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Tell me why I shouldn't get an ECM T IV Profi

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  • Tell me why I shouldn't get an ECM T IV Profi

    Hi all, I have a green light to upgrade from my somewhat trusty EM6910 the next time something breaks (I'm not allowed to deliberately break it though!)

    I thought I was all settled on an Expobar Minore (tank version) but my eye has recently been caught by the ECM. I'm especially interested in the ECM Profi because of the rotary pump that doesn't need plumbing in (my machine sits on bench that does not have access to mains water). From what I can gather, the rotary is much quieter than the vibe pump on the Expo (both probably being quieter than the rumble-maker EM6910!)

    I know the ECM is a few hundred bucks more (and that one is a DB and the other HX) but I think I can stretch the budget that far.

    We mostly make milk-based drinks but I do love espresso (and the occasional mac). Either way, I know both will be several magnitudes of order better than the Sunbeam but is there a defining feature that sets one above the other or does it largely come down to preference?


  • #2
    Hi RavenMad, either will be a big upgrade and probably much quieter than your Sunbeam, so no problems there!

    Personally reading about temp surfing and cooling flushes on HX machines was enough to convince me the extra $$$ for the ECM double boiler was worthwhile... The PID should help with that though, particularly if you're happy to accept slightly compromised steam performance. I'll note that I'm just repeating what I've read here as I haven't owned an HX - @readeral might post some of his thoughts on the ECM, or you could have a read of his thread on the Profi - particularly this post: New ECM Technika IV Profi Experience.

    A mate who takes his coffee very seriously has owned an Expobar DB for many years and seems happy with it, though I guess having a multi-group Synesso at work probably curbs upgraditis somewhat...


    • #3
      Hi Raven,

      Just break the 6910 (your partner will never find out)..jokes aside, you said you prefer milk based drinks so a db would suit better. I'm not saying the hx isn't adequate but many on the forum will agree that the Expobar Minore has a too good to miss price tag for what it offers. Many call it a category killer.

      With two massive boilers and a steam boiler switch you can't go wrong for the price tag. Also, since you have no intention of plumbing in your machine the vibe pump will do just fine. No point in forking out just for the classy ECM badge and a rotary pump.
      The PID is also thing of beauty and you will love playing around with temperature as a variable.
      The best thing you can do is go to a showroom and play around with both machines. You'll truly know what you want when you put your hands on it.
      In saying that, my choice would be the Minore.
      Best of luck.


      • #4
        Thanks Matt- yes, readeral's excellent post about his experience with the ECM is pretty much what started to sway me away from the Expobar! Read a bit more about it and watched a few YT clips and the rotary pump sucked me in too. Funny you mention cooling flushes and temp surfing - I'm not too inclined to fiddle with temps which is why I thought the PID on the Expo would be a bit wasted on me. I think I'm more of a set and forget kind of guy Also, don't double boilers need cooling flushes too or is that exactly what the PID avoids (by keeping the brew temp relatively constant)?

        Gonzo, you make all the points that led me to the Expobar in the first place I guess my head got turned mostly by the rotary pump on the ECM and, personally, I think she's a little prettier too. (I think I also like the joysticks more than the rotary steam/water valves but that's really just a minor thing).


        • #5
          Hi RavenMad, as Matt pointed out I've written a thorough review on this forum of the Technika, I recommend it as worth a read.

          I'd visit your local site sponsor sooner rather than later so you don't get too many romantic ideas about one feature over another! For example, there are reasons you might prefer a vibration pump machine after seeing and listening to it in the flesh. Also you'll want to feel in person the difference in toggles vs no-crush valves. You can't really read about that and get the full picture.

          One of the biggest shocks to the system might be the manual lever. This thing is entirely manual, so you can't have a preset for group cleaning or shot timing. Some here will say no timer is good, and I generally agree, so if you're happy what going full manual means, I recommend it. Otherwise, ECM have an Electronika.

          Matt mentioned temp surfing of an HX - it's not really an issue in my opinion. Just name it as something you want your retailer to ensure: that the machine will pull shots at a suitable temp without flushing. If it is a problem, your after sales support will sort you out. JetBlack tweaked my machine for optimum temperature at the group while also retaining high steam pressure. Good times. I only flush now after I've released the portafilter to get loose grinds off the screen.

          The biggest reason you shouldn't get a T IV Profi is if you're only budgeting for the machine. This gets people fighting but I honestly believe it, if you have a Breville/sunbeam grinder - you won't make the most of this machine. I got a 64mm flat burr grinder at the start of this year after spending 6 months with a sunbeam. I was wishing that I had budgeted a little more! If you're restricted there, the rotary shouldn't be a deal breaker for you, go down to the vibration pump (they are well mounted in these machines - and if still a concern, can be tweaked by your retailer), maybe even go the Expobar and pick up a good entry level grinder.

          The ECM is lovely if you're aware of the extra costs you'll have to cover up front along with it. I don't wish I had a double boiler, but some like the idea of changing brew temps. If you have a good palate, like espresso nuances and are willing to put in the time (and coffee) to experiment with brew temps, by all means look at the new ECM double boiler. My hunch is most won't make use of its capability.


          • #6
            Rotary is a pretty personal thing. It was a big issue for me at the start, but in hindsight shouldn't have been.

            I wouldn't worry about the milk capabilities of an HX, my Technika pumped out 30 flat whites within an hour on Sunday (plus some espressos). It can milk and extract just fine.


            • #7
              Thanks readeral - yep, as I mentioned above, your great post is what started me down the ECM rabbit hole in the first place! Thanks a lot - I was totally settled on the Expo before reading that! :P

              You've made some excellent points in your post above that I hadn't really considered. I'll definitely go into my local supplier (Adelaide so choices are limited) who I know carries the Expobar but I'm not sure they have the ECM so I won't be able to do a side by side comparison but it will give me a good idea of the noise level of the vibe pump on the Expo.

              Re manual control. I pretty much only ever use the manual pour on my Sunbeam so volumetric controls are not really necessary for me. I've even trained my missus to do the same so fully manual lever control is fine by me.

              Good to know about pre-setting the temps on a HX machine - if I do go down the HX path, I'll definitely mention that before I take it home.

              Ah, budgets. Yes, that may well indeed be the ultimate deal breaker for the ECM. I'm sure I could push the budget to spend the little extra for the ECM over the Expobar but I'm not sure how successful I'd then be spending more on a quality grinder. As you alluded, I am just using the EM0480 Sunbeam grinder which is limited and, to be honest, also on it's last legs so the need to also purchase a new grinder is not too far away. For the same cost as the ECM with rotary pump, my local supplier has the Expobar plus Macap M2M grinder for the same price.


              • #8
                ECM Technika Profi IV is an extremely stable HX. I didn't find any need to temperature surf with flushing when I had mine (it was the vibe pump version) and I was able to check it with a Scace. If I were forced to go back two machines I expect that I would perfectly happy with the ECM all over again!


                • #9
                  I put up with my EM0480, and I got coffees, but I learned bad habits on the ECM by using it (overdosing my baskets, not properly distributing, not properly dialling in my coffees) - so if you think you can secure an upgrade within a set timeframe, you can ride it out.
                  I also managed to coerce JetBlack to offer me a 'package' price on the grinder when I upgraded, and they were good for it when I returned. Quality service that.

                  As kwantfm says, the Profi is really stable. It's a mighty solid machine, and once it's at temp, it's remarkably stable. The engineering on this thing is great. When you buy a machine, the seller will likely want a day or two to get it running sweet, so they'll check the temperature stability and flow rate and stuff then, before you come back to collect it. I caught JetBlack by surprise (didn't tell them when I was coming in until the morning of) which is why a thermosyphon restrictor went in later.

                  The other thing I like about having an HX instead of a double boiler (in my context - because I won't use the features) is that it uses less power. *shrug* What's a perk for me is frustration for someone else :P

                  Bummer about having limited options in SA. I'm not sure there's even a site sponsor down there anymore? If you happen to swing through inner Sydney at any point, I'll let you have a play


                  • #10
                    I have an ECM mechanika vibe profi and its great. Can punch out a heap of brews as fast as I can make them. Vibe pump really isnt that loud IMO. Unless you plan to plumb it in and it doesnt have to be ultra quiet, save the $$$ and go a vibe in my view. You can have an ultra quiet rotary, but chances are that your grinder will be 5 x as noisy anyway!


                    • #11
                      It should be said that your grinder runs for only 1/5th of the time of your espresso machine though...


                      • #12
                        Heh, you guys aren't making it any easier! Which ultimately tells me that I'd probably be very happy with either. Of course, kwantfm and snedden have thrown in a third option - the ECM with vibe pump. This makes it entirely comparable with the Expo on price and still gives me room to get a new grinder at the same time. Might just be the best of both worlds if the vibe pump is not that loud (again, I have to keep reminding myself that it's likely to be a lot quieter than the Sunbeam!).

                        readeral - the Expo can switch off the steam boiler so would save some energy there but, most of the time, I'd be steaming milk too so, yeah, no savings for me there Re suppliers in Adelaide, unfortunately no site sponsors down here (that I know of - apologies if there are!) but Café Services here are Expobar agents so at least I know there's reliable servicing available to me if I go that route. Otherwise, I'll order the ECM from either JetBlack or ******. (I might not have posted here much but I've lurked for years. This site is what has enabled me to fix my 6910 several times over. Steam pump repair and replace, group collar burr fixes, portafilter lugs, etc. Hence, "if it breaks again, you can get a new machine". )


                        • #13
                          Welcome RavenMad,

                          I'm going to throw a spanner in the works. You do not need a dual boiler machine as your brief (milk based) will more than adequately be met by a HX machine, In addition you are in awful water city (where espresso machines go to die). That's also a HX brief. Simpler = easier to fix when something does go pop.

                          You would be more than adequately served by something like a VBM Domobar Junior or similar $2-2.5k HX machine. I'd suggest you start looking there. may also assist you.

                          Cooling flush? Forget about it. It is not relevant to discussions re well configured machines and I for one wish that people would leave that 10 year old skeleton in the closet. It would sure save me a whole heap of time....

                          Good luck with your shopping and I'm happy to provide some pros and cons without sales pitch if you'd ever like a chat. We ship to Adelaide and have warranty and service in place.


                          Last edited by TC; 3 May 2016, 02:55 PM.


                          • #14
                            A few good points with the ECM
                            -very good resale
                            -great aesthetics
                            -solid build quality
                            -portafilter handles are very solid and weighty, feeling great in the hand. I think they are far superior quality to comparible rocket machines etc

                            I don't regret my ECM purchase one big. Very happy with the performance and looks.


                            • #15
                              This thread is hitting a lot of imortant points that will help several buyers with these 2 machines in mind..

                              1. Getting your hx calibrated correctly to not require a flush is a must. When I owned a Bezzera Galatea the flush annoyed me until I got it sorted, even then, I'd take a PID option db anyday due to playing with temps for different beans and to be sure to not have to flush. As readeral said, if you don't care for experimenting with temp to affect taste then it's not a big deal. It's the consistency I appreciate.

                              2. Some vibe pumps are noisier than others. The way they are isolated in the case can make a difference. I love the quietness of a rotary and the option to plumb in if needed one day, but it's not what would make or break my decision to buy a machine over another. I own an r58 and I don't have it plumbed in (only the drainage). My advice is forget the noise of the machine it's not a good enough reason to base a choice on.

                              As for a hx's ability to produce steam, no problems at all. Readeral gave a good indication as to how much steam they can put out.

                              The power savings debate is not so persuading for me. These boilers are insulated very well and a steam boiler comes up to temp rather quickly so on a Minore you could just flick the steam boiler switch off and leave the machine on. Its the group head you don't want to cool down. The steam boiler will be up and running in under 10 mins if you flick it back on. Something to consider.

                              A very important factor to not overlook as already mentioned is the grinder. Don't settle for a lesser grinder just to get a more expensive machine. You'll appreciate making a good grinder choice early. My advice is always get the best grinder to suit you budget, needs and taste before getting the best machine. Grinder upgraditis sucks.

                              Keep the thread going CSers!