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Thread: ECM Synchronika or something else for $4k ?

  1. #1
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    ECM Synchronika or something else for $4k ?

    Hi,

    I'm in the market for a new machine. Currently I have a Breville BES920, which I have had a couple months, but the upgrade bug has bitten and I want something more.

    I've just upgraded my grinder to a Eureka Atom, which I'm quite happy with also.

    We make around 4-6 milk based drinks a day.

    For a while I've really liked the ECM Synchronika for the following reasons.

    1. Nicely made
    2. PID with timer
    3. Great steam on the latest version
    4. Good size
    5. Levers for steam and hot water. (Not that I've had much experience with either, but I prefer the idea of a lever over a knob)
    6. Gauges up high
    7. Can be plumbed and comes with kit.

    For around the $4k mark this seems to be the best fit. However as I probably won't have the luxury of upgrading again for quite some time, I wonder if stretching the budget a little further might get me something more..

    Other machines I have considered are the LM Linea Mini, or a second hand GS3, however they are hard to come by at a good price and the maintenance on something like that concerns me. I live in country SA, so it will not be a easy task to get a machine serviced. I'm hoping I could maintain the synchronika mostly myself.

    The LM Mini seems like a nice choice too, however it is very light on features and wonder if it really offers any real world advantage over a synchonika, other than the name. And it is ~$1k more...

    So, is there anything else I should consider ? Profitec pro700 ( basically the same but with knobs) Saves a few hundred $$.

    Cheers
    Jamie
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  2. #2
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    If you don't mind some bling, a lot of tech and a more modern style, you could try the Bezzera Matrix. The Bezzera Duo is the same machine but with chrome body panels rather than the illuminated panels that the Matrix has.

    It's pretty much identical in spec to the Synchronika if you pick the E61 option. The DE variant has Bezzera's own group head.

    I have a Matrix DE and have been using it for a few weeks. I think I still like the feel of the Synchronika a bit more though, it's certainly more traditional. The Matrix just had some more features that I liked.

    There's some good youtube videos that Seattle Coffee Gear did of the machine, worth having a look at.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by noidle22 View Post
    If you don't mind some bling, a lot of tech and a more modern style, you could try the Bezzera Matrix. The Bezzera Duo is the same machine but with chrome body panels rather than the illuminated panels that the Matrix has.

    It's pretty much identical in spec to the Synchronika if you pick the E61 option. The DE variant has Bezzera's own group head.

    I have a Matrix DE and have been using it for a few weeks. I think I still like the feel of the Synchronika a bit more though, it's certainly more traditional. The Matrix just had some more features that I liked.

    There's some good youtube videos that Seattle Coffee Gear did of the machine, worth having a look at.
    Thanks for recommendation. I had looked at the Matrix a while back too. Being a bit of a geek the touch screen is very appealing also. My only concerns are that the machine hasn't been out long, and I wonder how the screen will hold up long term. ( although I bought a robot vac 6 years ago, not expecting it to last, but it's still going strong!)

    So you owned a Synchronika as well ?

  4. #4
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    Hi Jamie,
    Iím in the market as well and have my short list down to the Profitec Pro 700 and Profitec Pro 600 because they both have 2 bar steam pressure !!! Steam pressure is the main reason Iím looking at upgrading.
    The Synchronica is up there but I prefer the Profitecs for looks and also for the valves for steam pressure control.
    I think the Pro 600 will probably win for me for itís smaller footprint and also for its looks.
    Cheers
    Grillsy
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    Is there any reason you couldn't turn the steam boiler temperature up to 134 oC on another DB machine to achieve the same pressure?

  6. #6
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    Don’t over think it. This machine ticks all your boxes and is as good a quality as anything on the market. Profitec Pro, Rocket R58 etc all equally good and it’s really only personal preference that differentiates.

    If you like everything about the Synchronika then get the Synchronika. You won’t be disappointed and waste time second guessing yourself.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilsonj View Post
    Thanks for recommendation. I had looked at the Matrix a while back too. Being a bit of a geek the touch screen is very appealing also. My only concerns are that the machine hasn't been out long, and I wonder how the screen will hold up long term. ( although I bought a robot vac 6 years ago, not expecting it to last, but it's still going strong!)

    So you owned a Synchronika as well ?
    I haven't owned a Synchronika but a fried of mine purchased a new one and I had a play with it for a few hours. I also had a good look inside and the build quality is, as you would expect, very good.

    I have a few small issues with my Matrix so far, nothing major but mainly do do with operation and display on the touchscreen. Being a first generation is a bit daunting but hopefully it works out ok.

    I also am not a fan of lever taps. I'll be looking to change them out for rotary taps as Iprefer the feel, control and look of them.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grillsy View Post
    Hi Jamie,
    I’m in the market as well and have my short list down to the Profitec Pro 700 and Profitec Pro 600 because they both have 2 bar steam pressure !!! Steam pressure is the main reason I’m looking at upgrading.
    The Synchronica is up there but I prefer the Profitecs for looks and also for the valves for steam pressure control.
    I think the Pro 600 will probably win for me for it’s smaller footprint and also for its looks.
    Cheers
    Grillsy
    Hi Grillsy,

    I like the look of the Profitec also. Not that different to the ECM really, unsurprisingly! The Pro700 would be cheaper also, however I'm not sold on the knobs and would still rather the joystick levers I think.
    Although with the higher steam capability perhaps being able to throttle the steam back would be an advantage !? However I really want to steam enough for 2 lattes at a time if possible. And I see cafe machines steaming milk in 5 seconds or so. So maybe it is just a matter of getting used to it. More is always better.

    Too bad the 600 has a vibration pump too. I plan on plumbing in.

  9. #9
    Member Grillsy's Avatar
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    Hi again.
    I have tried a GS3 on full throttle and I couldnít get anything near decent milk and could barely even keep it in the jug but thatís really probably more about my ability than the pressure.
    Turning valves for high pressure seem to be the way to go so you can adjust pressure as you go.
    If you like the looks of the Synchronika maybe you can change the toggles over to valves??
    Grillsy
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  10. #10
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Izzo Alex Duetto, ticks a lot of boxes here

    https://www.casaespresso.com.au/izzo...o-iv-plus.html

    Antony
    www.casaespresso.com.au
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  11. #11
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grillsy View Post
    Hi again.
    I have tried a GS3 on full throttle and I couldn’t get anything near decent milk and could barely even keep it in the jug but that’s really probably more about my ability than the pressure.
    Probably is related to pressure (or rather, steam volume and velocity)...
    Nothing wrong with lowering your Steam Boiler pressure if you mainly want to stretch smaller volumes of milk...

    Mal.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grillsy View Post
    Hi again.
    I have tried a GS3 on full throttle and I couldn’t get anything near decent milk and could barely even keep it in the jug but that’s really probably more about my ability than the pressure.
    Turning valves for high pressure seem to be the way to go so you can adjust pressure as you go.
    If you like the looks of the Synchronika maybe you can change the toggles over to valves??
    Grillsy
    The steam boiler temp/pressure is adjustable through the PID LCD, so I could back it off that way if I find it too much. At least until I get used to it. I'd usually be steaming for 2 x lattes anyway.

    But I can see your point, you can't do that on the fly, unlike with knobs.

  13. #13
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Always best to use the Steam Valves fully open, regardless of the amount of milk being stretched...

    When you use the valve partially closed to reduce flow, this creates a low pressure zone behind the valve that allows the steam to begin condensing from a gas into a vapour and possibly into a liquid. This will diminish the quality of the texturing job you're trying to accomplish. Always best to setup your machine for the volume of milk being textured most often, even if this means that it will be a little bit slower for the less often used larger milk pitcher...

    Mal.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casa Espresso View Post
    Izzo Alex Duetto, ticks a lot of boxes here

    https://www.casaespresso.com.au/izzo...o-iv-plus.html

    Antony
    www.casaespresso.com.au
    I also had the Synchronica shortlisted but after much research decided to buy the Izzo Alex Duetto iv from a member on this site.
    I couldn't be happier with the performance.

    The brew quality from the Alex is superb and milk steaming also gets top marks - with rock solid temperature stability.

    Where the Alex excels is in its build quality that I judge superior to the Synchronica notably in the areas of all stainless steel construction, ease of pump adjustment and ease of service to the twin boilers for draining.
    Oh forgot to mention the Alex has large comfortable knobs instead of levers that in my pinion provide more tactility for steam and hot water. It has a quality feel that makes it a pleasure to use.

    It comes down to personal choice but suggest actually seeing Alex in operation - its hard not to be impressed with the super quiet rotary pump and the quality of the overall package.
    And most importantly what lands in the cup!

    My two bobs worth after months of research
    Last edited by warmtone; 3 Weeks Ago at 05:20 PM.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    from a gas into a vapour

    Mal.
    What's the difference?

  16. #16
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    In simple terms...

    "a substance in the gas phase at a temperature lower than its critical temperature, which means that the vapor can be condensed to a liquid by increasing the pressure on it without reducing the temperature."

    Mal.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    In simple terms...

    "a substance in the gas phase at a temperature lower than its critical temperature,

    Mal.
    So in the situation being discussed, there is no difference between gas and vapour.

    A coffee machine boiler operates at temperatures well below the critical point (about 375 oC at 22 MPa for water).
    Last edited by Lyrebird; 3 Weeks Ago at 07:50 PM.

  18. #18
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're the master mate, so I'll defer to you...

    Mal.
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  19. #19
    Member Grillsy's Avatar
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    Damn this is getting way too techyyy fellas.

    My short list is Pro 600 Pro 700 and Synchronika because of the high steam pressure and Iím leaning towards Pro 600 for the smaller size and turning valves.
    The YouTube vid of the Pro 600 at the factory is impressive.
    Hurry ye up me tax return !
    GR
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  20. #20
    Senior Member rusty888's Avatar
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    Where abouts do you live? If in Perth you can come have a play on my synkronika and atom.

    After I went through it all I went for the synkronika. Just what I thought best suited me. Still love it.
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  21. #21
    Member Grillsy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the invitation but Iím about 3000 kms away so have to pass.

    On another note though, have you looked into getting your synchronika modified for the higher pressure? I know in the US you can get mod kits.

  22. #22
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    Got to have a look and play with a Profitec Pro 700 and the full range of the new Bezerra models.

    Impressions.

    The Pro 700 was polished more than anything else in the store, it really was a beautiful machine. The steam on the new version, not that I compared it to the old, was very impressive. However looking back, I'm not sure if it was set on the maximum temperature or not.
    It was also very quiet. Had excellent cup clearance and in general was finished off really nicely.

    The geek in me bought the Bezzera Duo DE however. The steam pressure on this was indistinguishable to that of the Pro 700. And quite frankly coming from my Breville BES920 was like comparing a kettle to a steam locomotive!
    Whilst it's rotary pump is relatively quite, it was obviously louder than the Profitec.
    The screen looked great, easy to use as were the buttons. The levers also felt nice, and I do love the wood PF handles and levers.

    So I know my choice wouldn't be what the purist would choose, and it is quite different to the Synchonika I thought I was buying. But I'm happy to buck the trend a little.

    I've only had the machine for a couple days, and unfortunately not had much time to make coffees. Hopefully this weekend that will change.


    For anyone interested, here is my rationale for buying such a machine.

    LCD - This concerned me early on. Would this part be available in 10 years if it needed replacing? Would it be durable at all?
    I figured there are a few machines already using this screen, including the yet unreleased Rocket R9. I'll be surprised if a few other manufacturers don't jump on the wagon also. But chances are the LCD is both durable and likely to be available for some time to come. Our thermomix has a touch screen in a similar hot steamy environment, and gets much more use than the coffee machine likely will.
    A little speculative I know, but that's all I can be at this time.

    Proprietary group head - Wasn't sure I liked moving away from the traditional e61 design, however it does seem like a logical progression. I wonder if Faema might have used this idea instead of thermosyphon if it was available 60 years ago ? The design by Bezzera seems smart, easy to work on and possibly quicker to heat. If nothing, it uses less water ( none of course).

    Volumetric buttons not lever - For me I'd rather press a button and concentrate on steaming milk. Plus I like the repeat-ability it offers.


    The only real complaint I have at this time is the cup clearance is quite small, and my wife's bodum glasses don't fit under it!! I don't like them, but it was a little embarrassing showing the nice expensive new toy, that we now have to buy new cups for...
    Oh, forgot to mention, the other thing I'm not mad on are the ridged baskets. A real pain with my 58.5mm tamper. Not to mention trying to get them out to clean.
    Luckily I already have a Pullman basket.

    I'll likely start a new thread in a couple months with updates and impressions.

    Thanks again for everyone's input and thoughts.

    Cheers
    Jamie
    Last edited by wilsonj; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:41 PM.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member rusty888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grillsy View Post
    Thanks for the invitation but Iím about 3000 kms away so have to pass.

    On another note though, have you looked into getting your synchronika modified for the higher pressure? I know in the US you can get mod kits.
    I think for the 2-400 it might cost I canít see the value in it tbh.

    Sure itís no where near a Linea mini but for home use we arenít steaming a whole lot of milk. Mainly for us we use a 350ml motta jug when we do steam milk and only bring out the 500ml when guests come over. It doesnít struggle at the 500ml just a bit slow.

  24. #24
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Beautiful setup Jamie...

    Nothing wrong with the Bezzera propriety Group. It has been around for many years and some of the sweetest shots I've ever had were through one of these, albeit on a much older and less salubrious looking machine.

    Much wonderful coffee ahead of you...

    Mal.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Beautiful setup Jamie...

    Nothing wrong with the Bezzera propriety Group. It has been around for many years and some of the sweetest shots I've ever had were through one of these, albeit on a much older and less salubrious looking machine.

    Much wonderful coffee ahead of you...

    Mal.
    Hi Mal,

    Thank you so much. I'm really looking forward to playing with it over the weekend. Steaming is real fun!

    Cheers
    Jamie
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilsonj View Post
    Hi,

    I'm in the market for a new machine. Currently I have a Breville BES920, which I have had a couple months, but the upgrade bug has bitten and I want something more.

    I've just upgraded my grinder to a Eureka Atom, which I'm quite happy with also.

    We make around 4-6 milk based drinks a day.

    For a while I've really liked the ECM Synchronika for the following reasons.

    1. Nicely made
    2. PID with timer
    3. Great steam on the latest version
    4. Good size
    5. Levers for steam and hot water. (Not that I've had much experience with either, but I prefer the idea of a lever over a knob)
    6. Gauges up high
    7. Can be plumbed and comes with kit.

    For around the $4k mark this seems to be the best fit. However as I probably won't have the luxury of upgrading again for quite some time, I wonder if stretching the budget a little further might get me something more..

    Other machines I have considered are the LM Linea Mini, or a second hand GS3, however they are hard to come by at a good price and the maintenance on something like that concerns me. I live in country SA, so it will not be a easy task to get a machine serviced. I'm hoping I could maintain the synchronika mostly myself.

    The LM Mini seems like a nice choice too, however it is very light on features and wonder if it really offers any real world advantage over a synchonika, other than the name. And it is ~$1k more...

    So, is there anything else I should consider ? Profitec pro700 ( basically the same but with knobs) Saves a few hundred $$.

    Cheers
    Jamie
    I think it is a load of money already and more isn't always better.

    4K should get you a good choice of top machines from ECM, Profitec and Rocket all good makes.

    I paid 2.4k for a single boiler Wega Mini Nova Classic.

    They all make coffee pretty much the same although dual boilers are easier to use but are more complex and expensive.

    If you wouldn't be happy with the ECM Synchronika, I would be very surprised but I could say the same about a lot of machines. These machines from leading makers are all excellent to amazing.
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  27. #27
    Member Grillsy's Avatar
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    Big congrats from me as well Jamie. I bet you have had a great weekend with your new toy. Watch out for new the coffee machine over caffeinated syndrome !!
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    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn View Post
    I think it is a load of money already and more isn't always better.

    4K should get you a good choice of top machines from ECM, Profitec and Rocket all good makes.

    I paid 2.4k for a single boiler Wega Mini Nova Classic.

    They all make coffee pretty much the same although dual boilers are easier to use but are more complex and expensive.

    If you wouldn't be happy with the ECM Synchronika, I would be very surprised but I could say the same about a lot of machines. These machines from leading makers are all excellent to amazing.

    Yes, it is a load of money to spend on a coffee machine. Easy to lose site of that. And I think you are right, all the machines at this price point will be excellent, it's just the finer details/features.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grillsy View Post
    Big congrats from me as well Jamie. I bet you have had a great weekend with your new toy. Watch out for new the coffee machine over caffeinated syndrome !!
    Thanks Grillsy,

    Love the machine, not mad about the coffee I've made so far though!! The milk steaming is a real challenge. I've been trying to steam ~400ml of milk in a 900ml jug at full pressure. The machine doesn't have a problem in doing this, however it is next to impossible for me to get 2 consistent milk drinks from it. ( have to say I can over stretch 400ml of milk quicker than I could stretch and fold 200ml with the old machine!)

    And latte art looks more like pelican poop, or the latte ends up a flat white. Neither ideal.
    I might back the pressure off and try steaming smaller amounts in a smaller jug until I get a little more comfortable with it.
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  30. #30
    Member Grillsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilsonj View Post
    And latte art looks more like pelican poop, or the latte ends up a flat white.
    Aha, maybe you should have gone for the Profitec Pro 700 or Synchronika then for the extra steam P!!
    Half kidding. Just keep practicing. Grab a few Litres of water with dishwashing liquid added and use that for milk practice.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grillsy View Post
    Aha, maybe you should have gone for the Profitec Pro 700 or Synchronika then for the extra steam P!!
    Half kidding. Just keep practicing. Grab a few Litres of water with dishwashing liquid added and use that for milk practice.

    Haha! Actually if anything there is a bit more power than I need. I literally have about 5 seconds at full power to stretch the milk before it turns to frog spawn. That's 200ml of milk.
    The extra power is great for larger amounts, but then that is going to take a bit of practice. And I hate wasting so much milk in one hit.
    I also get 2 goes to get it right with the smaller jug! And I can't pour latte art with a 900ml jug anyway! So I think I'll stick with the smaller jugs for now.

    I'd love to hear an argument for more steam power, but for me right now I think what the Profitec/ECM offers is probably too much.

    Oh, and yes have tried the washing detergent idea, but it doesn't taste as good!
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  32. #32
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    Tip: donít drink the detergent.

    With high steam pressure I think the advantage is in how vigorous you can get the milk whirlpool.
    With my Pro 500 at 1.2 bar I get a decent whirlpool but not a vigorous one. With a 2 bar commercial machine I can get better microfoam (even when steaming only 100ml for a small latte) and Iím pretty sure the vigorous folding whirlpool is the reason. I donít think the high pressure is necessary but itís nice to have and helps a little Iím sure and it also give me a reason/ excuse to upgrade !!

    Milk is always tricky so just keep practicing and you will get it soon.

    Grillsy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grillsy View Post
    Tip: donít drink the detergent.

    With high steam pressure I think the advantage is in how vigorous you can get the milk whirlpool.
    With my Pro 500 at 1.2 bar I get a decent whirlpool but not a vigorous one. With a 2 bar commercial machine I can get better microfoam (even when steaming only 100ml for a small latte) and Iím pretty sure the vigorous folding whirlpool is the reason. I donít think the high pressure is necessary but itís nice to have and helps a little Iím sure and it also give me a reason/ excuse to upgrade !!

    Milk is always tricky so just keep practicing and you will get it soon.

    Grillsy

    Yes, hoping I'll get the hang of it. I was starting to get some good art with the old machine, and it is a little frustrating learning to adjust to the way this one steams. I'll persevere and see what happens.

    On the up side, my breath has never been fresher!
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    Well I have an update. Sadly the Duo DE had a pressure issue. At least it seems that way, or it could have been the transducer. Either way the LCD was fluctuating from 6 to 10 bar while pulling a shot.
    I also had issues with the volumetrics. Most times it was spot on, however a number of times I got far less than expected and another time I had to manually stop the machine as my cup would have overflowed! Clearly an issue, and perhaps related to the above. (When it got it right it was within a gram, which was impressive.)

    Then my LCD got water in behind the screen. Unfortunately this really shook my confidence in the machine, and it's ability to be consistent and reliable. There were a few other issues I had as well, but these were things that worked as they were intended, just not the way I would have liked.

    Ultimately I returned the machine, and the supplier very graciously allowed me to change to a Profitec Pro700. So I am now the owner of one of these!! Only just unpacked it tonight and am like a kid the night before Christmas. Can't wait to play with it in the morning.
    I'll be happy to give a comparison after a few days.
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  35. #35
    Junior Member DB79's Avatar
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    Profit 700 are great machines, regret selling mine. Enjoy your new toy!

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by DB79 View Post
    Profit 700 are great machines, regret selling mine. Enjoy your new toy!
    Thanks mate. So what did you upgrade to ?

  37. #37
    Senior Member rusty888's Avatar
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    Before I post up next week. If anyone is in Perth and wants to purchase a 6 month old synchronika with extras send me a message.

    Considering a change to a linea mini or gs3av.

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