The Profitec Pro 400 is a heat exchanger espresso machine that packs some serious punch. With multiple temperature settings, disclets that let you add a pop of color to the face of your machine, the option for pre-infusion, and more, Profitec managed to fit a lot of features into this compact machine. Profitec also kept the price reasonable for an entry-level prosumer, and it offers many of the same features as espresso machines a few hundred dollars more expensive without sacrificing quality. I got the chance to take home a Pro 400 and test it out, and I personally loved brewing on it. Read on to learn more about my experience brewing with this espresso machine.
About the Pro 400
The Pro 400 is a heat exchanger espresso machine, which means that although there is only one boiler, you can still brew and steam at the same time. The boiler on this espresso machine is made of stainless steel and has a 1.6-liter capacity, which is enough that you won’t find yourself running out of steam power too quickly. On top of that, the heating element is also made of stainless steel, so it offers even heat distribution as well as durability. When paired with the E61 group, the Pro 400 allows for a high level of temperature stability so you can be sure that you’re brewing consistent shots with your machine.
Profitec thought of all the small details that bring this machine to the next level as well, including a removable cup tray, a cut out under the drip tray for your blind filter, and dual pressure gauges on the front of the machine. These features won’t make or break a machine as being the best out there, but it shows the attention to detail that Profitec paid to even their most affordable entry-level machine.
When it comes to aesthetics, the Pro 400 has a classic brushed stainless steel body that will look great in most kitchens. In addition, you also have the choice of four different colors of interchangeable disclets for the steaming and hot water knobs. You can choose from blue, yellow, green, or red to match your kitchen (or just your mood). I found that the blue disclets matched my kitchen pretty well and added a little extra something to the look of the machine on my counter.
What makes the Profitec Pro 400 really stand out is the rocker switch, which lets you toggle certain modes on the machine as well as choose from three different temperature settings. You can choose to set your machine to 248°F, 255.2°F, or 262.4°F, and you can also use the switch to turn on the pre-infusion feature or ECO mode. Even though the Pro 400 isn’t equipped with PID temperature control, these temperature pre-sets show that you’re still getting a high level of temperature stability and reliability that will make it easy to get the same setting every time you brew.
Brewing with the Pro 400
I moved recently, and I ended up falling out of the habit of brewing a morning espresso on the Gaggia Classic Pro that I was previously borrowing from the office. But once I got the Pro 400 home and started using it, I ended up completely renewing my morning espresso routine. I find myself getting overwhelmed at times with all of the options for customization on some of the double boiler prosumer espresso machines that I’ve tested out, but the Pro 400 eliminates that overwhelming feeling while still letting you play with some settings.
I tried brewing both with and without the pre-infusion feature toggled, and I did enjoy both ways. I will say that there were a few times that I probably could have tamped more evenly, and I did notice a decrease in channeling when I used the pre-infusion feature. Turning on the pre-infusion mode does seem fairly involved at first since there are a series of switches you have to hit in order to get the pre-infusion feature to turn on, but the instruction booklet makes it very easy to follow the directions. There are both written instructions and clear diagrams, and I had no trouble at all turning on the pre-infusion. The ECO mode has very similar seemingly-complicated instructions, but they were also very easy to follow in the end.
The different disclet color options on the Pro 400.
I really like the design on the Pro 400 – having a separate hot water wand aside from the steam wand is very convenient as someone who loves to brew a cup of herbal tea at night. The steam power is also impressive, and I was able to quickly steam milk while brewing my espresso shot to allow for a quickly constructed latte that kept my morning flowing. As someone going from using a single boiler as my daily machine to this heat exchanger espresso machine, this was the feature that I noticed (and appreciated) the most.
When it comes to size, you aren’t going to see many other espresso machines that offer the same level of power and features in such a small package. At just 8.9 inches wide, 17.6 inches deep, and 14.6 inches tall, it’s able to fit in most residential kitchens with no problem. I, of course, have one of the kitchens where it may be a slight problem. The average space between a countertop and the upper cabinet is around 18 inches, while the space between the counter and cabinets sits right at 14 inches. Despite this not fitting on my regular counter space, I was able to easily make room for it on a separate shelf with additional counter space in my kitchen since the overall size of the machine is so much narrower than the average prosumer.
One thing I noticed that may make the Pro 400 a little inconvenient if it’s placed under an upper cabinet is that the water reservoir is in the back of the machine. This means that you will likely need to pull the machine out in order to refill the reservoir, though you won’t be doing that often with the 2.8-liter reservoir on this espresso machine. I used this machine for near-daily brewing for weeks when I decided to top off the reservoir, and I found I probably could have gone another week before refilling it. There is an automatic shut-off built into the machine when the water gets too low, so you wouldn’t need to pull it out to check the water level very often, just to refill the reservoir.
The reservoir is accessed by removing the cup warming tray, which slides out very easily. The cup warming tray also does a great job living up to its name – I found that once the machine is up to brewing temp, the cups on top were a nice temperature to brew into. This is especially helpful if you like a nice hot shot of espresso that doesn’t start cooling as soon as it hits your cup. In fact, when I was making iced drinks I had to make sure I didn’t have my cup on the cup warming tray so that my espresso would be a little cooler once it went into my glass.
Brewing with the Pro 400.
The only difficulty I really faced while brewing with the Pro 400 was the width between the spouts on the double shot portafilter. They’re far enough apart that it wasn’t possible to brew into one espresso cup, so I had to use two or a cappuccino cup to brew into instead. While this isn’t a huge issue and was very easy to work with, it was something I noticed as a difference from some other machines I’ve tried out. You also can’t place a full-sized mug and an espresso scale under the spout since it has a clearance of 3.5 inches, so you’ll want to stick with shorter espresso cups or mugs when brewing.
Overall, I really enjoy using this espresso machine. The Pro 400 is not only stylish, it’s thoughtfully designed with the home barista in mind with features that make it easier to use without an overwhelming amount of options for customization. If you’re looking for a machine that can easily fit into your kitchen and your morning routine, the Profitec Pro 400 heat exchanger espresso machine is a wonderful choice.
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