Profitec Pro 800 Review - Revisited

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HB
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#1: Post by HB »

I miss the "before" times when we had regular group taste tests at Counter Culture Coffee's training center in Durham, NC. I also miss serving a crowd to test an espresso machine/grinder combo under load as I regularly did at a local car dealership and occasionally at my regular work location. Sigh!

Regular site members may recall that I reviewed the Profitec Pro 800 almost six years ago. ECM, the parent company, has updated it with several cosmetic upgrades and a couple maintenance upgrades:
  • Profitec joystick levers for steam/water
  • Bigger steam boiler gauge
  • Wood handles for portafilters, steam/water knobs
  • Base in stainless steel
  • Boiler can be removed without removing the front panel
The package also includes three portafilters and baskets: A double, single, and bottomless. Michael Hauck of ECM offered an updated evaluation model; given how much I enjoyed the review in 2016, how could I say no?



As it turns out, this aligned with with my employer's encouragement to return to the office. I agreed to have a small "welcome back" espresso day, if only as a good excuse to return to one of my favorite espresso machines, the Profitec Pro 800.

The turnout was modest, a combination of regulars and some interns who just started the day before. I was joined by my colleague Martin Keen; he's the guy behind the well-established The Homebrew Challenge on YouTube and the more recent Keen on Coffee (more on that later).

Below are some action shots with Martin. For the actual group service, he was in charge of steaming and I took orders/pulled the espressos. Over the course of 90 minutes, we served around 20-25 drinks at a leisurely pace. It was great fun! Some of the participants complimented the drinks. One remarked "This is the best cappuccino I've ever tasted." While I could accept this as high praise, I should qualify it by pointing out that the typical attendee is likely a national coffee chain customer, so it's not a high bar to clear. :)





Martin is still working on his latte art skills, so I jumped in for this photo. It's not an exceptional pour, but at least hints at a rosetta. :lol:
Dan Kehn

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HB (original poster)
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#2: Post by HB (original poster) »

Here's a quick intro video Martin and I filmed the same day as the "welcome" session:
Dan Kehn

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HB (original poster)
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#3: Post by HB (original poster) »

As a tip of the hat to Phillip of Newbie Introduction to Espresso fame, Martin has offered to step in with a beginner's perspective. I was especially interested in hearing his impressions of the Profitec Pro 800, since I argue that it's one of the most forgiving espresso machines around. Here's his video:
An excellent good explanation of the mechanics of the brew temperature management. He also points out that the volume of a commercial lever espresso machine is much greater than many home lever espresso machines and you'll need to adapt your technique accordingly. There's no need for a Fellini Move here (search if you're curious what that is)!
Dan Kehn

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HB (original poster)
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#4: Post by HB (original poster) »

A question about the noise (or lack thereof) for a plumbed in Pro 800 came up in Profitec Pro 800 plumbing/PID issue; reposting my response before for easy reference.
It's not silent, but it's definitely quieter than the vibratory pump. I believe the sound is from the water rushing through a vary narrow inlet. I tried cutting off the water supply to check if the noise was a "buzzing" solenoid as suggested in this thread above; the noise immediately stopped.

Note that the owner's manual calls out operational pressure of 2-3 bar:
Profitec wrote:The boiler is filled by the line pressure, if you are using the Pro800 with a fixed water connection. The pump is not activated when using a fixed water connection. Make sure that the fixed water connection of the machine is hooked up to a potable water supply with an operational pressure of 2 to 3 bars. Please note that the pressure of the water supply may not always be consistent. As soon as 3 bars of pressure are occasionally exceeded, install a pressure reducer.
That's about ~40 PSI max, which is lower than most home water pressure of 50-55 PSI. The Pro 800 in the video above is on our third floor, so the effective line pressure is ~2.5 bar.
Dan Kehn