Great looking espressomachine (polished alu) Easy to operate
Negative Product Points
Very poor quality - I'm on the third model in as many months Insanely expensive (Danish prices) for such low quality Newest model have thermometer instead of pressuregauge
It all went bad from the beginning. I had been eagerly waiting for weeks and when it finally arrived I was like a child on Christmas Eve. Couldn't wait to get started, but 10 minutes later you could cut through my dissapointment with a knife. The machine was leaking steam in every possible direction and coffemaking wasn't an option.
I returned the machine, waited another few weeks and my second model came. For two months I enjoyed great coffee and I truly loved my Dream.
Then one morning - to my horror - I noticed a few water droplets on the inside of the pressure gauge. In a few days the pressure gauge was impossible to read from dew and the machine started leaking steam. At first just a little through the brewing head (so much I had to leave the used coffeegrinds in the portafilter to build enough steam for milk frothing)
But in the end steam started coming out in all directions. I gave up, returned my second machine and once again I had to wait two weeks (using the old manual stovetop espressobrewers again).
Then today I recieved the third model - brand new. I ripped the box open, anticipated that great coffee crema once again. As I placed the Dream on the empty spot on my kitchen table next to the i-2 grinder I noticed something wrong with the pressure gauge - IT WASN'T THERE! Instead there was a thermometer - why would I want a thermometer on my espressomachine - it's not like there's any way I can control the temp anyway.
So, looking at my third Ascaso Innova Dream machine I wondered how I'd figure out how to finetune the grind and how I'd figure out how hard to stamp the the coffee without the pressure gauge.
I put the machine back in its box, made some stovetop espresso and mailed the supplier that I wanted the same model back as I sent in and if not - I wanted my money back so I could buy another brand.
***UPDATE - JUNE 2nd 2006***
The first reponse from the supplier was a somewhat arrogant two-line e-mail saying: "the model with the pressuregauge is discontinued and it is quite possible to make great coffee with the thermometer model" and then they sent me a link to an online manual of the machine. The manual was so basic that I felt insulted.
But the funny thing was that in the old manual (for the model with the pressuregauge) the manual clearly stated how important the pressure gauge was for the finetuning of the grind and stamping. In the new manual (for the thermometer model) that part was just left out.
When I pointed that out to the company, they happily told me that they had fixed my original model and they would ship it straight away - great then, I waited - making stovetop espresso for a while.
Then it came - it was fourth time I got an Ascaso Dream in the mail (this time my second model returning. The third model, with the thermometer, still in its box in the basement).
As I opened the box I noticed that the acrylic water container had been broken in transport - that didn't worry me though, I had a brand new machine standing in the basement and I could just switch the two water containers and everything would be fine. Then I placed the machine on the empty spot on the kitchen table - the machine wobbled?? For a second I thought I had placed the machine on the electric cable, but no, the bottom of the machine had been bent so hard that the machine couldn't stand straight on a flat surface, hmmmmmm.
I turned on the machine and what happened - STEAM COMING OUT IN EVERY DIRECTION. For almost a month they have had my machine and now they returned without having fixed anything in the machine - just added a few damages to the machine.
I wrote yet another e-mail to the supplier three days ago - haven't heard a word yet!!
Bought directly from the Danish importer of Ascaso, Hetland Nordic. I'm not impressed at all and I have a feeling that they have absolutely no idea of coffee - I'm sure they are great with fashionable kitchen design