Profitec Pro 800 - Extraction analysis help!

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#1: Post by espressoerik »

I have a new Profitec 800 Pro lever espresso machine, live at 4,600 FT elevation, and experiencing extraction issues. It appears to be related to heat, but would love your opinion here. I'm getting very elongated, foamy extractions, with hissing and bubbles.

I am using medium-dark (419º drop) fresh coffee, but well rested (7-10 days or more).

I am also aware (through the many posts in these forums) that these lever machines can run hot. I'm running at the LOW end of the recommendation for my boiler and hesitate to go lower. Currently using 246ºF when recommended is 248-255ºF.

:?: So what do you think? Does this look like a CO2 issue? High temp issue? Or something else? Do you believe elevation comes into play?

Here is Steve's response from Whole Latte Love on the issue:
Those setting are on the steam side, not the brew side. Since the Pro 800 is a heat exchange boiler only one temperature is monitored. So when the machine is set to 250 F the brew part of the boiler is actually kept at right about 200 F

Water in the boiler and when brewing is under pressure, so your elevation won't effect it either way. So even if you raise the temperature above your boiling point, it would not be able to boil until it leaves the portafilter, post brew. And in practice it will already be below that temperature by the time that happens.

If you are worried about it you can lower the temps, but you will find that the lower you go the harder it is for the water to extract from the coffee.

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#2: Post by HB »

espressoerik wrote:...I'm getting very elongated, foamy extractions, with hissing and bubbles... Here is Steve's response from Whole Latte Love on the issue:
The Pro 800 isn't a heat exchanger, it's a "dipper" type lever. That means the brew chamber is fed by the steam boiler water, which obviously starts out way above the boiling point. You may want to check out the Profitec Pro 800 Review - Revisited and the original review to understand the mechanics, since Steve is *ahem* misinformed.

Based on my quick search, water boils at your altitude around 204°F. It's true that the brew chamber will be pressurized and water cools on the way there, so the brew water should not flash boil (though it may at first before the chamber pressurizes). I would start by lowering the steam boiler temperature a lot, to say 0.6 bar, and seeing how the espresso tastes/looks. If it doesn't fuss and foam at that pressure, then increase it and see how the taste/texture changes. You may want to search this forum on "high altitude brewing" threads for specific advice, as we live at ~500' above sea level and I could be as misinformed as Steve. :lol:
Dan Kehn

espressoerik (original poster)

#3: Post by espressoerik (original poster) »

Thank you Dan for the reply!

I did read the other thread in its entirety (very helpful); and yes water boils here at 202-203º.

I lowered the boiler temp before and it's helped to reduce the problem, but I'll lower it even further to try to eliminate it entirely.

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#4: Post by HB »

One of my general recommendations when investigating -- don't make a small adjustment, you'll only wonder if that was a factor in the result. Make a BIG adjustment and then halve the setting between the prior and current one based on taste. You won't wonder if what you changed produced the result, as the result should be plain as day (or it's irrelevant).
Dan Kehn

espressoerik (original poster)

#5: Post by espressoerik (original poster) »

Great advice here. Will do that. Thanks again.
HB wrote:...and then halve the setting between the prior and current one

espressoerik (original poster)

#6: Post by espressoerik (original poster) »

An update -

I've confirmed this is in fact a temperature problem. Lowering the boiler to 240ºF fixed the issue, and so far, it appears I can operate around 243ºF which delivers about 200-202ºF water to the portafilter.

I do believe - and others will contest - that my 4,600 ft of elevation is the culprit. It's clear that using a boiler temp of 246ºF or more, at my elevation, the water coming out of the group is flash boiling - pretty much exiting the group head as steam. Using the 246ºF (or more), the group water temperature at the portafilter is at 204ºF or more. My water boils here at 202ºF

Lastly, I'm using Clive Coffee's recommended PID settings for the Pro 800, which were considerably different than what was set in my machine. So far, appears to be working.


#7: Post by Jasper_8137 »

What boiler pressure did you land at? I'm at 5280' and have my Bosco at 1.3 bar. My shots are good although I've had more channeling than I did with my Gaggia at 1.1 bar. I'm wondering if the increased pressure is increasing channeling.

espressoerik (original poster)

#8: Post by espressoerik (original poster) »

Jasper_8137 wrote:What boiler pressure did you land at? I'm at 5280' and have my Bosco at 1.3 bar.
Mile high espresso! 8)

I'm right about .9 bar on the Pro 800. I'd rather be at 1.0 or just above, but for steam pressure more than anything. I don't think there's anything wrong with 1.3 and would look to puck prep more than anything for channeling.


#9: Post by Finley72 »

I've had a new Pro 800 for a couple weeks. Thank you very much for posting your experience and findings. I also noticed a similar experience with extractions with the foamy ending once done. The water out of the group head when flushing seemed very hot. (Which I expected)
I am at 3500 ft elevation and water boils here at 205.5. So I set the boiler to 244-245 and it is much better.

I was also trying to dial I'm my new Key grinder as well. Today was a better day.


#10: Post by Essewissa »

The problem could be with the dose and ratio. Optimal dose is 14-15g , ratio 28-30g, time 7-8s for preinfusion, total extraction time 38-45s (preinfusion included). Baskets VST15, but this one works better