This is the same machine as the Ascaso Steel Uno Professional except that it has a smaller brass boiler (~225cc) and a 57mm portafilter grouphead and handle. This machine's three way solenoid valve only acts to relieve the pressure in the grouphead immediately after the extraction is complete. However, by design, it will not dry the extracted puck as well as the Professional version of this machine. On the flip side, this machines does a much better job with E.S.E. espresso coffee pods when compared to the professional version.
Please note that when comparison shopping, please make sure that the Ascaso Steel Uno Special Edition Versatile has a three way solenoid valve. There are some instances where some machines brought in the USA did not have this three way solenoid valve and sold at a slightly cheaper price.
There is approximately 30-60 second wait time to go from coffee mode to steam mode (after depressing the steam switch in). After steaming milk, the user can depress the steam switch out. After placing a cup under the steam wand, the user can rotate the steam knob to the 'on' position, and the pump will automatically activate so that the 'too hot steamed water' exits and the temperature of the boiler can be brought down to make additional espresso. This also needs to be done so the heating element does not burn out.
This steam knob feature in coffee mode makes it very practical for preparing Cafe Americanos.