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  • New ECM Technika IV profi experience

    Well, I thought it was about time that I contributed back to the pool of knowledge here on CS with my coffee machine experience.

    So, thanks very much to the guys at Jetblack Espresso, especially Charlie, about a month ago we acquired a new ECM T IV Profi, with a pretty good deal IMO. We got version with Rotary pump and the switchable tank/mains option.

    The reason I went for this machine over the other machines that Jetblack had was because of it's switchable plumbing option. More on that later.

    This is my first ever espresso machine (aside from 3 weeks of borrowing my neighbours Silvia back in July), and I'm quite new to making espresso, so I can't really compare it to anything else for you. As a new user, I've enjoyed learning how to use it a lot, and it hasn't had any surprising quirks for me to deal with. I've got up my skills very quickly - helpful to have some of your closest friends as coffee professionals!

    Here it is next to my grinder*
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    As far as it's aesthetics are concerned, it's fine. Looks like an E61 machine, it's all subjective really, but the solid aluminium sides bottom to top really do help it to look good in any kitchen. I personally liked the look of it out of most of the available e61 machines out there, but that's just me. Also the portafilter handles are probably the best looking handles on the market in this price range.

    Cleaning it (externally) was a concern my wife had, but aside from cleaning behind the group itself, it's really quite easy to clean. Just use lots of water, no need for chemicals, and dry it off thoroughly, and you won't see any water stains. Obviously, it's easier to clean when cold. Cleaning it internally (backflushing) is also just as simple as any other machine.

    As far as usability goes... when I was weighing up what machine I would pick for us, it was between this machine and a Profitec 500, so I'll do a bit of reflecting on how it is one month on having made the choice we did.

    I'll start with least important and make my way through.

    The manual is fantastic, quite detailed, and actually worth reading. Also available to download on the net, so you can have a read before purchasing if you want to.

    The pressure valves are good, I like their placement. To be honest, I don't look at them often - mostly only when backflushing, and if doing many back to back coffees, the boiler pressure valve is handy feedback to know if I'm running out of steam. I'm thankful that they're on the top of the machine for the way I use it, but I never look at them when pulling a shot (except when I've accidentally run out of water!)

    One thing that sets this machine apart aesthetically (along with a few other machines like the Berezza etc.) is it's levers. I say aesthetically as, for the most part, that's what you gain by buying them. From a user's point of view, one might have a preference for levers over rotary valves, but the levers don't necessarily function any better. I like that I can just push the lever down and it's on, but a few things I've noticed:

    1. The same 'single movement action' to turn a Profitec no-crush valve to on is just as easy
    2. When I was trying the Profitec valves at Jetblack, there was a nice fluid rotation of the valves - the levers do not have this fluid motion. It is a metal on metal action that inevitably provides some resistance, and some feedback to the hand. I'm entirely used to it, it's not bad, but it's different. When I first researched these machines before I touched one, I thought it might be smooth, but it's not.
    3. The levers can sometimes spring back just out of position. Same goes with valves to some extent, and this happens so rarely, but sometimes I might be cleaning up and hear the steam want making a little noise, so I'll go put the lever back into position.

    Much for muchness - I'm glad we have levers (nicer for my wife to use) but I would probably go the no-crush valves in the future. Charlie explained to me that there'd be a bit more work of upkeep with the levers, keeping them lubricated etc. It's no worries to me. Perfectly happy with levers, no regrets, just have more experience with them now for comparison.

    The hinged lid at the back of the machine for filling the reservoir is both awesome and not at once.
    It's awesome, because it means that in my (very) small kitchen, I don't need to have any spare bench space to put the cup holder tray down anywhere in order to fill my reservoir. On the other hand, depending how I've stacked the machine, I still do need to move some cups and saucers around in order to get that lid open.
    However, the reservoir itself is quite large, and so that's not a big deal.
    The hinged lid doesn't always like to hold itself up - ECM could've done a bit more testing on that I reckon, bringing the hinge forward 1mm would have made all the difference, but mostly it does stay open when I want it to if I lift it without any violence.

    The drip tray is large, which is fantastic for me. The way you manoeuvre it off the machine is simple, and if you've not noticed it getting full, you can get away with pulling it out and getting to the sink without spillage. But emptying it every day or two mitigates that issue anyway. It's easy to rinse out, but be careful with the underside of the grill - I cut my thumb on it when it slipped in my hand. Also, expect to get scuffs on your drip tray - that's just how it goes.

    The portafilters are really nicely balanced weight wise, and the look of them is fantastic. I particularly like the spouts being open, rather than closed. Helps me see right when the first drops of crema are making their way out. My double basket prefers somewhere around 18.5g, despite the manual saying 14g. I don't use the single spout portafiler, I just leave the blind basket in there for quick backflushing. Single basket is in the drawer :P
    The baskets are quite good, I haven't felt any need to swap them for VST or anything else. I might possibly look at a ridge-less basket at some point, as I do find that grinds get stuck in the ridge when filled/tamped, and sometimes if accidentally underdosed, when knocking the puck out.

    The rotary pump in this machine makes me very happy. It's so quiet and doesn't send vibrations through the machine. I get that vibration pumps don't have to send vibrations through the machine, but it would need to be well isolated (as I'm sure it is on good machines). The pump on this one doesn't rattle any of my cups, and so it's just such a pleasure to pull a shot. Along with the usual (and very true!) grinder is louder yada yada - I'd still get a rotary pump any day.

    The steam/water wands are no-burn (Don't think they're advertised as such, but they haven't burned me after use!) but still come with rubber sleeves, which I use most of the time. The benefit of the no-burn even when using rubber sleeves is that it is so darn easy to wipe off milk. It comes with a two hole steam tip. Took me quite a while to get used to, but now I'm getting microfoam I'm happy with. Steams the milk before I finish pulling my shot (when using a 400ml jug filled halfway). Again, a simple push up of the lever to turn off the steam. Actually, turning off steam with levers is probably it's strong point as you can do it with almost available body part. The manual suggests having the steam wand in the middle of your milk pitcher - I've found that to be true. The two hole steam tip does all the work if the wand is upright. Sometimes I might move toward the edge of the jug to make a whirlpool if steaming in larger than a 400ml pitcher.

    I haven't paired my machine with a very good grinder yet, so I don't know how good it's really able to get - but the shots I've had out of it have been fantastic. It's quite a forgiving machine I've found. It is able to maintain excellent temperature through the HX, and I have no regrets about buying an HX machine. I first thought maybe I'd like the changeability of a PID on a dual boiler.. but nup. This machine has been fantastic - and I now don't think I would ever make adjustments to a PID.

    Last weekend I took the machine to my church's weekend away. I pumped out about 50 coffees on it across about 2.5 hours of service (5 periods of 30 minutes), and it held up really well. I had enough long blacks being requested between milk coffees that I didn't have any time where the steam boiler was struggling. Having a hot urn right next to me helped with filling those long blacks though - if I'd been filling them from the boiler I'd have had much more trouble.

    I've not had the chance to plumb this machine in. I bought it with the anticipation of doing so - which I will do in the next apartment that we move into next year (Already got it lined up - the laundry is off the kitchen which is perfect for attaching a water filter solution and having the coffee machine on it's own bench). So I can give an update on my experience then!

    Happy to answer any questions, but in summary I'm very happy with this purchase. I would purchase again in a heartbeat, but would probably get the version that doesn't have levers as my personal preference.

    *Clearly I'm kidding. For those who don't know, this is our "German death machine" the Thermomix that would ruin any coffee if came in contact with. This is my wife's comparative expensive appliance that makes me feel ok about buying an expensive coffee machine! Unfortunately I don't own a $2000 grinder - it's a 6 year old Sunbeam instead. Can't wait to upgrade, but need to get the wife's approval first.
    Last edited by readeral; 14 October 2015, 07:24 PM. Reason: Grinder details

  • #2
    Lookin' good there, "readeral"...

    What I've found to be the easiest and most effective method for keeping the gleam sparkling clean, is to use two decent quality microfibre cloths. One damp and the other dry. Wipe down with the damp one first to remove any stains, etc and then immediately polish off with the dry one. Easy as can be and maintains that mirror finish...

    Been doing it this way for many years with all of my gear and it still looks like it just came out of the shop...

    Mal.

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    • #3
      Hot tip! Thanks Mal. I'll get me some microfibre at some point, in the meantime wet cloth dry towel does good, albeit less effectively that microfibre would. (Incidentally, coffee machine moved from that spot for obvious reasons)

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      • #4
        I just collected the same machine yesterday for the offce. It's great. We use it with a Mahlkoenig Vario grinder. Now I can take my Expobar Office Leva home.

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        • #5
          Great review readeral! I'm sure it will be very useful for anyone considering an ECM and/or Profitec,

          charlie

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          • #6
            Originally posted by readeral View Post

            This is my first ever espresso machine... and I'm quite new to making espresso
            Nice machine. 134 posts in a few months. Nearly 2000-word machine review. Fair to say youre a watch, plan, and then jump in with both feet kinda guy?

            Very snob like! - "we don't do things by halves round here"

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            • #7
              And this is the joy she delivers me every day:
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              I have to say, Acme and Co. cups are the bomb! I bought some 160ml 'flat white' cups here in Sydney from Coffee Parts (very graciously split a pack for me so I didn't need to buy 6 and could vary my colours to two mint and two blue), and @Talk_Coffee offers them down in Vic too (or anywhere for postage I guess). I don't hesitate to recommend them highly. Love that the handles are not useless, they clean up so nicely and they retain warmth well. Can't provide comment on the demitasse or cappuccino sizes.

              @WantRancilio10 Yeah that's right, and then some. I usually don't stop researching once I've jumped in. Always things you've missed, always things to learn I've been lurking around CS longer than my membership, so I'm not as fresh as I might seem. Spending much too much time with Andy from Villino and Dave from YB made it inevitable that I'd splurge out all my pent up coffee geekiness elsewhere (read: on CS) once moved to Sydney. My 6 year old grinder was purchased as a promise to myself that I'd get an espresso machine one day - so this has been a Long Time Coming. I'm a measure three times cut once kind of bloke, rarely make final decisions I regret.

              Paired with a new KKTO I'm in deep, that's for sure. Also I just went back to Uni after 7 years out this year. Speaks for itself really :P
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                Nice one! I'm looking to upgrade to a ECM elektronika profi ii through someone at work.. Just need to offload my Breville!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by readeral View Post
                  *Clearly I'm kidding. For those who don't know, this is our "German death machine" the Thermomix that would ruin any coffee if came in contact with. This is my wife's comparative expensive appliance that makes me feel ok about buying an expensive coffee machine! Unfortunately I don't own a $2000 grinder - it's a 6 year old Sunbeam instead. Can't wait to upgrade, but need to get the wife's approval first.
                  My friend's mum is a card-carrying member of the Thermomix cult; when I visited she enthusiastically told me that it can also "grind up coffee beans". Maybe you don't need a grinder after all!

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                  • #10
                    The only reason why coffee beans might end up in my Thermomix is because I mistook them for something else Thankfully I have a deposit down on a grinder at Jetblack waiting for me to get back to Sydney, so no more Sunbeam in a matter of weeks!

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                    • #11
                      I have a thermomix and a coffee machine. Safe to say they work on different ends of the kitchen bench. I don't want them getting near each other and having ideas !!!!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rusty888 View Post
                        I have a thermomix and a coffee machine. Safe to say they work on different ends of the kitchen bench. I don't want them getting near each other and having ideas !!!!
                        Here here for the Thermo and ECM combo! My ECM / Quamar are making their way off the bench as we speak a dedicated coffee station beside the kitchen. My wife loves her thermo (as do I), but the ECM is the king in my house...

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by snedden9485 View Post
                          Here here for the Thermo and ECM combo! My ECM / Quamar are making their way off the bench as we speak a dedicated coffee station beside the kitchen. My wife loves her thermo (as do I), but the ECM is the king in my house...

                          Neither is the king of the house. You haven't met my partner. I ask nicely if the coffe machine is allowed on the bench.

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                          • #14
                            Nice set up definatley one of the best looking machines ever

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                            • #15
                              A very nice and helpful review. I am considering this machine as well. After more than 6 months of use, do you encounter any problem? Thanks.

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