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Ascaso Arc - John A's Review
Posted: January 31, 2007, 11:14am
review rating: 7.5
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Ascaso Arc Espresso Machine
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More About This Product
Arrow The Ascaso Arc has 9 Reviews
Arrow The Ascaso Arc has been rated 6.84 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 4, 2003.
Arrow Ascaso Arc reviews have been viewed 79,565 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Brian Dorais 7.75
John A 7.50
Tim Bates 7.50
Dave Price 7.42
Violet Colors 5.40

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.4
Manufacturer: Ascaso Quality: 8
Average Price: $399.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $349.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: Seattle Coffee Gear Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 1 month Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Stylish, functional, and easy to use - definitely worth the $$ as an entry level machine in the mid-$300 to $400 range - though if you're spending $500+, consider the Silvia.
Positive Product Points

Aesthetics - simple yet elegant styling, doesn't try to look like a commercial machine
Even temperatures
Big reservoir

Negative Product Points

Small dispersion screen
No 3 way solenoid, requiring pressure to be slowly released when removing portafilter
Drip tray rattles a bit, drip tray enclosure rests on machine - doesn't "lock in"

Detailed Commentary

I recently purchased this machine in part because of the many positive reviews, which I fundamentally agree with. I won't reiterate all the benefits or drawbacks previously noted, other than to say that the prev ious reviews are very solid. All in all, I very much like the machine, and have found that I am able to pull some very nice shots from this little gem. I don't mind the frothing aid, and think steaming works very well. My prior machine was an older thermoblock based Krups Il Novo, which actually did a pretty decent job, but I have clearly jumped to a whole new level with the Ascaso.

My primary challenge to date with the machine is the grouphead dispersion screen. While Ascaso continues to use a 57mm pf, they have apparently changed the grouphead (not just the screen) to be a dual-use machine - both pods and espresso. I believe the Francis Francis X3 is the same setup; basically the machine has a smaller, pod-friendly dispersion screen vs. the two screens they used to ship - small for pods, large for ground coffee. While the ease of a multi-use screen is great, I can't help but wonder if I am losing something with only the small screen when I pull a shot. As I look at the spent puck post-brewing, there are three indentations that can go pretty deep depending on how firmly the coffee was tamped - sometimes they can go pretty deep, which leads me to conclude that the in-pf water circulation isn't as consistent as it would be with a wider dispersion screen. Do I still get great shots? Yes, given my newbie status I am doing pretty well. Will I ever be able to pull a shot the quality of a Silvia? Probably not... but I spent $150 less.

So, all in all I will say that I'm having a great experience with my new machine, and am very happy that I purchased it - especially at this price point. Had I paid the $500+ that many retailers are asking for the more in-demand colors (I got brushed copper, which looks very cool in the kitchen - understated but elegant), I might have wished I went for the Silvia.

Buying Experience

Ok to date, though am still waiting for my free goodies that were to come with the machine.

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review rating: 7.5
Posted: January 31, 2007, 11:14am
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