It’s one of only a few prosumer level domestic espresso machines capable of true line pressure pre-infusion. It operates with best-in-class steaming power. It features top quality components engineered for superior reliability. It gives you the capability to take your espresso to the next level.
Hey espresso lovers, Marc here from Whole Latte Love. Join me now for an in-depth look and review of the Profitec Pro 700. Coming up I’ll have all the details on one of the most respected dual boiler, plumbable espresso machines on the market. I’ll have results of performance testing, take you inside the machine, and cover component and capability upgrades found in the latest edition of the Pro 700. Plus, we’ll look at a water filtration setup to protect any plumbable machine that, on the Pro 700, gives you the ability control pre-infusion pressure. If that’s not enough, we'll look at a couple of machines with similar specs that are worthy of your consideration.
A lot to cover here. This blog is on the long side but, if you’re going to invest in a machine like this I want you to know as much possible before you pull the trigger on a purchase.
So, a little background on the Pro 700, It came out in 2014 and since its release, it’s been a top selling machine and over the last five years it’s only gotten better.
I know a lot about this machine. I’ve been using it since it’s release. In fact, my daily driver in the studio here for the last three years is this Pro 700. The latest version has a few cosmetic upgrades and a few very notable upgrades under the hood.
The Pro 700 is a dual boiler machine with PID temperature control of both boilers. The steam boiler is 2 liters and the brew boiler is .75 liters. It’s plumbable or reservoir-fed with a smooth and quiet rotary pump. The E61 group has Profitec’s latest design with a single top nut and stainless steel mushroom valve. With components like the steam boiler vacuum relief valve routed to the drip tray, there’s no internal moisture venting. The Pro 700 has an automatic shot timer and a bunch of new capabilities via the PID control. It has massive low-wear sprung valves on the steam and hot water taps. Perhaps most impressive, a steam boiler which cranks out up to 2 bar of pressure for best-in-class steaming power. It’s an innovation we worked closely with Profitec on to bring to market in some of their recent machines.
We visited their production facility outside Milan, Italy last July for a look at what’s new. At our urging, Profitec and sister company ECM were first to market with domestic prosumer level machines running steam boilers at about 2 bar of pressure. You can have that bump in steam performance not only in the Pro 700, but also in the ECM Synchronika and the Pro 600, which is Profitec’s compact, dual boiler, non-plumbable, vibration pump machine.
Now, that’s true commercial level steaming power, blowing away the typical 1.2 or 1.3 bar you have on most prosumer level machines.
To get an idea of just what that means here are some test results.
On the Pro 700 it took about 20 seconds to steam 6 ounces of milk from 45° to our preferred finish temperature of around 140°. That means if you start brewing and steaming at the same time you’ll be done frothing before your shot is finished. That 6 ounces of milk is plenty for a large latte or a couple of cappuccinos.
Following 20 seconds of steam output it was about 6 seconds for the boiler to fully recover. So the Pro 700 is ready to steam and brew again before you could wipe and purge your wand. All that steam runs through a stock two hole tip which produces a vigorous roll.
For a deeper look at the steam power I fully opened the steam valve and let it run for 60 seconds and had some stunning results. At 15 seconds, boiler pressure was 1.7 bar. At 30 seconds it was over 1.6 bar. At 45 seconds it was just under 1.6 bar. Finally, I finished at 60 seconds with boiler pressure at about 1.5 bar. That’s more pressure than most machines have before you start steaming. Very impressive.
Also impressive was recovery. After running 60 seconds of steam wide open it was just 16 seconds for the machine to return to about 2 bar of pressure and 270° in the boiler. If you are a fan of milk drinks, you’re gonna have to go three times the price for a straight out commercial machine to get better frothing performance than on Pro 700 or the ECM Synchronika, which has the same boilers and specs.
Now, if you happen to have an older Pro 700 or Synchronika, you can get the increased steaming performance by installing a PID upgrade kit. The kits, which can be found here and here, includes a new PID controller and pressure relief valve for the steam boiler. It’s relatively easy to install and you can use the link here to see our video which shows you how to install the parts. If you’re not sure if your machine already has the upgrade, you can check by setting your steam temp, that’s T2 on the controller. If it goes to 270° Fahrenheit, then your machine already has the upgrade.
A couple of other new features on the PID controller include a backflush reminder and an Eco Mode which automatically turns off the boilers. To set these, press the plus and minus buttons simultaneously, then press the minus button quickly to cycle thru, and press the plus button to start changing the settings. The backflush reminder can be set in 10 brew cycle increments up to 200 cycles. The Eco Mode will turn off the boilers anywhere from 30 minutes to 10 hours after turn-on and is settable in 30 minute increments.
So, I’ll get to the brewing and pre-infusion capabilities of this machine in a minute. But first a look at some upgrades and changes from previous versions of the Pro 700.
A big one is a new design for the mushroom valve of the E61 group. It’s now a single nut instead of two with the center top converging to a soft point. Beyond the cosmetics, the valve is made of stainless steel now. Inside some E61s you’ll find a chromed or ceramic mushroom valve. The chromed valves tend to be more susceptible to scaling and pitting, while the ceramics are brittle. While not common, our repair center has serviced machines with cracked ceramic mushroom valves.
Up front, there are new, more stylish knobs for steam and hot water for controlling those easy to operate, low-wear sprung valves. Just a quarter turn from closed to fully open and because the spring does the work, you don’t have to crank on them. The badge plate has been reduced in size, and gauges are bigger at 2 ½ inches wide and have more subtle black backgrounds replacing what used to be white.
The drip tray is large and pre-drilled with a hole to empty into the included collection cup underneath for routing to a permanent drain if you’d like to do that. This is something I suggest doing if you’re going to plumb this machine. If not using the drain, a screw with a gasket on it seals up the hole.
Now, one place I always check to get an idea of casework quality of espresso machines are the interior corner seams of drip trays. The seams on the Pro 700 are well finished with no visible marks. If a manufacturer does this level of finish in relatively hidden areas it’s a good indication you’ll find high-level craftsmanship elsewhere. This is true for the Pro 700, as all exposed metal seams are fully wrapped and edge finishing and polishing is of impeccable quality.
The drip tray rests on stainless slides to protect the frame from scratching. Underneath the drip tray are slots for the included backflush disk and storage of an extra steam tip. Profitec has gotten a little more into the branding with “P’s” now cut into the drip tray grate and cup riser. Behind the drip tray, there are two switches. The one on the left tells the machine if you are running from the reservoir or a plumbed connection and the switch to the right turns off the steam boiler.
The steam and hot water wands are insulated. For steaming, this helps reduce internal condensation and produces a dryer steam. For both wands, this helps keep the outside cooler and reduces the chance of accidental burns.
The overall height of the Pro 700 is 16 ½ inches, but can be reduced to 15 ¼ inches by taking off the removable cup rail if your overhead clearance is tight. Underneath the cup warming tray there’s a 3 liter removable water reservoir. But hey, this is a plumbable machine - so do yourself a favor and plumb it to take full advantage of it’s pre-infusion capabilities. I’ve got to say, that if you’ve been using a reservoir fed machine, once you go plumbed you’ll never want to go back.
Regardless, if you're going plumbed or reservoir it’s important to feed your machine with quality filtered water. It improves espresso flavor and can significantly reduce or eliminate descaling maintenance. For a plumbed machine our recommended solution is the BWT Bestmax Filter Package, which includes a pressure regulator and an optional flow meter which will tell you when it’s time to change the filter. Beyond standard particle and activated carbon filtration, the BWT Bestmax Premium Filter uses patented ion-exchange technology which removes scale-causing calcium and replaces it with magnesium. This process maintains the mineral level required for the best flavor while preventing scale build-up by reducing calcium.
The adjustable pressure regulator is used to reduce household line pressure, which is typically in the 4 to 6 bar range, to the 2 bar pressure recommended by Profitec. It also lets you take full advantage of the Pro 700’s pre-infusion capabilities.
Let’s take a look at how that works. On most plumbed-in machines there’s a solenoid valve on the plumbed-in connection which closes off line pressure to a machine unless the pump is running. On the Pro 700, the machine is always open to line pressure even when the pump is not running. So, lift the lever of the E61 group until just before the pump comes on and line pressure pushes brew water all the way to the coffee without the pump running. Now if you like, you can use the pressure regulator to adjust your pre-infusion pressure. You can set the pressure anywhere you like. It’s a pretty slick setup and allows you to do those long, low pressure pre-infusions like you can on full commercial machines that can run three or more times the price of this one.
So what’s the deal with pre-infusion? Well a few thoughts on that. First, it swells the coffee and helps to prevent channeling thru the puck. After that, it depends on the coffee used to some extent, but the general thought is pre-infusion helps pull out more flavor without over-extracting the coffee. So potentially, you can have richer, smoother, and sweeter espresso without things going bitter.
Let’s go inside the machine for a look at the components. I’ve used and been inside most domestic machines currently available in the US, and what stands out for me about Profitec and ECM machines in general is thoughtful, simple, and reliable engineering. They are laid out well with electronic components isolated from heat and moisture with shielding and high-quality insulation jackets on the boilers. They pay attention to where wiring is routed in relation to heat sources. They do things like vent the vacuum relief valve to the machine’s drip tray. In other machines without that, every time the steam boiler heats up some moisture is released internally. They use quality components like a one piece chassis front to back and solid accessible boiler mounts. The hydraulics are routed well with no crazy bends, and there are tiny things you’ll likely never notice, but can make a big difference in future serviceability.
For a grinder which pairs well with this machine have a look at the Profitec Pro T64 (pictured above with the Profitec Pro 600). It’s a 64 mm flat burr grinder, nearly identical in overall height to the Pro 700, complimentary styling, and has a powerful 450 watt motor. Worm gear adjustment allows for super precise control of grind size, that worm gear is an increasingly popular setup and we’re starting to see it on grinders from other manufacturers. The T64 has two timed grinding presets and a dosing funnel which accurately distributes fluffy grinds to your portafilter.
If you want to soup up the T64, optional titanium coated burrs are not only strikingly beautiful (too bad you can’t look at them while they’re doing their thing), but they have a slightly steeper cutting angle for faster and more precise grinding and have three times the lifespan of the stock burrs. They’re rated for better than 2,600 pounds of grinding. I did some quick math and that’s a pound a week for 50 years before replacement.
The nice thing with that? Feed the Pro 700 with good water and do proper maintenance and it can be making coffee in 50 years as well.
Now, if you’re interested in the Pro 700, a couple of other machines to look at are Profitec’s Pro 600 and sister company ECM’s Synchronika. The Pro 600 is a compact, dual boiler, reservoir only machine with vibration pump. It has the same 2 bar of steaming pressure as the Pro 700, but makes it in a smaller 1 liter steam boiler. The Synchronika has identical internal components and specs as the Pro 700. It takes things a step-further with lever operated valves, angled portafilters, a tapered E61 group, a unique solid black anthracite base, and additional styling touches.
If you have any questions on this machine or anything coffee, use those comments and I’ll get you a detailed answer, or you can talk to one of our coffee pros by phone, chat, or email. I’m Marc, thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll c’mon back soon for more of the best on everything coffee brought to you by Whole Latte Love.