Londinium Compressa vs Profitec Pro 800 or Quick Mill Achille

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
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#1: Post by retireddude »

Hi all, I recently added on to my house which provided an opportunity for a new espresso bar (a work in progress). I'm currently using a 7-year old plumbed in Rocket R58 v2, which I've loved, virtually problem free service for ~8,000 shots. But, my new environment offers space that could accommodate a large lever machine. My wife and I drink mostly med-dark roast coffee (full City + range), either as straight shots or americanos, and the occasional latte. We both enjoy sweet and rich big bodied "comfort shots."

For a while I had considered switching to a Decent DE1 for the ability to do pressure profiling. But, my wife doesn't like the appearance, and I'm not crazy about the peculiar clicking sounds the Decent makes while pulling shots. My primary interest in a Decent was to mimic the declining pressure profile of a lever, and at some point (embarrassingly long in the thought process) I had the epiphany that maybe I should just get a lever machine instead of trying to emulate one.

My budget is roughly $3000 and change. I think I've narrowed it down to these three machines:
Londinium Compressa $3040 with shipping
Profitec Pro 800 $3049 with shipping
Quick Mill Achille $2800 with shipping

I especially like that the Pro 800 and Compressa offer silent operation if plumbed in, that's a negative to the QM despite the rotary pump.

I'm a bit confused about the pros/cons of PID vs pressure stat. One con that concerned me about the pressure stat in Londinium machines was noise. They were reported to be annoyingly loud by some users, but I've seen that newer versions are said to be quieter.

I'm assuming all machines would make comparable quality shots (although I'm open to hearing why that assumption is wrong) but am wondering if anyone has advice on which machine might be best given my priorities, which are:

-can be plumbed in
-quiet operation
-excellent build quality and reliable service.
-easy self-repair/maintenance at home (rather than shipping it for service). I'm capable of basic fixes. I've replaced a leaking gasket in an e61, lubed the cam, plumbed machine in, etc.

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#2: Post by CoffeeMac »

I had a similar epiphany (see viewtopic.php?p=808029#p808029), debating between DE1 and a lever. I wanted something that would consistently make excellent espresso from a variety of beans/roasts, was quiet/silent, plumbed, robust/reliable and self-serviceable.

I ended up getting the Compressa and have been very happy in the 6 months I've had it. It has lived up to all of these expectations and then some. I think the completely silent operation is unexpectedly nice, even coming from a relatively quiet rotary pump machine (Vivaldi).

Regarding the pressure stat noise - I never notice it. I have the machine in the kitchen, so the slight click is usually masked by other kitchen activity. And it is certainly too soft to be heard anywhere else in the house.

While you don't get all of the data like the DE1, or digitally-controllable temp/pressure/time parameters like many machines, I find you don't need any of that. I think the inherent "analog" architecture of the Compressa is so well dialed in that you can extract the most out of any bean simply by adjusting pre-infusion pressure, dose, grind and brew ratio. And sometimes retarding the lever a bit. What you can't do is compare recipes with people using digitally-controlled machines. And that's OK. Assuming you have a good grinder, you will quickly be able to find the sweet spot for each bean.
Eventually you will end up with a lever.

LMWDP #706

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retireddude (original poster)

#3: Post by retireddude (original poster) »

Thanks, I enjoyed reading your "journey" to a lever. I'm curious, what's your impression of the shot quality difference between the Compressa and Robot (I also have a Robot, which prompted my thinking about switching entirely to levers, and have noticed it often produces sweeter shots than my Rocket R58, but with a somewhat thinner mouthfeel).

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#4: Post by CoffeeMac »

For medium roast (eg Northbound American Beauty), I think the shots are pretty compatible between the Robot and the Compressa although I haven't done any side-by-side comparisons, so it's hard to say if there is any mouthfeel differences. I never did any extraordinary temperature management on the Robot, so no light roasts which would have required higher brew temp. Robot was mainly my morning cappuccino machine (when paired with a Bellman steamer). It also made me realize how much I enjoyed a completely silent machine, and a very simple/robust machine.

Besides being a silent and simple/robust machine, the speed and ease of use of the Compressa sealed the deal for me for both milk-based drinks and espresso from light roasts. I've got my routine down now that I can get my morning cappuccino in 5 minutes, including prep and cleanup. Afternoon espresso is even faster. Now the robot is used mainly for backup, travel, or on my boat.
Eventually you will end up with a lever.

LMWDP #706

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#5: Post by GregoryJ »

I got the Pro 800. A big selling point is the ability to switch between tank or plumbed in, because I hope to plumb in the future. They also have a 3 year warranty, and distributors in the US. The PID makes it very easy to adjust temperature, I go between 248F for darker blends, and 254F for medium. I don't think you can go wrong with any of them though.


#6: Post by emradguy »

GregoryJ wrote:I go between 248F for darker blends, and 254F for medium.
Can you translate that to what temperatures you're actually extracting?

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#7: Post by GregoryJ replying to emradguy »

Sorry, I don't really know. I just reduce the temperature for a dark roast until I get rid of the ashy, roasty taste. Or, I increase the temperature for a medium roast until the sourness goes away and it becomes sweet. When I used to own a Breville Dual boiler I tended to work around 196 - 200 F.

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retireddude (original poster)

#8: Post by retireddude (original poster) »

GregoryJ wrote:I got the Pro 800. A big selling point is the ability to switch between tank or plumbed in, because I hope to plumb in the future. They also have a 3 year warranty, and distributors in the US. The PID makes it very easy to adjust temperature, I go between 248F for darker blends, and 254F for medium. I don't think you can go wrong with any of them though.
I'm planning on plumbing in, but it is nice to have options. From what I understand the Pro 800 is a dual spring lever, rather than the single spring in the Londinium. I've been curious how much harder it is, physically, to pull a shot on the Pro 800.


#9: Post by vacrad49 »

Life isn't always an either/or proposition especially as one goes down the lever path. I have had an E61 Profitec 700 as a daily driver, and I still have kept my 700. Additionally I added a Ponte Vecchio Export, then a La Pavoni Esperto Abile, followed by a Profitec 800 with ECM joystick valves for my lever path of enjoyment. The type of beans and the taste profiles that you enjoy should really be the guide to the machine you pick to use.

For us, medium to dark Italian bean roasts are our predominate favorites, so classic Italian lever machines are well suited for those beans and their roasts. Both the Ponte Vecchio Export and the Profitec 800 deliver extremely tasty full bodied espressos, what we desire in our cups. Because of the smaller 45mm PV baskets I settle on 12g in and a typical 18g ristretto or a 24 g espresso out. The PV brews with an optimal 195F group head temperature. The PV Export delivers a consistently fine espresso, and is a great relatively inexpensive entree' into the spring lever world. With the La Pavoni, I use 15g as my basket dose, and I have work harder, being more meticulous in technique, to deliver an equally fine tasting espresso. I use supplementary thermocouple grouphead temperature sensors to monitor my groupheads for brewing and to temperature surf as needed.

The Profitec Pro 800 with its boiler PID is easier to control than the PV and the La Pavoni. Because of the 58mm portafilter baskets, classic sized 36g and 40g beautifully tasting espressos are easy daily routines on the Profitec. We are very happy, even delighted, users of the Profitec 800, and if you go down this route order one with the ECM joystick valves.

If you want to experiment and use lighter roasts, then the Decent DE1 or the Londinium R24 might be preferable for you compared to my old school PV Export and La Pavoni, and somewhat PID modernized, but old school Profitec 800. My machines are perfect for our tastes, favoring and optimized for classic medium to darker Italian style roasts . Oh, BTW, lever machines are just so much satisfying fun.

A final thought for your entry into the lever world, since it appears that you have the space in your bar, my advice is for you to keep you Rocket and add a toe-in-the -water Ponte Vecchio to experiment (relatively inexpensively) with classic Italian roast lever taste profiles to learn if you like lever style machines. If medium-light roasts and light roasts predominate in your taste preferences, then do the Londinium or the DE1. Let your taste buds be your guide to a future machine. For us, and our taste buds, the Ponte Vecchio and the Profitec 800 are both perfect daily machines, used every day with pleasure.

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retireddude (original poster)

#10: Post by retireddude (original poster) »

Hi vacrad,

Thanks for that detailed explanation. I appreciate it. We're not into light roasts, medium-dark is what we drink. So, it sounds like the Pro 800 would be an excellent option. I hadn't heard of the Ponte Vecchio, that's a really interesting looking inexpensive spring lever. I've also been considering the new (soon to be released) Argos from odyssey espresso as a possible "toe in the water,'' but I'm increasingly convinced that a commercial spring lever is in my future.