Profitec 600 user experience and review

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
CoffeeMachineNZ

#1: Post by CoffeeMachineNZ »

There are a few posts here about the Profitec machines, I thought it may be helpful for others to read about my journey and how I find the Profitec 600. I hope you find this useful!

Background
The Profitec 600 is my third espresso machine, my first real espresso machine was a Rancilio Silvia single boiler and Gaggia MDF grinder that both lasted over 12 years. I upgraded this set up 4 years ago to a Rocket Appartamento HX machine and Eurkea Specialita grinder. I have set up the Specialita with a bellows for single dosing, which works very well and leads to almost zero retention.

I was pretty happy with the my Rocket and Specialita setup, however I did notice inconsistency with espresso extraction and steam power was a bit lacking. Given I was none the wiser, this setup was making pretty good coffee. The morning routine is normally 2 lattes, which the Appartamento handled pretty well, at most I will make 4-5 drinks a day. We do the odd bit of entertaining, then it's a mix of long blacks and milk based drinks. The Appartamento was a bit slow if you are making several drinks in a row.

Given I have been making milk based espresso drinks for a while, I thought I was well informed and knew what I was doing. However about 8 months ago I started watching James Hoffman's You Tube channel then I realised much more I had to learn. I started not only weighing beans but the extracted espresso, I really focused on puck preparation, invested in a WDT tool (I already had a wedge distributor and Pullman Big Step tamper), worked on espresso recipes, played around with timings. It became clear that the Appartamento was not cutting it (due to inconsistency) and it was time to look for a double boiler machine with PID temperature controls.

Upgrade Options
I started doing a bit of research, reading a lot of reviews and blogs and of course You Tube. I started watching a few videos about double boiler machines, mainly from WLL, IDC and Clive Coffee, even though I am in New Zealand these reviews are still relevant as we have the same machines here, albeit a bit more expensive given we are a smaller market and we do not get all the brands for sale here.

Based on this research I developed a shortlist of machines that included the Crem One double boiler, the new VBM Domobar Super Digital, Rocket 58, Bezzera Duo MN, the Bianca and Profitec 600/700 (which were the last ones to make the list). The reason the Profitec machines were last was that I had heard of all the other brands but not Profitec.

I will start off by saying there are a lot of people out there who are very happy with all these machines I have listed, they get a lot of great reviews and will all do an excellent job. As with anyone out there looking for a new machine, I was looking for one that would suit my requirements. It is easy to go overboard and buy the fanciest machine, but will I use all those features that I will pay for? Finding the right product fit was the most important thing. If you own one of these machines I had short listed, then I am sure you are making amazing drinks on it, and congrats on selecting a great machine.

The Shortlist
With the Crem and VBM Digital machines, I was really enticed by the "digital" side of these machines, auto turn on, digital profiling etc. I was chatting to a distributor in the UK about the Crem One and VBM Digital machines, they were not going to stock them going forward due to lack of demand, I also was talking to someone in Canada who said there was a similar problem there with the distributor pulling out. Reading the forums, there seemed to be issues with the Crem and VBM machines with stock globally, and people were talking about low build quality on the VBM from a money vs price perspective.

I had a look at both the Bezzera Duo MN and Bianca, these are nice machines. I use dark beans I don't really need pressure profiling on the Bianca and there was a bit of talk around quality/build issues with the Bianca. The Bezzera (even though it is built like a tank) there seemed to be issues with the first release, our office had a Bezzera machine which gave us so much grief, which was a bad experience. You do get a lot of features with these machines, both have a rotary pumps and the Duo has flip switches.

Rocket is very popular in New Zealand , as it is part owned by a couple of New Zealanders. However there is a price premium for Rocket in NZ, I think it is because they are trying to brand themselves as a premium product. It was the most expensive machine from the shortlist.

The idea of having to replace a digital display in a machine 10 years down the track or dealing with a distributor who stops importing machines sort of put me off for some on the shortlist. Also I did not want to pay for features I would not use, so the price to feature ratio had to line up for me. My Silvia was a reliable and simple machine that performed for years. The idea of keeping things simple and looking for reliability is something that had worked for me before and made sense.

I had heard of ECM but not Profitec. The review for the 600 and 700 on WLL and Clive, made me put this machines towards the top of the list. Initially I was leaning towards the 700, I ended up selecting the 600 and it is a bit smaller and given we only make 2-5 milk based drinks a day, it made more sense. I could always put the savings towards a new grinder.

User Experience
As far as user experience goes, this machine is brilliant. The espresso extraction is super consistent, the steam power is impressive and I get silky smooth milk every time. To me that is the biggest thing, having control to create milk based espresso drinks that are consistent. Heat up time is quick, I turn the machine on when I get up and the portafilter and group head are both hot in 25mins. You can buy the 600 with flip switches and flow control now (600 MODE), I prefer the dials, I like the feel and also control from dials. With the dials you get full control so for example you can have a slightly less power when you are stretching the milk they increase to full when moving to swirling. This is a good way to increase steaming performance. The machine looks great with the side panels, it is not too big and looks really good in our kitchen.

I am thinking of potentially upgrading my grinder, but at the moment I am happy with what I have and may just stick with the Specialita given its nice compact size, fluffy grounds and stepless settings. From a single dose point of view, it does a very good job.

Profitec keeps things simple and have a thoughtful design for their machines. For example the vacuum relief valve discharges into the drip tray (steam and electronics don't mix well). Why this is not standard across all manufactures is strange. Inside the machine you can see it is built with servicing in mind, so easy to get in and fix things, it is a very tidy inside build. The exterior is lovely and every touch point feels great. The drip tray is large and is held in place by the bolts from the front feet, the side panels offer nice contrast and can be replaced, there are a lot of nice design touches everywhere. There is nothing too fancy here, given I am only making 2-5 coffees a day with dark roasted beans, it is a good fit.

The 600 will happily steam 250-350ml (8.5 to 12 oz) of milk and then recharge the steam boiler within 30 seconds, meaning you I can make back to back drinks without waiting. For this volume of milk the pressure will start at 2 bars and drop to between 1.5 to 1.2 bar. Milk is super smooth and silky, way better than my Rocket (my Rocket would start at 1.2 bar and drop to 0.5 bar). I have steamed 500ml milk (17oz) at once, the 600 will do it and still make silky smooth milk, but the pressure will drop to 0.7 bar towards the end, and it will then take about 1 min to recharge the steam boiler. It can do this volume of milk but it is a bit of a struggle towards the end.

The PID temperature controls seem to work really well. This is what leads to consistency in espresso extraction and control with steaming milk. I don't have any way to test the temperature of water coming out of the group head (there are plenty of videos on You Tube that do this), what I can say is the espresso is spot on. I noticed a real step up in flavour and smoothness in the espresso from the Profitec when compared to the Rocket. For the steam boiler you can control the pressure by adjusting the temperature. The advice from the supplier was to keep it at maximum, which provides 2 bar steam pressure. For me the PID is something I set once then leave alone. I woud only adjust the coffee boiler pressure if I moved to a light roast.

600 vs 700
The reason you would choose the 700 or ECM Synchronika over the 600 is if you want to steam large volumes of milk back to back (ie 500ml/17 oz) or want to direct plumb the machine. If this is important to you then go for the 700 or ECM, the 600 is not for you.

If you are only steaming 250-350ml (8.5 to 12 oz) of milk at a time and don't want to plumb in the machine, then go for the 600, as this is the sweet spot for this machine and back to back drinks at this volume of milk are no issue. If this is you, then you would find little benefit moving to the 700 or ECM.

The 700 and ECM are physically bigger as well, so you need to consider that. The 700's rotary pump is almost silent. The 600 vibe pump is much more quite than my Rocket but you can hear it of course. I am ok with the vibe pump on the 600, its noise level is quite low, also given grinding beans and steaming milk is very noisy, why pay extra for silent espresso extraction when everything else you do is so loud.

Negatives and Setup
There are of course a few negatives with the 600, as with any machine. Here are the minor ones, these may be non-issues for you. First, the portafilters are smaller than others so if you are using a larger basket (more than 22g), check first, it may not fit. I use a Pullman 19-22g basket and that fits fine. Second, programing the PID is a bit fiddly, but once you do it, then it is set and forget. The last minor issue is the pressure dials are at the very bottom of the machine, so keep getting sprayed with water/steam. If you are careful, then you can manage this, it is almost a non-issue

The only major issue is filling the water tank, you have to pull off the top rack to get access. If you have cups up top, then it is an issue, as you have to move the cups every time. I don't keep cups on the top of my machine, so its not a big deal. To me this could be solved by having a flap on the top removable rack, but I guess that would add more costs. I will say the removable top rack as once piece does make the machine look nicer.

It took me about a 3-4 days to sort out the settings. I keep the steam boiler temperature at the highest setting which gives 2 bar steam pressure (133 C) and the coffee boiler at 93 C. People talk about having the coffee boiler at flash over point, I am not sure if that is the way to go, I found this article below quite useful for setting coffee boiler temperatures. I roast my own beans (I have a Kaffelogic roster) and roast quite dark, so that is why I am at 93 C.

https://home.lamarzoccousa.com/basic-espresso-theory/

Conclusion
My Rocket Appartamento is a very good machine, great design and well built. A lot of people out there love this machine. The main reason for the upgrade was my espresso journey had taken a few more steps forward and I had outgrown My Rocket, this is a case of "its me not you"!

The digital aspects of the Crem and VBM Super Digital really appealed to me in the beginning and I can see more and more machines going this way, the new San Remo Cube is a good example of this. If you are the sort of person who likes to tweak things and think pressure profiling is important you can look at the Bianca, Crem and VBM Super Digital. Out of these three I would lean towards the VBM as there seems to be better product support here in NZ for VBM. I really did like the feature list of the VBM, it is quite impressive and the steam boiler is a massive 2L. You can get a manual flow control on the 600 and 700, it does work, but you have no indication of flow values as its manual. The Bianca has a more elegant solution here.

Looking at the Rocket, Bezzera and Profitec, the Rocket price/feature ratio was too high, and Bezzera to me had some room for improvement on the design side of things (why vent the vacuum relief valve inside a machine that has a digital display, for example). Profitec had very good design and build quality, and the right feature to price ratio for me in the end. Infact you could argue Profitec actually delivers more value for less, which makes it hard to ignore.

The Profitec 600 was the cheapest of all those I looked at (around $2500 USD), the Profitec 700 was middle of the pack at USD 3000 and only the 600/700 offered 2 bar steam pressure. The Profitec 600 meets my requirements and extra features in the 700 would not benefit me. The other machines on my short list were more expensive than the Profitec 600 and ranged from USD 2800 to 3400.

There are some compromises with selecting the Profitec 600 namely you get a vibe pump, smaller steam boiler and no premium digital features. These are features I can live without and do not distract from how good the Profitec 600 really is.

I really did enjoy my time with my Rocket, it was a great machine that was fun to use. I must say I really do love using my Profitec 600, I look forward to using it every day, it is a delight to make espresso and steam milk with this machine. It really does put a smile on your face each time you use it. At the end of the day we are focused on what is in the cup, extracting coffee and steaming milk which we want to do consistently and reliably, here the Profitec 600 delivers in spades.

Happy to answer any questions you may have.

tinman143

#2: Post by tinman143 »

Nice write up and accurate as I'm a 600 owner myself. Bravo and enjoy

CoffeeMachineNZ (original poster)

#3: Post by CoffeeMachineNZ (original poster) »

Thanks, hopefully this helps others, really enjoying the new machine!

tinman143

#4: Post by tinman143 »

2 years of happy ownership so far

Vindibona1

#5: Post by Vindibona1 »

Congratulations!
The Profitec 600 is quite a formidable machine and was on my short list as well. I didn't go that direction because there was a similarly featured machine that, when discount was applied, came in $400 USD less expensive, and had additional perks not to mention was 1" (4cm) narrower which was one of the factors in our decision.

CoffeeMachineNZ (original poster)

#6: Post by CoffeeMachineNZ (original poster) »

Thanks! I do like the look of Quick Mill, but we don't get those machines here in New Zealand or Australia. I was having a look at them as a few of the US sites carry them and they look really nice. Hopefully they make a 220V version for us in the future, as they would be popular. The Lucca M58 looks really good as well, and I think that is made by Quick Mill also. I like the way the dials are higher on the M58, on the 600 they are a bit lower and keep getting covered in stuff.