 CAD
Steel Uno (250ml boiler): $699 CAD
Steel Uno Professional: $899 CAD
Ascaso's been around since 1962? I did not know that....
But now I do. The company's putting that date on the dials of some of their latest machines, including the one that is the subject of this First Look: the Ascaso Steel Duo Thermoblock / Boiler machine.
Many of us heard about Ascaso in North America for the first time through this very website, when the Spanish based company found an initial distributor for their (then) brand new Innova Grinder. Some of that initial information that I wrote about the origins of the grinder (and the company behind it) wasn't quite true - back then, all fresh on the scene, I was pretty much ready to take anyone's word on anything, and it caused some misinformation to get out there (since rectified in the old reviews).
There was one benefit though - that episode did inspire in me was to get to know the Ascaso company more directly, and everything I learned was really interesting - we're so focused on machines sourced and built in Italy that we tend to forget there's huge espresso-related companies in other parts of Europe, and Spain is no exception.
Ascaso was the company behind the Innova name until they decided to retire that name and go with Ascaso in late 2005. In this First Look, we'll be giving you a bit more information about this company that is so big, it has a catalog of over 24,000 parts for espresso and coffee brewing equipment (as well as other food service industry products, both for home and commercial use).
Then I'll launch into a full descriptive First Look at the Ascaso Steel Duo machine, which was provided to us by Morala Trading, based in Ottawa, Canada. Morala is the only North American importer of the Steel line (at this writing, there are no US-based vendors for this product) - but they are more than happy to ship to US customers.
In fact, if you're considering any Ascaso machine, you should definitely consider Morala as your purchasing choice - their pricing is quite a bit lower than the average US price for most of the Ascaso lineup. In the past, we've looked at the Ascaso Arc and Dream machines, and found the Arc especially to be a great machine for the starting espresso enthusiast, given it's Canadian pricing (US pricing is a bit higher).
This is a First Look, and not a review, and as such will not contain any evaluative discussion. We will be publishing a Detailed Review for this machine soon (projected early in 2007).
For now, enjoy this first product walkaround for the Ascaso Steel Duo!