I pretty much trust anything that 1st line says. They sound very experienced and knowledgeable. For that price and for the featureset that machine has, I'd say it's got better value than some of the other SBDU's on the market.
Well, in your original post, you mentioned that you make mostly straight espresso shots for yourself. Since this machine has the largest boiler of all of the machines on the list and you mentioned you don't make a lot of milk drinks, this machine would better suit your needs.
A refurbished Ascaso Steel Uno Professional PID Espresso Machine from 1st line $599
Well, this is up to you. IMHO, I'd probably buy new rather than refurbished, but then again, I bought a refurbished Microwave back in 1998 that I'm still using today, so who knows. I'd consider this machine over a CC1 if you want more steaming power, but both the CC1 and this machine would both be very capable in producing a great shot.
Well, Maybe I'll put this out there.. Bill Crossland is a very brilliant engineer and he's passionate about espresso. (At least from what I've read from his posts.) So, he thought of everything when he designed that machine. If anything was designed and built to give you a great espresso shot, it would be that machine.
I've dissed on the machine a little because I can't say I'm fond of thermoblocks for steaming. This comes from personal experience with using Thermoblocks in a hard water environment. But since this isn't really your major focus, it really isn't a big deal. It is an excellent way to get around the limitations of a SBDU without having to wait for steam.
I can certainly say without a doubt that If I were in your shoes, with your demands, I'd consider a CC1 first, Ascaso second and Lelit Third.
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
Posted Tue Jun 11, 2013, 3:45am Subject: Re: Lelit, Ascaso, or CC1
I've always been a fan of refurbs. They usually get a little extra attention they don't necessarily get off the assembly line. Standard 58mm PF is always nice as well. Ascaso vs. CC1? Personal preference I would say.
I would also but I don't see much point in going to the high end of the SBDU range -- especially from another SBDU. That said, the OP is moving from one to another anyway so my preferences aren't relevant.
While there are not many reviews of the Infuser and Breville does not have the best reputation for quality with this community, all the reviews I have read from people who have the Infuser were positive (all the negative comments I have found were from individuals commenting on Breville's past reputation not this actual machine)
I do have one of the GEE prototypes here (an earlier version shipped directly from Taiwan way before Bill C started importing them). I have attached a pic of the internals (hopefully it uploads) and I do stand to be corrected if there were changes from this prototype.
Just to point out a few differences based on the GEE prototype I have here:
The GEE machine has the boiler offset from the grouphead like a Rancilio Silvia. On the GEE, the brew water exits from the top of the boiler than passes through a solenoid valve, then passes through a tube exposed to air to the grouphead. The GEE machine needs the larger boiler to compensate for the offset of the boiler as well as the stainless steel.
The Lelit and Ascaso has the boiler directly over the grouphead which in theory and my opinion provides superior thermal mass. The Lelit does have the water exit a teflon tube then re-enter a center pipe in the boiler. The Ascaso Steel Uno Pro PID does not have any brew water exit and re-enter the boiler to the grouphead. The Ascaso also has a stainless steel braided hose from the pump to the boiler unlike the teflon tubes found on the other two machines.
(edit: current GEE model is stainless body)Another difference is that the GEE machine body is enamel painted steel whereas the other two machines have stainless bodies.(edit end)
So, as one can see, slightly different designs in the same price range. These are the little things, similar to metal thickness, service levels, and the like that do not come out in descriptive feature sets. I hope this helps....
Sincerely, Jim Piccinich Business Partner 1st-line Equipment, LLC www.1st-line.com
It's a great machine, kinda stands out in it's class b/c of the larger then avg boiler and separate thermoblock for steaming (waaaay faster then the Silvia for example if you want to make a couple milk drinks). Performs great, with awesome temp stability. Remember to leave the machine on with PF lightly locked in for at least 30 min and then a quick flush, just like any other machine, boilers in all machines get up to temp quickly but you have the rest of the metal and internals that aren't warmed up yet. I use setting one for just flushes so no programing, and then turn the knob to setting 2 where I have my settings for shots done (have mine at 2 seconds pre-infusion and 4 seconds wait and no timing as I stop my shots manually, I was just using a light roasts that was hard to dial in and ended up using 3 seconds pre and 5 seconds wait). Pre-infusion is priceless.
Being your in FL, the one thing though is the thermoblock. Even if you don't use it, make sure to run it at least weekly both steam and hot water to keep it clean. Hard water can clogg up thermoblocks. I descale twice a year as well for both boiler and thermo, and monthly clean with Cafiza and usually use the blank basket every other day to do a blank backflush even though I use a brush to clean the group screen. May want to get the water softener filters like what Breville uses, as well as others add, I know SCG carries them and pry can find them on Amazon or Ebay.
Really the only thing I don't like about the machine is the double spouts on the PF, the type that can over shoot your shot glasses if not dialed down right or sometimes pour right on the edges lol. but that goes for basically any machine that comes with this type vs the nice rounded ones that come on machines costing thousands.
CWirth Senior Member Joined: 9 Jun 2013 Posts: 20 Location: Tampa Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Tue Jun 11, 2013, 2:32pm Subject: Re: Lelit, Ascaso, or CC1
Thank you for the advice. I should be making at least one milk based drink a week so that shokd help solve that issue. And I will be attending the University of Pennsylvania's Law School starting in August (not sure how the water is there but it can't have more limestone than Florida).
I am looking forward to trying out the preinfusion on this machine as well. It should be here on Friday!
If I use water softener tablets / filters should I place them directly in the water tank?
If anyone has other tips regarding the CC1 or recommendations on the best coffee roasters in Philly (I know there are quite a few) please let me know.
CMIN Senior Member Joined: 14 Jun 2012 Posts: 1,550 Location: South FL Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Crossland CC1 Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Jun 11, 2013, 4:12pm Subject: Re: Lelit, Ascaso, or CC1
yeh they just drop in the water tank. The machine may seem a little confusing at first for people not used to the options, but for example you want to steam you turn the knob to steam and press it and wait, then it'll let you know when steaming is ready. I usually have mine set to 201 degrees on the PID. Some beans I've played with the temp and seen differences but overall seem to prefer that temp for beans I use. I got a group head/screen brush cheap on Ebay, think it was like $5, lasted a year now lol. I use a Brita Filter too filled from the Fridge filtered water, and usually add to the tank every other day or so and then clean the tank once sometimes twice weekly since like leaving a bottle of water open, tanks on espresso machines can start to develop that stale smell if you know what I mean.
It comes with a surprisingly nice tamper too, plastic, but nicer and weighted then the cheap flimsy ones other machines sometimes come with. Don't be frustrated at first, you'll pry find yourself playing around with the grind like crazy dialing in, goes for any non-pressurized PF machine but the results will be well worth it. Along with getting your tamp down etc, I think it took me like a month to get the hang of it especially with tamping vs my previous machine which was a Delonghi Bar32 lol. I bought mine used actually (was looking to buy a new CC1 anyway) when the previous owner upgraded to a Rocket, I have the naked portafilter but can't remember if they come with that or not (or if it has to be bought separate).
If you have a digi scale (if you don't get one, I got a cheap one on amazon for $10) that measures to .1g, you can single dose the Preciso pretty accurately. And I've found the CC1 seems to prefer doses between 15-18g, I'm usually somewhere in the 16g range for a double.
I don't know about Philly roasters off hand, but there are tons all around if you Google. I usually buy 2lbs at a time and break down into zip bags inside Ball sealed canning jars and freeze them right after delivery and then pull out to defrost as needed.
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