Astra’s line of commercial espresso machines combine a classic European look with durable American-made construction. If you are paying attention, you’ll see these machines operating at restaurants and coffee shops, often having continued to operate for decades. Astra makes their machines in California, and we can help you customize one with options including modifying the tamping setup, color, voltage, and group and steam wand configuration.
The standard models have a self-tamping brewing mechanism, a quiet internal motor with a rotary-vane Procon pump, a vacuum valve to prevent milk from entering the steam boiler, and an automatic shut-off if water does not reach the machine. They also have microprocessor-controlled diagnostics, and automatic models can be programmed to automatically produce your desired amount of espresso.
In addition to full-size commercial espresso machines for busy coffee shops, Astra makes smaller machines for the home or office using the same commercial quality components as their commercial workhorses. If you’re looking for a real heavy-duty espresso machine for the office, Astra’s Pro or DBS models are a great choice.
These machines use American parts, many of which can be found at local hardware stores, which is helpful if repair is ever needed. If service or installation is required, Astra has repair technicians available and can arrange service on your machine in most parts of the country.
If you are new to shopping for espresso machines, you may encounter some terms you are not familiar with. Here are a few explanations of some of the espresso-lingo:
Semi-automatic: semi-automatic machines have a button/switch that starts the water flowing to make the espresso.
Automatic: automatic machines can be programmed to dispense predetermined amounts of espresso when activated.
Portafilter – this is the thing with the handle that you put espresso grounds into. It’s a portable-filter, hence the name.
Tamping / Self-tamping – tamping is basically packing or compressing the coffee grounds into the portafilter so espresso flows through a properly compressed puck-shaped portion of espresso grounds. Astra’s machines come standard with a self-tamping mechanism that compresses the grounds for you. Otherwise, you can configure the machine such that you do the tamping using a tamper, which is just a somewhat puck-shaped device you press onto the grounds before attaching the portafilter to the group.
Group or Group Head – this is what you attach the portafilter to so water will flow through the espresso grounds. It’s where the espresso making gets done. Machines may have multiple groups.
Steam Wand – the steam wand sprays pressurized steam for frothing milk for cappuccinos and lattes. Machines may have multiple steam wands too.
Hot water tap – when you just want hot water, you use this tap.
We like Astra’s machines, we know the company and its president, and we can help you order the right machine for your business at a great price. Contact us with questions,