I bought this machine in 2007 or so, and I love it so much, I bring it with me when I move, even for a short time. It was one of the few things I FLEW down on the plane for a 10 week stint in another state for school. It makes me happy every time I pass it on the counter.
And it makes great coffee. Repeatable, reliable great coffee. And I am a coffee snob.
Nevertheless, when I spend NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS on a coffee machine, I want a friend that will be with me for life. To that end, I have descaled my machine reliably, only used filtered, distilled, or otherwise soft water purchased at the store, and I have followed the directions for the machine (and my husband almost never gets to use it).
Yet, soon after purchase, the O-ring that helps the coffee arm seal with the machine itself fell out - and wouldn't go back in. Actually the machine has run ok since then, with some leakage around the coffee arm, but still makes good coffee, so I just put the O-ring away elsewhere and continued to brew.
Well, over the next 2 years, the steam wand has developed a heck of a leak. I used to brew an espresso in 5 seconds, now it is 10, because of pressure loss to the steam wand while brewing. Luckily you can keep it from flooding your countertop by positioning the steam wand over the drip plate, but it still is a problem in general and one I think I should fix when I have time.
SO, finally, I make time to email Ascaso, about how to fix their machine. (Everyone knows that it is hard to afford a $900 coffee maker if you don't have a job that keeps you busy most of the time - which is why we need espresso so badly - it's a viscious circle).
Well, I make the time to write them an email asking how I can get the parts to fix this and the appropriate pages in the manual because even though I may have had enough money to buy a $900 dollar friend that once, I am not rich enough to send the very heavy espresso maker via some sort of trackable and insured postal service to a certified repair center in Seattle. Nor do I want to be without my precious for as long as it would take to fix it.
It's a love hate relationship with the Ascaso Dream.
Anyway, I log on to the Ascaso website, and draft this letter to them:
Hi There -
I have an ascaso dream espresso machine I bought in 2008. I do love it very much, but it is in need of repair. The gasket that makes the espresso filter seal with the machine has fallen out, and I can't get it back in, so the machine leaks around the espresso holder when making coffee.
Also, the steam valve leaks badly whenever I heat water, so I think there must be some part I need to replace there, too.
I live in Kodiak, Alaska, USA, am am fairly confident you won't have an authorized retailer or repair person in town. Can you please recommend what parts I should buy and send me instructions for how to replace them?
Thank you ,
And get this response from Ascaso:
Please contact with www.1st-line.con. Itīs or repair center.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 12:58 AM
Subject: CONSULTA TECNICA (ASCASO COMPONENTES)
Well, ok. I look up 1st-line.com and they do call me back, saying they can't help me with parts, but I can send it to them for repairs.
I feel like I own a Volkswagon. No offense to Volkswagon in particular, and I am sure they make some very good cars, but every Volkswagon I have ever had a relationship with has either been a lemon or has just needed odd, expensive repairs from qualified mechanics who live in a place other than that in which the car has broken down and we keep BUYING the expensive Volkswagons because, when they run, they run well and they are so darn CUTE.
that is my experience with the Ascaso dream. Would I do it again? Not for $900. Maybe for $500. Definitely for $300. Ok, maybe for $900 if Sarah Palin gave us a huge AK rebate just one more year, because it makes great coffee and it is SO DARNED CUTE!