The Ascaso Steel UNO Special Edition is an espresso machine that is very similar to the Ascaso Steel UNO Professional, but it does have some key differences.
The body of the UNO Special Edition is made with high quality stainless steel. For aesthetic purposes, the stainless steel has a beautiful brushed finish. Stainless steel is a very durable material that is scratch and rust resistant, permitting long lasting use. The durable steel frame is black enamel painted, providing additional protection from the elements.
The 2 liter water reservoir is designed for convient removable from the side of the espresso machine, rather than from the top. A top removable water reservoir isn’t bad to have, but when you operate in a space where you have cabinets above the machine, it can be difficult to remove the reservoir without moving the machine.
A 225cc brass boiler that is located above the grouphead provides excellent temperature stability. Brass is one of the best materials for espresso machine boilers due to its ability to hold and maintain temperature. Additional temperature stability is provided by the boilers location above the brew group.
The portafilter is made with brass for temperature stability and has an ergonomic design with a plastic gripped handle for ease of use.
A temperature gauge allows you to monitor the temperature range of the boiler and to achieve repeatable result. Keep in mind that the temperature gauge should be treated as a relative guide, as temperature can vary based on where the temperature is taken. For example, temperature taken had the grouphead can vary with temperature taken in the boiler.
This espresso machine has several nice steaming features. The first being a swivel mounted steam wand that allows for steaming milk at a wide variety of angles so you aren’t forced to hold the frothing pitcher in a position that isn’t comfortable for you. A frothing aid attachment on the steam wand makes it easy to master the art of steaming milk for drinks like cappuccinos. With the single steam tip attachment, you can steam milk for lattes and other related drinks.
It generally takes between 30 and 60 seconds for the machine to transition from brew mode to steam mode. Steam mode can be turned on by a simple press of a steam switch.
A three way solenoid valve on the machine is a feature that relieves pressure on the coffee puck and dries it out immediately after extraction has completed. This allows the portafilter to be removed immediately after extraction has completed and makes it easy to knock the coffee puck out of the filter basket. It also allows you to work with fewer drips! Backflushing is also enabled by the solenoid valve.
The slide out drip tray is built with a brushed stainless steel front panel and durable plastic interior. The drip tray cover is attached to the machine and doesn’t come off with the drip tray.
A single dose E.S.E. pod filter basket comes with the machine. The machine can only use this type of pod as double pods and regular pods won’t fit.
One year parts & labor limited to manufacturers defects
Please note there is no rail across the top rear of the machine as shown in the picture. The reason is that it can impede the opening of the water reservoir cover.
Posted by coffeegeek.com reviewer on 30th Dec 2013
Coffeegeek.com review. Read the complete review here: http://www.coffeegeek.com/reviews/consumer/ascasosteel/beanjunkie/6280
This is the first coffee machine I've owned. I bought it with an Ascaso i-mini grinder and initially, it would take half a bag of coffee beans until I got the grind right. My results are now more consistent because I use the same big dose, tamp not too hard, and don't change the grind so often.
The holy grail for me is the perfect "long black", which is the New Zealand term for basically a double shot, to almost fill an ACF tulip cup, and the Ascaso gets close to delivering that all the time now. Also the crema is always excellent.
I don't drink milk with coffee, which is fortunate because the Ascaso is not good at frothing milk, but I have had espressos as good or even better than what I can get at city cafes. I use the best beans from the same cafes.
I totally recommend this machine to first time buyers who want something affordable but good, which they can hone their skills on. More experienced buyers or people with more money to spend should probably look at more 'pro' machines.
All prices are in USD.