Concern about plastic tube inside Profitec Pro 500 boiler

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#1: Post by AA27 »

I'm interested in the Profitec Pro 500 but like others who have posted similar concerns here I want to avoid plastic-water and plastic-coffee contact. Cold water tubing is one thing, but until now I was under the impression that at least a machine at this level wouldn't have any plastic carrying hot water. I was surprised to see a plastic tube inside the boiler in the Pro 500 (4:00 in the video below, screenshot attached). Did they really choose plastic as the first component that carries water immediately after heating? Can anyone with better knowledge comment if I'm interpreting the video correctly?

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#2: Post by baldheadracing »

WLL says that the tube is Teflon (PTFE, polytetrafluoroethylene), but it might also be PFA (perfluoroalkoxy).

These types of tubing are sometimes found in domestic/prosumer machines as they do not have the corrosion and (lack of) maintenance issues that can happen with copper tubing. The 'level' of the machine is not related, for example, the La Marzocco Linea Micra uses PFA tubing for steaming.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

AA27 (original poster)

#3: Post by AA27 (original poster) »

Thanks for your reply.

Are you familiar with any machines known to be plastic free from boiler onwards?


#4: Post by DaveC replying to AA27 »

Yes, there are many, but I certainly don't think you should be worried at all by the component in the Profitec boiler.

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#5: Post by JRising »

You might want continue to read more about how espresso machines work, the different types with regards to dual boilers vs. heat exchangers and how a PID controller can be useful for machines with a dedicated brew boiler.

There are many companies all making machines functionally identical. The Rocket branded ones do NOT have that inner teflon tube (They do have a copper injector in the HeatExchanger inlet). Something like the Rocket Giotto would be similar to the one you're looking at, Heat Exchange machine (Giotto is available with either a Vibe or a rotary pump), and PID. This you may want to think about as the PID isn't all that useful on a heat exchange machine.

Of course, Quick Mill has an infinite line of the same machines, again "no teflon in the heat exchanger"... All manufacturers have an E61 type like that. I just chose Rocket first out of familiarity, and easy pick of Giotto being similar to the one in your video.

(The above answer is assuming that you're not including the incidental contact with 5 teflon o-rings in every E61 head nor the inclusion of a Nitrile (Buna-N) group gasket to be plastic from the boiler onward).

Lastly, Teflon doesn't release carcinogens until higher temps than 680 F. If the inside of your heat exchanger ever experiences any temperature like that, your real problem is that your machine is trapped while your kitchen is burning.


#6: Post by heytchap »

Copper has associations with dementia and Alzheimer's, so that should be a concern as well if you're worried about leeching.

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#7: Post by baldheadracing »

AA27 wrote:Are you familiar with any machines known to be plastic free from boiler onwards?
No - first, because manufacturers change practices and they don't tell us as consumers, and second, I can't think of one offhand.

The Rockets John mentions have no-burn steam wands - so there is (usually) PTFE tubing inside the steam and hot water wands for insulation.

Even a mechanically/hydraulically simple machine like a Rancilio Silvia has PTFE seals and EPDM o-rings.

Even machines that have gone all-out and eliminated brass from the hot water path like the Kees van der Westen Speedster - has a polymer dispersion block.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada


#8: Post by coyote-1 »

Is that plastic tube a water inlet? If so, where exactly is it coming from?

Not knowing anything about this machine, I look at that and imagine it is a heat exchanger machine. You have a smaller chamber within a larger boiler, seems it's drawing off heat from the surrounding water. Then you have a within that smaller chamber a copper (or brass?) pipe coming up from below, and a plastic pipe coming in from above. The speaker during that video segment says that when the water fills to the level of the top of the copper pipe, a circuit is completed that stops the water from continuing to come in to the chamber.

Soooo... looking at it in that context, I am imagining the plastic pipe coming from above is feeding cold water into the small chamber. Have I assessed this correctly?

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#9: Post by JRising »

No. The Profitec 500 injects from the bottom. The teflon in the upper heat exchange pipe is part of its engineering to have the upper pipe thermosiphoning away the heated water without taking it from near the very top of the heat exchanger (something to do with the restrictors and "balancing" of reducing the cooling flush).

But you're not wrong. Many machines (lots of Lelits, probably others) have the injector at the top of the heat exchanger. Go figure.


#10: Post by lagoon »

Is this an allergy thing or an aesthetic concern?