Ascaso Steel Duo first impressions after years with an HX E61

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alexeyga

#1: Post by alexeyga »

Actually, we had the Ascaso for a few months now, so it's kinda late for "first impressions", still:

It all started with our trusty Mara going into service for a few minor ongoing issues. Problem was with the ETA - which they estimated at 4-6 weeks. We've managed to last on French press and ibrik variations for a couple of weeks and that's when my old thoughts about "possibly replacing the Mara with something else" surfaced back to life. Given our current needs - I've been wishing for something with dual boilers for a little while by now. And it so happened that one of the Canadian retailers had Duo-s for the price of Uno-s around that time. The rest was easy.

In retrospect - I kinda regret not having waited for an Uno on sale as on Duo-s the steam thermoblock isn't completely OFF unless it's fully disabled in settings and I really miss the steam knob. But then again, Uno-s are 57mm.

General impressions:
- 3mins warmup time is MAGIC!!! 3 FREAKING MINUTES!!!
- group head is very clean and more so with a puck screen
- vibe pump is very nicely dampened
- no noticeable difference in output quality, but it is much more stable
- yes - it is somewhat less involved of an experience than with E61, but - I think - I'm past that and at this point and don't really care
- albeit it is not as pleasant to look at, we are definitely happier with this machine

Only cons so far:
- volumetric control is great, but it's seems to be upstream of the OPV... it took a genius to come up with this!
- no low-water warning
- original Ascaso naked portafilter is nowhere to be found - BO everywhere. This seems to be the general state of affairs currently. Fast forward a few months - I'm not even sure - I'd be getting one anymore. Using a "classic" style PF - is so much cleaner for the machine.

Cheers!

dshap

#2: Post by dshap »

Did you have a Mara or Mara X? How does the coffee and milk quality compare?

alexeyga (original poster)

#3: Post by alexeyga (original poster) »

My Mara was the "S-T", the one with the non-user-controllable PID.
Got here back in 2018 and the service bill when we've got her back before selling - ended up being over 500$CAD. Small stuff, but it adds up.

No noticeable difference in coffee quality. Albeit - it's much more stable with the Ascaso.
And it's worth noting that nobody is drinking straight espressos in our household, so I can't comment on that.

Milk quality is very comparable with the obvious fact that it takes longer on the Ascaso. And did I mention that I really miss the knob? :lol: