Welcome back coffee and espresso lovers, today we’re doing a comparison of three PID-equipped espresso machines with heat exchange boilers; the ECM Technika V Profi PID, the Profitec Pro 500 PID, and the Rocket Espresso Cronometro R with Walnut Accents. We’ll discuss temperature stability, functionality, and more features that you’ll love on these machines. But first, let’s talk briefly about what is a heat exchanger espresso machine and a PID controller, and why it makes a heck of a lot of difference in the result of your espresso.
What is a Heat Exchanger Espresso Machine?
Machines with heat exchange boilers allow you to brew and steam at the same time. This is great if you like to make your latte or cappuccino in the morning before work and you don’t really have a lot of time on your hands to wait for the machine to heat up to proper steam temperature. You can brew and steam simultaneously with phenomenal temperature stability, especially if you love creating milk beverages.
What is a PID Controller?
A PID controller gives you very accurate brew temperatures. PID is pretty much standard on dual boiler machines but until recently there were not many heat exchange boiler machines with PID. Many PID controllers have a built-in shot timer which is a nice touch; this gives you the opportunity to find the sweet spot which is typically between 20-30 seconds for a double shot of espresso.
The controller uses an algorithm that compares the actual temperature inside of the boiler to what your programmed temperature is. Based on whether the temperature is higher or lower than your desired setting, the PID controller will tell the machine to send energy to the boiler's heating element or to stop sending it. On some PIDs, this is indicated by a small dot appearing in the corner of the display. For heat exchanger machines, this keeps brew temperature stable, on PID single boiler and dual boiler machines you can set the exact temperature you want.
Heat Exchanger vs. Dual Boiler Espresso Machine
Heat exchanger and dual boiler espresso machines are often grouped in the same category—both machines give users the ability to brew and steam at the same time. However, there are a lot of major differences to consider when looking through our options of heat exchange and dual boiler machines.
For example, dual boiler machines are a huge advantage and most are equipped with dual PID’s. This means that you can change the brewing and steam temperatures of each boiler and because there are two boilers, each boiler will have its own temperature which won’t affect the other boiler’s temperature. On a heat exchanger espresso machine, you’re only able to control the steam temperature and won’t be able to control your brewing temperature.
Take the Profitec Pro 300 for an example. It’s a dual boiler espresso machine with PID controllers. The PID only controls the brew temperatures, while the steam temperature is controlled by a pressure stat. Non-heat exchanger machines will often include a pressure stat to regulate steam temperature and maintain temperature stability throughout the brewing and steaming process.
Review of Profitec Pro 300 Dual Boiler PID Espresso Machine
What is the ECM Technika V Profi PID?
The ECM Technika V Profi PID is a phenomenal heat exchanger espresso machine with a lot to give, thanks to its updated features including a PID shot timer and stylized team and hot water controls. The upgraded additions allow you to fine-tune your shots and find that sweet spot so that you can replicate the results day after day.
Of course, with heat exchange boilers you can brew and steam at the same time with no wait time in between, making the Technika V Profi PID a solid choice for the office. On busy Monday mornings, you can pull shot after shot without having to worry about the chore of refilling the water reservoir—the Technika V Profi PID has switchable water sources, so you can connect directly to a water line and brew as many espresso and milk beverages as you’d like with no interruptions.
We’d all love a little peace and quiet in the mornings, and with the rotary pump, you’ll get just that. It features a silent operation throughout the brewing process so you won’t need to wake up to any jarring sounds on the Technika V Profi PID.
Overall, this heat exchanger makes an incredible addition to the ECM line and will really impress you with its handcrafted quality and durability, whether you’re using it at home or in the office.
What is the Profitec Pro 500 PID?
The Profitec Pro 500 PID is a classic customer favorite among heat exchanger espresso machines. It features a vibration pump, commercial parts to make your kitchen feel like an authentic and modern coffee bar, and an E61 brew group with PID controls for unparalleled temperature stability. There’s a lot to cover with this popular heat exchanger, so let’s get into more details about why each feature makes this machine a consistent favorite.
The Pro 500 PID distinguishes itself from other machines in its class with its forgiving affordability and it offers users commercial quality and parts seen on higher-end machines. The iconic E61 brew group is a feature many coffee enthusiasts can’t get enough of—the grouphead is constantly heated with water from the internal thermosyphon system for incredible temperature stability throughout extraction.
Now, although the PID controller doesn’t feature an integrated shot timer, you’ll still have control over the results of your espresso by adjusting the boiler temperatures to tease out those elusive flavors and nuances in your coffee, so if you’re serious about your coffee, this is definitely a feature you’ll want to pay attention to, you can’t find this on lower-end espresso machines.
In the end, the Profitec Pro 500 PID is a machine that we inevitably keep coming back to for its reliability, incredible performance, affordability and reasonable learning curve which makes this machine a home run for home or office baristas looking to step up their espresso game.
What is the Rocket Espresso Mozzafiato Cronometro R w/ Walnut Accents?
The Rocket Espresso Mozzafiato Cronometro R with Walnut Accents is a heat exchange machine that’s just as impressive with its performance as it is with the thoughtful design. The machine features exclusive customization by Whole Latte Love, walnut wood accents, on the steam and hot water knobs, the portafilter handle and brew lever. This natural and warm touch paired with the mirror finish makes the Mozzafiato Cronometro R a showstopper in any kitchen space.
Getting into the parts and performance of this machine, like the Pro 500 PID and the Technika V Profi PID, the Cronometro R has a near-silent rotary pump that is pretty much the standard on heat exchanger espresso machines. If you’re familiar with the noise from vibration pumps, then you’ll know just how big of a deal it is to have a machine that can do a phenomenal job without any harsh or loud noise during the process. It also features a direct water line connection so you won’t need to continuously refill the reservoir and a PID temperature controller to adjust the temperature of the brew and steam boilers.
I have to admit one of my personal favorite features on this machine is the dedicated shot timer. Not only is it a great feature in terms of functionality for brewing consistency, but it also blends in seamlessly with the Mozzafiato Cronometro R. This machine is thoughtfully designed with an incredible performance, an earthy touch with customized wood accents, and is well packaged with a pro-barista in mind.
So which heat exchanger espresso machine is right for you?
Well, if you’re looking for a machine with long-term reliability, a forgiving learning curve and an unbeatable price for a heat exchanger, then the Profitec Pro 500 PID is without a doubt a great option. If you’re looking for a handcrafted and durable machine that can work at home or in the office, then the ECM Technika V Profi PID would be a great fit for you. And if you’re really a sucker for thoughtful design, customizable elements, and effortless design and performance, then the Rocket Espresso Mozzafiato Cronometro R with Walnut Accents is your new best friend.