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The experts at Profitec have taken it upon themselves to stay ahead of the curve and release an updated 2022 version of an already state-of-the-art machine, the Pro 500 PID espresso machine.
I was able to take the most updated version of Profitec’s best-selling machine home with me for a couple of weeks to test it out, and I was left very impressed. The featured updates to the PID and pressure gauges were easy to use and understand, even for someone like myself with an entry-level skill set when it comes to using semi-automatic espresso machines.
For those like me who are looking to take the next step and get serious about the intricacies of high-end espresso, or even those looking to take the leap with their first-ever machine, check out my review of the Profitec Pro 500 PID!
As someone still somewhat new to the world of semi-automatic espresso machines, I certainly fall into the “looking to take the next step and get serious about the intricacies of high-end espresso” category of home barista.
That being said, after a hands-on tutorial from one of our staff experts (thank you, Nick Brown), I was able to dose and brew a shot of espresso, then froth milk to make a latte with ease thanks to the accessibility of the Pro 500 PID.
The PID was extremely useful not only in setting and tracking the ideal boiler temperature of 256℉, it was also vital as a shot timer. After a few trial and error attempts, I was able to turn an 18g dose of ground coffee into 36g of espresso with a brew time of 27 seconds. Nick tells me this is a good thing.
Aside from hitting the benchmark times and weights, the espresso shot produced was really good. The strength of an espresso shot from a semi-automatic machine like the Pro 500 PID was also light-years more potent than anything I’ve made previously with my current super-automatic machine setup at home. Additionally, the froth produced with the two-hole steam wand was a noticeable improvement from anything I had produced previously with my super-auto.
From a visual standpoint, the Pro 500 is mostly the same sturdy, sleek and accessible machine that owners have loved since the machine’s initial release years ago. The updated features do set this updated version apart from those before it, however, and the differences are overwhelmingly positive. As I’ll discuss in further detail below, the relocation and redesign of the PID and pressure gauges are well-thought out changes that result in an easier and more visually pleasing experience.
All in all, I was extremely impressed that I was able to go from needing my hand held to set up the machine, to making a latte on my own in the span of an hour. And I attribute the majority of that to how accessible and straightforward the Pro 500 is to use.
For the newest iteration of the Pro 500, Profitec improved upon the PID that was implemented with the previous update to the best-selling prosumer level heat-exchange machine back in 2018. Now, the already accurate temperature control has been incorporated into an external and readily accessible PID that is prominently incorporated into the design of the machine’s housing. Also newly added is a much requested built-in shot timer that automatically begins once the brew lever is lifted.
Profitec also made sure using the PID was a simple and straightforward process. To set the PID brew temperature, press the plus and minus buttons together, then quickly press the plus button and use the buttons to adjust. You should also notice a dot in the display between the first and second digit. When the dot is visible, short pulses of energy that maintain a stable temperature in the boiler are being sent to the heating element. This results in a very accurate and precise temperature system, especially when compared to pressurestats used in older or lower cost machines.
It’s worth mentioning that the temperature you set with the PID is the temperature in the boiler, not brew temperature. For example, PID temperature setting of 256℉ equates to a brew boiler temperature of 256℉ and a brew temperature of roughly 200℉. This example results in a brewing temperature that falls within the ideal range of 195℉ to 205℉.
An additional benefit of a PID is reduced need for cooling flushes. With older heat-exchange machines, a cooling flushes needed to be completed prior to making espresso. With PID controlling temperature in the Pro 500, they are only needed if the machine has been sitting on and idle for long periods, or if you’re running the boiler at a higher temperature to increase steaming power and don’t want a higher brew temperature.
If you quickly press the minus button after pressing the plus and minus buttons to access the settings of the PID, you can set the Pro 500’s ECO mode. When turned on, ECO mode automatically turns the machine off after a set time from last use. Auto-off settings range from 30 minutes to 10 hours, in 30 minute increments. Temperature units of measure can also be set to either Fahrenheit or Celsius via the PID menu.
Another key facet of the Pro 500’s 2022 update is the relocation and redesign of the brew and steam pressure gauges. Located below the hot water valve in the lower right portion of the housing’s front-facing panel, the dual gauge design allows for easy reading of pressure in the boiler and brewing pressure in the hydraulic system during an extraction. Each gauge has also been fitted with black accents instead of the previous white design to coincide with Profitec’s most recent color conceptualization. I really like the color change and think the decision to put both of the gauges next to each other on the right side of the machine to make room for the PID on the left side significantly improves the look and layout of the machine interface.
You can also adjust brew pressure internally using the included OPV, although it’s recommended you keep the OPV at its default settings of 10 bar of static pressure for a maximum pressure of nine bar on your coffee. If you want to change pressure, you can install the included blind filter basket in a portafilter. After installing the basket, run the pump and turn the OPV adjustment as needed until the gauge reads your desired pressure. Once again, keep in mind that pressure on the coffee is about one bar lower during the actual extraction process.
For those familiar with previous versions of the Pro 500, all of the standout features that have made the machine a household name are back. For those not familiar, Profitec has stuffed its best-selling machine to the brim with features like an E61 commercial brew group, vibration pump secured with isolating pump mounts to significantly reduce the level of noise produced, 2-liter stainless steel boiler which is larger than most competing machines, and quarter-turn spring valves for steam and hot water also found on the much pricier Pro 700 that are smooth and easy to operate.
Internally, the Pro 500 features the same organized design with intuitively laid out parts, as well as the ability to route internal moisture from the vacuum relief valve out of the machine to the drip tray.
For those looking to spruce up their setup even more, the Pro 500 is also available with Whole Latte Love-exclusive wood species accent customizations. Upgrade your machine’s portafilter handles, group lever, steam and hot water knobs, and flow control device with exotic and premium wood accents like Tiger Maple, Walnut, Wenge, Sapele, and Zebra Wood.
Flow Control customization is also available to take extractions of specialty coffees to the next level. Flow control offers the ability to customize extractions and pull out more sweetness, reduce acidity, and avoid bitterness. It’s truly the best way to take your home barista abilities to the next level.
Once again, the experts at Profitec have proven their dedication to improving the customer experience when it comes to their products.
Even when it comes to a long-term best seller and customer favorite product like the Pro 500, it’s clear with the machine’s most recent update that Profitec strives for excellence. Updates like an external PID with a visible shot timer and revamped pressure gauges exemplify the overall build quality that’s synonymous with a brand and machine that we highly recommend.For even more in-depth content and information regarding everything coffee and espresso, check out Whole Latte Love’s blog catalog, support center, and YouTube channel. Make sure to also follow Whole Latte Love on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and sign up for our newsletter to make sure you never miss out on any of our new products or deals.