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I think I’ve bought the wrong machine...


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So, apologise for the attention seeking subject title but I need a sounding board I think.

 

Basically, I bought a Profitec Pro 500 last October to replace my Sage Barista Express. I’m an information junkie so naturally did many, many hours research - which led me to taking a trip to Bella Barista to collect the Pro 500.

 

I love the machine: the look of it, the Profitec brand and obviously the German engineering (I’m a mechanical engineer). I know the style of the machine isn’t for everyone and at the time I fully accepted that I could have got ‘more machine’ for my money and I payed a premium for the quality of finish.

 

Here is where my problem lies - I’m torn because like I have said I love the look of it and for a HX machine with the added PID it is pretty stable but I want it to be more stable.I have done lots of experimenting with boiler temps, flushing routines, no flushing and I can get it consistent but I know it could have better. So, that is one thing and herein lies the next problem - I’m lucky enough to have adopted our utility room and have a good amount of space but I just wish the machine was slightly smaller.

 

Obviously I could just accept it’s bloody good but I can’t help thinking it could be better. I know upgradeitus doesn’t help but usually once I’m happy with something I stick with it and look after it.

 

My current thinking is to swap it for the Pro 600 which should be better for temp but it’s obviously the exact same size. Plus, I’m not mad on the steam/hot water wand shape.

 

Any thoughts? :) 

Edited by BH471
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What about lelit bianca, similar size but the water tank is moveable (and I think it can be plumbed in??) or is that too similar in aesthetics to the pro 600 for you

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@RobDGio it’s a good shout but I’m not a fan of the wood (controversial I know) and I think the moveable tank, although could be useful for some - looks a bit unsightly to me. Do you have one?

Edited by BH471
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@BH471 - Do you like the coffee you are getting from it, is the current temperature fluctuation you are getting making that much of a negative impact and what is the taste difference?

Also worth considering if a grinder upgrade or flow paddle would give you better bang for your buck in terms of what is in the cup.

If all else fails and you are a massive “data” type person, skip all the intervening steps and just buy a Decent instead. Pricey but less expensive than a couple of interim upgrades. 😉

Edited by Northern_Monkey
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@Northern_Monkey “Do I like the coffee?” Yes it can make brilliant coffee. My weekday morning routine is pretty much always the same and I get very consistent results but at the weekend when it’s left on the group head idle temperature can vary and therefore getting everything back to where it needs to be can take some effort.

I have a Eureka Specialita as my grinder. It’s funny you mention the Decent as it fits the bill but I can’t get the look of it past my wife, it’s also expensive of course 😂

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@BH471 - Great, then it sounds like you have a baseline that you are happy with.

Apologies if you have one already, have you tried an e61 group thermometer like this Coffee Sensor model? Might let you see what the group says more accurately and in real time if you haven’t tried it.

https://coffee-sensor.com/product/temperature-sensor-e61-hx-or-sbdu-group-head-thermometer/
 

Yeah, the Decent is a bit like the Niche in terms of divisiveness! 🤣

Marvellous bit of kit obviously, but I can’t see myself ever owning one as it somehow makes me feel less a part of the whole thing plus the 💷💷💷

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@Northern_Monkey I do have a group head thermometer which to be honest has been invaluable for understanding the machine.

If I use/catch the machine in the 40-60 minute window, do a very short 2-3 second flush I am consistently where I want to be (taking into account the small difference between thermometer and puck temperature). But, if I leave the machine on and come back to it hours later, the group head is hotter and cooling it down and stabilising is a bit harder. I have tried lowering the steam boiler temp and leaving it longer to heat-up but this causes the tempt to drop if I am making more than one drink. I have also tried increasing it and trying to bring the temp down to my desired temp by flushing for longer but this is less repeatable and uses a lot more water. 

I am most definitely chasing that small margin and I can’t shake the notion of this issue being solved by separating the steam and brew water.

I too love to be more hands on and my wife obviously didn’t like the look but her part comment was “it looks like cheating too me”....I guess she likes coffee to be more of a black magic art form. 

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I have to agree with @Northern_Monkey, if your technique is dialled, is a machine change going to actually bring changes to taste?

Are you actually using the steam function? Or are you only drinking espresso/black coffee?

Of you’re not using the steam wand or can accept the boiler warm up/cool time for steaming I’d consider looking at a premium single boiler like the ECM Classika. It’ll be about as stable as you’re going to get in an E61 machine and is a fair chunk smaller than the Pro 500.

Failing that, you’re potentially looking at a dual boiler upgrade which is obviously pricey and most will be a bit bigger than your Pro 500.

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4 hours ago, BH471 said:

...So, apologise for the attention seeking subject title but I need a sounding board...

No apologies necessary....it looks like it's worked to me as you have some fine answers above ☝️ and possibly more yet to come; well done 😎

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9 hours ago, B-Roadie said:

I have to agree with @Northern_Monkey, if your technique is dialled, is a machine change going to actually bring changes to taste?

Are you actually using the steam function? Or are you only drinking espresso/black coffee?

Of you’re not using the steam wand or can accept the boiler warm up/cool time for steaming I’d consider looking at a premium single boiler like the ECM Classika. It’ll be about as stable as you’re going to get in an E61 machine and is a fair chunk smaller than the Pro 500.

Failing that, you’re potentially looking at a dual boiler upgrade which is obviously pricey and most will be a bit bigger than your Pro 500.

@B-Roadie I'm not sure it will improve my good results but I'm hoping it could improve my off ones by removing another variable. I like the ECM Classika actually but I do make a fair few milk based drinks. 

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Have you ever considered the ACS Minima dual boiler machine?

The temperature stability is guaranteed and with 2 l steam boiler milk drinks are not going to be a show stopper.

Nothing succeeds as planned.

 

ACS Vesuvius, Nuova Simonelli Apia I 1 gr, San Remo 1 gr., Bezzera BZ35e, Fracino Heavenly, Saeco Via Veneto Combi de Luxe, Mythos Plus Nuova Simonelli, Anfim Super Lusso, Cunill Space, Gene Cafe

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2 hours ago, John Yossarian said:

Have you ever considered the ACS Minima dual boiler machine?

The temperature stability is guaranteed and with 2 l steam boiler milk drinks are not going to be a show stopper.

@John Yossarian I have looked at the Minima and I don't particularly mind the look of it but after a Profitec machine I think it would look a bit disappointing. 

In fairness I think something like the Rancilio Silvia Pro or Lelit Elizabeth is what would work for me - small, compact, dual boiler, solid and roughly the same price point. They also have the added benefit of having the steam wand on the right hand side which would actually fit much better in my space.  Unfortunately, they all just feel like a step down I think, especially in looks.

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7 minutes ago, BH471 said:

@John Yossarian I have looked at the Minima and I don't particularly mind the look of it but after a Profitec machine I think it would look a bit disappointing. 

In fairness I think something like the Rancilio Silvia Pro or Lelit Elizabeth is what would work for me - small, compact, dual boiler, solid and roughly the same price point. They also have the added benefit of having the steam wand on the right hand side which would actually fit much better in my space.  Unfortunately, they all just feel like a step down I think, especially in looks.

What about the MaraX? That seems the right machine for you? (and no cooling flushes!) 

Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group

 

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2 hours ago, BH471 said:

@John Yossarian I have looked at the Minima and I don't particularly mind the look of it but after a Profitec machine I think it would look a bit disappointing. 

In fairness I think something like the Rancilio Silvia Pro or Lelit Elizabeth is what would work for me - small, compact, dual boiler, solid and roughly the same price point. They also have the added benefit of having the steam wand on the right hand side which would actually fit much better in my space.  Unfortunately, they all just feel like a step down I think, especially in looks.

I agree that the MInima is not everyone's cup of tea look-wise. In IMHO the Rancilio Silvia Pro would be a step backwards from your current setup. MaraX as mentioned can be a solid solution. 

Edited by John Yossarian
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Nothing succeeds as planned.

 

ACS Vesuvius, Nuova Simonelli Apia I 1 gr, San Remo 1 gr., Bezzera BZ35e, Fracino Heavenly, Saeco Via Veneto Combi de Luxe, Mythos Plus Nuova Simonelli, Anfim Super Lusso, Cunill Space, Gene Cafe

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+1 for the MaraX. I just received mine on Saturday from Bella Barista. I used to have a Sage DB and while perhaps I don't have the same sort of temp control of the extraction the results in the cup can't be argued with. Steaming is not the most powerful (I've set mine up for brew priority) but powerful enough to knock out big milky drinks for people not that keen on the taste of coffee 😁. Most of all it is more involving and fun to use than the SDB. 

It is also very spouse friendly as it is very attractive and very compact. My wife who hated the looks and countertop space of the SDB actually quite likes the MaraX. That following a rather heated argument when I told her I wanted to buy a new machine. Emulation of Lysistrata was threatened.  Thankfully this was not to pass. The MaraX passed the spouse test with flying colours. 

 

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Coffee. Because murder is wrong. 

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7 minutes ago, Northern_Monkey said:

@BH471 - How about a BZ10 with electronically heated group?

Should be more consistent, but as with the Mara-x you lose the ability to fine tune the temperature depending upon the bean. Also no flow profiling at a later date.

https://www.blackcatcoffee.co.uk/products/bezzera-bz10

Actually Coffee Sensor sell a flow control kit that can be retrofitted to any E61 grouphead. Or have I misunderstood you and that is what you meant?

https://coffee-sensor.com/product/coffee-sensor-flow-control-device-for-e61-groupheads/

 

Coffee. Because murder is wrong. 

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6 hours ago, MediumRoastSteam said:

What about the MaraX? That seems the right machine for you? (and no cooling flushes!) 

It does fit the bill quite well but is it more of a sideways step? 

57 minutes ago, Northern_Monkey said:

@BH471 - How about a BZ10 with electronically heated group?

Should be more consistent, but as with the Mara-x you lose the ability to fine tune the temperature depending upon the bean. Also no flow profiling at a later date.

https://www.blackcatcoffee.co.uk/products/bezzera-bz10

To be honest the BZ10 is the first machine I looked at really. Does it not fall into the same entry level HX like the Apparamento?

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