Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
consumer product reviews
prosumer / professional espresso machine reviews
Astra Pro - Scott Smith's Review
Posted: February 1, 2008, 2:52pm
review rating: 7.8
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
Astra Pro Espresso Machine
Where to Buy
Arrow No Business Listed
 List your business site here.
About "Where to Buy"

More About This Product
Arrow The Astra Pro has 2 Reviews
Arrow The Astra Pro has been rated 7.80 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since September 9, 2006.
Arrow Astra Pro reviews have been viewed 20,625 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Scott Smith 7.80
David Richardson 0.00

Previous Review  
Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.8
Manufacturer: Astra Quality: 9
Average Price: $1,590.00 Usability: 6
Price Paid: $850.00 Cost vs. Value 8
Where Bought: EBay Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 2 years Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: The Astra Pro has a somewhat unique learning curve, but rewards persistence with consistent excellence.
Positive Product Points

A nice, heavy (apx. 45 lbs) machine with a commercial look and feel.  It has produced reliably excellent espresso during the past 2 years, most notable for the extremely thick, dark crema.  Exceptional steaming capability and larger-than-average (about 2.6 liters) water capacity.  Made in the Los Angeles area, so access to the manufacturer is a bit easier than many brands, particularly if you live in California.

Negative Product Points

Takes a while to warm up - at least 20 minutes, possibly more.  Uses a "self-tamping" system which you may or may not care for, particulary as it does take a while to master.  Can get very hot if left on for a while - keep this one out of the reach of small children and pets.

Detailed Commentary

After struggling with three other espresso machines, this was my first heavy-duty, "prosumer" grade product.  It arrived from the EBay seller in near-mint condition, which left me wondering why they had sold it after only a year or so of use.  My best guess is because of the machine's "self-tamping" feature, which eliminates the need for conventional tamping, but requires the user to master the art of smoothing the grounds in the basket without compressing them (even minimally) and locking the basket into the group head without disturbing the grounds.  After I got up to speed with this process I've had extremely excellent, consistent results.  However, you will find yourself cleaning out the group head with a brush very regularly - failure to do so will result in leakage around the gasket and dripping.  I've been very happy with this machine, but can see why a caterer might hate it.  

Once I found the right espresso beans (in my case, Sweet Maria's Moka Kadir Espresso Blend), worked out the best roast (Full City), and dialed in the grind, the shots were amazing.  Rich body and thick, dark crema that exceeds anything I can get at commercial coffee shops around here.  And aside from the occasional first shot that is less than 100%, I've found it to be very consistent.  I now greatly regret having spent several years wasting my time trying to get a decent product out of lesser machines.

Buying Experience

Bought on EBay for $850.  It arrived without any documentation, but Astra was very helpful when I called them.

Previous Review  
Write a Review for this Product
review rating: 7.8
Posted: February 1, 2008, 2:52pm
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
Login Password
forgot pw | signup
Cafe Solutions
Commercial sales and service, nationwide installation, equipment leasing options.
Commercial Equipment
Nuova Simonelli, La Marzocco, Rancilio. Nationwide installation. Instant financing options.
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2015 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.178599119186)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+