Profitec Pro 700 Review

Behind the scenes of the site's upcoming equipment reviews.
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Postby HB » Apr 21, 2014, 11:15 pm

The E61 group may have been invented in the early 60s, but double boiler espresso machines based upon this design for home use are relatively recent. The popularity of the E61 / double boiler combination has really taken off the last few years with the introduction of models from several manufacturers including Expobar, Quickmill, Vibiemme, and Izzo. Because they're so popular and share many of the same characteristics, potential buyers are perplexed trying to sort through the differentiating factors. For this reason, we plan to review several E61 / double boiler models and later summarize their strengths and/or weaknesses in ergonomics, construction, and features.

The Izzo Alex Duetto V3 was the first reviewed; next up is a relative newcomer, the Profitec Pro 700:

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See Profitec Pro 700 - technical details for features, dimensions, etc.

The evaluation model above was supplied by Profitec. The company representative, Aline Carvalho, provided this brief company history:

Aline Carvalho, PROFITEC wrote:The new brand was introduced to the market during the Host Fiera Milano in October 2013. Profitec is managed by Michael Hauck, who is also responsible for the ECM Espresso Coffee Machines. They are sister companies.

Profitec GmbH was founded in 1985 and has specialized in the marketing of Italian espresso machines different brands and technical products from the beginning. We have developed and manufactured hand-made, high-end semi-automatic espresso machines since the 1990's. Since last year, we have decided to use our know-how to build with our second own brand of espresso machines.

The both are located in Germany, but Profitec is more focused on the dual boiler machines, those are developed to reach another part of the market.


UPDATE: Read the final writeup Profitec Pro 700 Review.
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Postby HB » Jun 07, 2014, 12:01 pm

The popularity of the E61 group is astounding. This review is the 12th review of espresso machines based on this group. Egads! For those who are curious, the following are the previous eleven, from newest to oldest: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

Despite this plethora of coverage (or maybe because of it?), shoppers are surely confounded by the sheer number of similar choices. This also makes the reviewer's task of teasing out discerning differences all the more difficult. With that in mind, I started the thread How to choose an E61 espresso machine?!? I have some ideas of deciding factors in mind, but am hoping the community can provide some fresh insight.

Back to the topic at hand, namely the Profitec Pro 700. Although it has a familiar shape, I did notice its superior attention to finishwork. The photos don't capture it well, but the stainless steel is "brighter" than some E61 espresso machines I've reviewed, I assume thanks to better polishing. For those who admire the look of super-shiny stainless steel, based on my informal side-by-side comparisons, the Pro 700's is nearly as brightly polished as the equipment from the renowned manufacturers, Olympia Express and Elektra. Unfortunately, the bottom of the espresso machine isn't stainless steel, it's painted steel, which may rust in the driptray area if the paint is scratched away. I recommend running a strip of black electrical tape along the painted edge of the driptray support since its paint is likely to be scratched off over time if not protected (the Technika IV Profi, manufactured by Profitec's sister company ECM, has a protective stainless steel strip over the driptray supports for this purpose).

I appreciate one of the Pro 700's design features: While nearly every pourover espresso machine I've reviewed dangles one or two silicone tubes over the side of the reservoir for the water inlet / water over-pressure valve exhaust, the Pro 700 has a male fitting on the bottom of the reservoir that mates with the espresso machine's female coupling. That is, the reservoir "snaps" into place without any silicone tubing. This makes for a neater appearance and eliminates the need for clearance above the tank, i.e., the top of the tank is flush with the cup tray that covers it.
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Postby HB » Jun 08, 2014, 5:29 pm

Recent owners of the Profitec Pro 700, please note my post from Profitec Pro 700 too hot at group:

HB wrote:When I received the Pro 700 for review, I used a thermofilter to plot its brew temperature consistency. I noticed the temperatures were occasionally erratic, so I checked the PID settings. The "d" value was way, way off. Below are the recommended settings:

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BTW, I found it easier to set the PID to Celsius rather than wonder whether the internal PID settings would follow Fahrenheit or Celsius. Once I reprogrammed it to the recommended settings, the brew temperature performance was excellent (I plan to post them in the research review thread soon). I've uploaded the parts diagram and PID settings instructions for your reference.

UPDATE: I've added the PID settings instructions in Celsius to the site's downloads section.
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Postby HB » Jul 07, 2014, 9:33 pm

For the last month, I loaned the Pro 700 to Phillip of Newbie Introduction to Espresso fame for his feedback. And for the record, he's no longer a newbie! Below are his thoughts on the Profitec Pro 700:

Phillip Marquis wrote:I've used it now pretty consistently for the past few weeks, and no question that it is my favorite one so far. Here's why:

To start, the Pro 700 looks very high end with nice lines and a great finish. The gauges also give a very expensive appearance. As far as the functionality, it is very easy to use. I can't really put my finger on why, but what I mean by "easy to use" is that it seems very consistent compared to all the other machines I've used before. It may just be because I'm become more familiar with what I'm doing, but the dead give away is that now my wife is using the machine a lot. When we had the Izzo Alex Duetto, she stopped using it because she said she could not figure it out. She just said it was too difficult for her to get it right. Now she is using this machine every day. I also like how it is on the quieter side when pulling a shot, and the steamer has plenty of power.

A couple small critiques... you have to turn the steam knob a few rotations before the steam starts. Don't know if there is a reason for this or not, but it seems awkward. Also, the steam wand is loose and does not stay in one spot. Again, being a novice, I don't know if this is intentional of not, but I have to hold it in place with the pitcher when steaming to keep it in the position I want. Both of these minor issues are not really of any importance to me since the machine is incredibly consistent.

Thanks Phillip! To your comments about the steam knob, the Pro 700 valve isn't a compression type valve; instead, turning the knob compresses a spring that closes the valve. This is different from a compression-type valve that directly presses a nylon or hard rubber washer against a closure. The spring closures prevent overtightening, so the seals last longer. But because the knob tightens against a spring, there's intentionally a little "slack" in the final turn. As for the floppy steam wand -- tightening the ball joint will fix that.

Phillip's wife Kelley provided her own feedback:

Kelley Marquis wrote:The Profitec... The first home espresso machine I really, actually, honestly can use -- by myself. My husband and I (and I suspect our kids too) have benefited enormously from the introduction to home brewing. Life. Changing. But if I am going to be really honest, even with a Breville Dual Boiler or an Izzo Alex Duetto sitting on our kitchen counter, I still piled my 4 and 5 year olds in the car each morning to hit the Starbucks drivethru. Shameful. I just couldn't get the brew right... I slaughtered the beans even after my husband dialed in the grinder. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong... still can't put a finger on it.

Until the Pro 700 arrived. Maybe it's because we are taking greater care in the storing of our beans, maybe because I finally found my favorite type of bean/milk combo, or maybe it's because I finally watched the videos that my husband and Dan made (I'm the worst.) Whatever it is, I can actually brew an awesome latte, the kind that make you congratulate yourself after the first sip. Love this machine. The espresso pours like satin and the machine looks lovely on a counter top.

The only eh thing, the milk steamer turny knob thing (pretty sure that's the technical term) seems loose, takes several turns to get the steam started. Obviously, that is a minor thing compared to the magic espresso elf that the manufacturers fit into the machine. Who has, for reason unknown to me, transformed me from a coffee hack to a barista ;)

I do agree with Kelley that the Pro 700 is quite easy to dial in, though I feel that's a quality shared by many espresso machines based on the E61 group. Thanks Phillip and Kelley for the fresh perspective!
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Postby HB » Jul 17, 2014, 7:40 pm

As I mentioned in recent reviews, the new evaluation process for the semi-commercial and commercial class espresso machines includes serving a larger-than-usual group of people. Phillip "the newbie" Marquis works at a car dealership and invited me to test equipment at their monthly "cars and coffee" event. Last weekend was the Pro 700's turn:

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Due to construction, I'm sharing space with their regular drip coffee machine

I didn't keep track of the cup count, but I'd say it was around 20 drinks/hour. The turnout was lower than the last couple times I've done this, probably because unbearable heat doesn't make one think of drinking hot coffee. Total coffee beans used was 2 pounds; the last time I went through about 3 pounds in 2 hours.

As you can see in the photo, there's six cups waiting, which is the longest backlog I had for the morning. Thanks to the practice the cars and coffee event provides, my prep time has gone down from a sloth-like 2 minutes per drink to around 45 seconds. The Pro 700 is comfortable with that pace; the main gating factor is the steam time, which is around 30 seconds for the small cappuccinos I serve (approximately 5 ounces of milk). A top-end commercial espresso machine like the La Marzocco GS/3 would cut that time in half.

One unique feature of the Pro 700 is its unusually high clearance between the driptray and grouphead -- enough for the 10 ounce cups I used for service. That comes in handy if you want to pull a couple double espressos for a to-go insulated travel mug (e.g., Americano or latte). If you're pulling espressos into a demitasse, Pro 700 includes a "booster" tray that rests on the driptray so the falling stream doesn't spatter. Even so, the crema would sometimes formed large bubbles due to the long fall, so I place the demitasse on another inverted cup to reduce the distance to a couple inches.
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Postby HB » Sep 14, 2014, 2:24 pm

Although it was not among the E61 patent claims, the Pro 700 demonstrates impressive temperature reproducibility, thanks to its PID temperature controller and well tuned thermosyphon. Using a Scace II thermofilter, I measured a series of simulated pulls and recorded the peak temperature at the 20 second mark.

    Idle for a hour+: 196.9°F
    After 60 seconds: 198.6, 199.5, 199.6
    After 30 seconds: 199.9, 201.1
Like other E61 models I've measured, it idles a little on the cool side, hence while I recommend a short 2 ounce flush and a 30 second wait if the machine has been idle for a long time (more than 10 minutes). Because of the accumulated heat of the grouphead after an extraction, the Pro 700 will run slightly hotter under heavy load (meaning around 30 seconds delay between shots). The next few measurements followed the ones above and demonstrate this point:

    After 60 seconds: 200.6°F
    After 120 seconds: 200.1
    After 240 seconds: 198.6
Thus a pace that allows at least 30 to 60 seconds of recovery time between shots is ideal. Finally, to show the effect of shot pulling pace on temperature reproducibility, the measurements below include a really minimal delay of only 10 seconds between extractions. The measurements and recovery times are shown below in series:

    198.5 (idle for 240 seconds),
    199.5 (60 seconds), 200.1 (60 seconds),
    200.6 (30 seconds), 200.5 (30 seconds),
    201.5 (10 seconds), 201.6 (10 seconds), 201.9 (10 seconds),
    200.6 (120 seconds), 199.0 (120 seconds)
The temperature climbs to a maximum of 201.9°F even at a pace faster than humanly possible (i.e., only 10 seconds between the end of one extraction and the start of another). Otherwise at a typical home barista espresso preparation pace, the temperature is within ~1°F after a short warm-up flush. Impressive for a group design originating in the 1960s!
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Postby HB » Sep 25, 2014, 11:23 pm

Before wrapping up this review, I measured the steaming time for 8 ounces of milk. With a steam boiler pressure of 1.2 bar and the two hole "beginner" steam tip, it took 1:03 minutes. For cappuccinos, a volume of 4 to 6 ounces is common; the time was 30 and 45 seconds respectively. The evaluation unit was also shipped with a tip with larger holes; I'll update this post with the times for this faster, higher volume tip.

Finally, below is a "Profitec Pro 700 Dual Boiler Espresso Machine Overview" video from site sponsor WholeLatteLove:



While it's a little heavy on marketing message, I appreciate the overview of features and it shows the solid internal construction of the Pro 700. The boilers are mounted very securely; if you look carefully, you can see the heavy stainless steel bracket holding the boilers together. That mount connects to the front of the machine, forming a sturdy T angle.

Full Disclosure: WholeLatteLove.com is a site sponsor and now carries the Profitec Pro 700; click here to learn more.
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Postby Bob_McBob » Oct 13, 2014, 5:03 am

Did you have a chance to test the steaming performance with other tips? 30 seconds for 5 fl. oz is rather anemic compared to the steaming times I get with other DB machines like the La Spaziale Vivaldi and Izzo Duetto. I have no problem heating the same amount in about 15 seconds with either machine using a 3-hole tip that allows plenty of control for caps. I recall the original version of the Duetto shipped with a tiny little 2-hole tip that was similarly anemic, so hopefully the steaming performance is more in line with the other machines I mentioned when using similar tips.
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Postby HB » Oct 13, 2014, 7:17 am

I tested the optional tip with 2 larger holes and included comments in the review:

HB wrote:With a steam boiler pressure of 1.2 bar, it took 1 minute to steam 8 ounces of milk for a large latte. For cappuccinos, a volume of 4 to 6 ounces is common; the time was 30 and 45 seconds respectively. The stock tip has two small holes to slow the pace for beginners, allowing them ample time to focus on properly injecting the right mix of air/heat from the steam wand. An optional tip with larger holes allows slightly more steam to pass, which experienced baristas can use to more aggressively swirl the milk. Those who regularly prepare standard cappuccinos (4-6 ounces of milk) will be satisfied with the stock tip and the steam boiler set to 1.2 bar.

The timing difference between the stock and optional tip was only a few seconds, but the latter did roll the milk better. I will ask Profitec if they offer 3 or 4 hole tips for the Pro 700 and can provide one for comparison.
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Postby simonp123 » Nov 26, 2014, 12:21 pm

Hi,

I have just purchased a Profitec 700 here in the UK to replace an old Isomac Rituale which was becoming too troublesome and needing constant repair (mainly due to scale related issues).
Dan, can I ask what was your T1 set to and what was temperature offset (E1) in the PID when you were taking the shot temperature measurements with the SCACE device? I just want to get a good idea of the boiler to shot temp relationship as I don't have access to a SCACE device, though I do have Eric's E61 thermometer adapter in the Rituale which I may move across. My machine is currently set to the recommended 14C offset, though it came from the shop set to 13C.

So far the machine far outstrips the Rituale's shots, which is a little surprising given the same grouphead used for both and the temperature control I was able to do with the Rituale and Eric's device.