Gaggia Coffee Delux + Kitchen Aid Grinder (Stepless Mod)
Bullet proof lump of stainless which does pretty much what I want....make consistant coffee!
Positive Product Points
Good coffee & Steam. Consistant. Well made. Hot water outlet is great for cleaning steam wand. Appears consistant temperature regardless of the temp gauge.
Negative Product Points
Steam wand has a silly tube on it . Hot water is slow, but useful for cleaning the steam wand. 58mm portafilter only on Prof. M/C Difficult to tell how much water is in the tank, without looking in the flap or waiting till the 'Empty' light is on.
I have had the Ascaso Steel Duo for about 6mths now. I am very pleased with its performance, especially its consistancy. I measured the temperature and it was consistant, regardless of the wild variations of the temp guage.
My only minor gripe is that the supplied frothing arm has a silly tube on it. This appeared to make no difference to my frothing, but made it a bit harder to clean the wand up after steaming. I removed the tube and the 'o' rings, and it makes it easier to clean, although the grooves for the 'o' rings are traps for dried milk etc. Wish it had a simple (Smooth) frothing arm or an after market replacement.
The hot water facility is great for water to clean the frothing arm (probably all its good for - bit slow for drinks -use a kettle!) saves you having to wander back to the sink.
All in all, I'm finally happy with my coffee machine, and I no longer panic when we have several guests who all want lattes. It may not be the machine for you if you enjoy PIDing your machine, or using the tears of unicorns to brew the 'God Shot'. I just wanted a consistant non-flimsy machine to make espresso & latte....this it does!
After trying to get an Ascaso dream from COFFEEXPRESS for a month after they had taken my money, I persuaded the wife to let me get the 'Top Spec' unit I really wanted. Brought from STEELCUBE.com - No probs.