When the time comes for you to upgrade your espresso machine from a single or heat-exchange boiler to a dual boiler, the first question you should ask yourself is “which one gets me the most value?”
Well, we already did some of the research for you and have narrowed the results to two high performance espresso machines with amazing value: the Profitec Pro 300 and Breville Dual Boiler.
All that’s left for you to decide is which one you want.
Profitec Pro 300 Espresso Machine Overview
The first machine we’re going to look at is the Profitec Pro 300. If you're interested in a dual-boiler espresso machine at a great value, this is for you.
The Pro 300 features German-made, commercial-grade components with an internal layout designed for easy access and simple maintenance. Copper and braided stainless steel high-pressure lines, as well as a vibration pump that sits on rubber mounts keep the machine running smoothly and quietly while brewing.
With a polished stainless steel exterior, the external layout is no slouch, either. The front panel includes a steam pressure gauge and Gicar PID controller to easily monitor steam pressure and temperature. The PID maintains temperature stability to within a degree of the desired temperature and features a shot timer for more precise pulls. Just as well, the PID controller lets you adjust brew and steam temperatures to pull different flavors from high-altitude coffee while brewing, or get a little more kick while steaming.
Review of Profitec Pro 300 Dual Boiler PID Espresso Machine
We clocked warm-up times of roughly 10 minutes from power-on to brew-ready, roughly 1/3rd of typical prosumer machine heat up times. This is thanks to the brew boiler which is mounted directly above the brew group to provide heat passively as the machine warms up. Steam performance is respectable and the two-hole steam tip is perfect for high-speed frothing, dispensing high pressure over a wide area. The steam boiler can also be turned off when not being used to conserve energy.
Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine Overview
Up next is the Breville Dual Boiler. Breville has once again outdone itself with the Dual Boiler BES920XL espresso machine. By adhering to four key elements — limiting maximum extraction pressure, low pressure pre-infusion, consistent extraction temperature and simultaneous extraction and steam — the Dual Boiler BES920XL consistently and efficiently makes great espresso.
With two user-programmable PID controllers, the Dual Boiler BES920XL delivers precise water temperature to achieve optimal espresso flavor. One PID controller works with the brew boiler, while the other works with the grouphead.
Breville BES920XL Review
Feel free to fine tune your steaming pressure thanks to added temperature control over the steam boiler and a commercial grade grouphead with an embedded element for optimal thermal stability during extraction.
The Dual Boiler BES920XL also has two pumps; a 15 bar Italian pump with over-pressure valve protection that delivers water at an optimum 9 bars of pressure, as well as a 3 bar pump used exclusively to feed the steam boiler. What this means is you won’t experience pressure problems at the grouphead if and when the boiler’s auto-fill function decides to trigger while pulling a shot.
For the coffee geek, there is a user-programmable low pressure pre-infusion feature with manual override that gradually increases water pressure to gently expand grinds for an even extraction.
Also included is Brevile’s patented 58mm twist blade to allow for precise leveling off of your portafilter, as well as a shot clock, pressure gauge, optional auto start setting, top-fill 84 oz water tank and dedicated hot water outlet.
Profitec Pro 300 vs Breville Dual Boiler
Here’s where the fun starts. If you read the overview for both machines and still don’t know which one you want, you probably want to know how they compare to one another.
Don’t fret, we have you covered.
Here’s how the Profitec Pro 300 and Breville Dual Boiler stack up when it comes to a few hot-button topics — Dual Boilers, PID, Preinfusion, Steam Power and Overall Quality.
A major selling point for both machines are their dual boilers. One boiler is dedicated to steaming and the other for brewing. This allows for much better efficiency and output than a single boiler and more consistent temperatures than a heat-exchanger.
The Pro 300 achieves simultaneous brewing and steaming with dual insulated stainless steel boilers. The PID-display allows you to regulate the temperature of the coffee boiler, while the steam boiler can be switched on or off at any time.
Espresso Machine Boiler Types
The Dual Boiler BES920XL also makes use of dual stainless steel boilers that provide precise temperature and pressure control. This will allow you to consistently pull high-quality shots of espresso and froth milk at the same time.
Both machines utilize PIDs, or proportional integral derivatives, to deliver temperature controlled pre-heated water to the boiler at a precise water temperature for an ideal extraction every time.
With a Gicar PID controller, the Pro 300 ensures precise temperature adjustment and control of boilers. It also makes use of an integrated shot timer to give you a live readout of how long you’ve been pulling your shot.
The BES920XL Dual Boiler utilizes dual electronic PID controls, with one controller working on the brew boiler, and the second working on the grouphead, not the steam boiler.
How To Program the PID on a Profitec Pro 300 Espresso Machine
Pre-infusion is the process of gradually soaking the ground coffee in your portafilter before applying the full desired brewing pressure to ensure water evenly disperses and avoid channeling.
Of the two, only the BES920XL Dual Boiler has a programmable pre-infusion feature. The BES920XL Dual Boiler’s pulse pre-infusion feature allows for user-programmable pre-infusion duration and pre-infusion power with manual override, a temperature display and customizable shot volume.
The Pro 300 makes it possible to generate large amounts of steam in order to heat or froth beverages. Within a few seconds, you can prepare milk froth. The 15 amp model heats both boilers at the same time for fast warmup and steam recovery. When you’re finished, the steam boiler can be switched on or off separately.
The BES920XL Dual Boiler has a dedicated steam boiler that delivers instant and continuous steam, as well as a dedicated pump to maintain constant pressure throughout extraction. Added temperature control over the steam boiler will allow you to adjust between 265-285 degrees Fahrenheit for even more fine tuning of steam pressure.
Machine vs. Appliance Grade Quality
In terms of overall quality, the Profitec Pro 300 edges ahead by a considerable margin. Between the stainless steel housing, elegant interior, and impeccable welding, you can tell that the small details are important to Profitec. Because the Pro 300 is a proper prosumer-level machine, you can expect better longevity, reliability, and overall craftsmanship than the Breville Dual Boiler.
For what it's worth, Pro 300's parts are German engineered and the machine itself is hand-assembled in Milan, Italy. The Breville Dual Boiler is factory made in Asia.
Here the Pro 300 wins again. If you've owned an espresso machine before, you know the number one best way to get the most out of a machine is to get one that's serviceable at home. Being able to open up an espresso machine and make small at-home fixes adds years to a machine's lifespan, and you can do just that with the Pro 300. It's easy to get inside the machine. The components on the inside are arranged cleanly and intelligently. Replacement parts are not hard to come by, and we stock them all.
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When it comes to the Breville Dual Boiler however, expect a more difficult time. Home users won't be able to open up the Dual Boiler to replace parts, which means you'll need to send the machine into an authorized repair shop for service.
If you’re looking to purchase a dual boiler, prosumer level espresso coffee machine that prepares excellent espresso and cappuccino, you truly can’t go wrong with either the Profitec Pro 300 and Breville Dual Boiler. But, when it comes to overall quality, you're getting a true prosumer-grade machine with the Pro 300. If you're thinking about getting a dual boiler machine, the Pro 300 has the best value of any true dual boiler espresso machine out there. If you want something easier to use, with optional volumetric drink controls, the Breville Dual Boiler might be what you're looking for.