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Profitec Pro 300 User Experience

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  • Profitec Pro 300 User Experience

    I've been browsing and lurking on CS for a while now. I've benefited from some great discussions on this forum and have wanted to give something back to this community. Being quite new to coffee, the best way I could achieve that is in the form of a 'User Experience' post. Hopefully this will help other fellow newbie CSers with their own research.

    Before I begin, have to give a shout out the Brad and Charlie at JetBlackEspresso for the demo and chat at the showroom. There were a number of aspects of the Profitec Pro 300 I wasn't sure would suit my coffee needs, but both guys were patient enough to spend the time with me and help me talk out my concerns.

    Background: my previous machine was a second hand Gaggia Carezza from my father-in-law. For 2 years I had been using it with a Baratza Preciso grinder with mixed results. I learnt a lot from that setup, but in the past 6 months I've been longing for a new setup that would give me consistency, which in turn would help me to fine tune (read: fix) my technique.
    My budget (for machine alone) was approx $2.5K. In addition to temp stability, I wanted a small-ish footprint, quick heat-up time, reservoir (nowhere to plumb in), the ability to steam and brew simultaneously, and solid build quality.
    Other ‘would-like’ features were adjustable brew temperature (for fiddling when I get a better feel for coffees), easy serviceability, and powerful steam.
    Other machines I considered before I picked up the Profitec Pro 300 include, Lelit Mara, Rocket Appartamento, Profitec Pro 500 and the Lelit Diana.

    Design: when looking at photos online of this machine, I wasn't really sold on its appearance. However in person, I believe it looks great. Very simple, clean and industrial feel. It looks great on the kitchen bench without taking up a lot of space.
    There isn't too much branding, which I personally like. The layout is no fuss and works for the most part.
    The machine is quite narrow, which is a good and bad thing. Good, in that it doesn't take up much bench space (so the wife is happy). Bad, in that it can feel a little cramped at times. The no-burn steam wand has good motion, but the hot water tap doesn't move. The hot water tap doesn't line up with the drip tray holes, so just be mindful if you leave the valve slightly open, as it'll drip on the outside of the tray.
    Near the PID display, there are two switches; one for the coffee boiler, and the other for the steam boiler. I’ve found this handy, as there are times I just want an espresso, and don’t need to steam milk. Plus it saves some energy too.
    The brew switch is at a good position at the top right (near the hot water valve). I find it easy to reach up and flick it on/off without really looking.
    The water reservoir is large, so I don’t really check it very often (i.e. every 2-3 days). If I do forget to fill it, it cuts out the pump, and the PID display goes off, so you know what’s up. The tank has got a large opening at the top which makes cleaning it a breeze. The stainless steel water reservoir cover has two holes in it (to allow you use two fingers and lift it up) which can allow stray coffee/dust to fall into the reservoir. Not a big deal; you just cover it with cups/saucers.
    The drip tray is big and deep enough; holding easily over 500mL. It slides off easily (i.e. without catching on anything) so it won’t spill, even if you forget to empty it and the water close to the rim.

    Build quality: when playing with other machines in the showroom, I was very impressed with how solid this little machine is built. Despite being a vibratory pump, there isn't really much that rattles (unless you pile cups on the cup warming area). It's very quiet, but don’t expect it to be anywhere near as quiet as the rotary pump in the Pro 700.
    It's a solid and weighty machine, but when locking in the PF, I still use my other hand to brace the top left corner of the machine to ensure it doesn't move on the bench top (this may be partially out of habit coming from the Gaggia). May look at getting a silicone gasket when this rubber one needs replacing, to make the PF locking in less of a tight fit.

    Heat-up: it's quick. Really quick. Coffee boiler is up to temp in under 3 minutes. Steam boiler is probably another 3-5 minutes. However, the ring group and PF are not properly hot for another 5-7 minutes. So realistically you aren't pulling shots for at least 10-12 minutes after powering on. All that being said, it's still very quick. I find this extremely handy when you have unexpected guests drop by and you want to make them a quick latte. Or when you feel like an afternoon pick me up.

    Brewing: I was worried about not having pre-infusion with this machine. I know it shouldn't bother me, because I survived without it on the Gaggia. But I have 'fear of missing out' when it comes to features on espresso machines. And not having an e61 group pre-infusion had me a little worried. After a month of usage, that worry has gone. As long as I redistribute properly and tamp evenly, I don't have any weird channelling or spurting from the bottomless PF. And the coffee tastes great (the most important thing! ). I haven't experimented with temperature a great deal. But I like to think when I'm less newb, having that option to adjust temp will be nice. For the time being, it's reassuring seeing that number on the display, knowing I don't need to temp surf.

    Steaming: this was one of my bigger concerns. The steam boiler is not that large (from specification). I found it steams a 400ml milk jug just fine (a lot quicker than the Gaggia); this is using the stock 2 hole steam tip. I know some people have used a single hole tip to boost the steam velocity(?). I don't see a need for that just yet. 600ml jugs are doable, they just take a while. The pressure never drops below 1 bar, and the auto refill doesn't kick in until after you've finished steaming which is nice. I've never had to wait on the machine to come up to pressure. It's always waiting on me.

    Other Comments...
    • I love the PID display that turns into the shot clock. So handy. My scales have a timer in it, but it's really handy to glance at the display after a shot, to see the time.
    • The release valve outlet on my machine doesn't point directly down; it's pointing at 7 o'clock (when facing machine). So when back flushing, water misses the drip tray hole and can run down the back of the tray under the machine. I’ll admit I haven’t attempted to fix this and rotate the outlet back to the 6 o’clock position… yet. I might just get JetBlack to sort it out with the next service.
    • There is one gauge for steam pressure, but no gauge for brew pressure. I didn't have one on the Gaggia so I don't really miss the brew pressure gauge. I guess it would be handy to troubleshoot pump issues(?). But I trust JetBlackEspresso bench tested and set it up appropriately, so I’m not bothered by it.
    • The valves are not sprung, but they are still very nice to use. I personally like the size of the steam/hot water knobs and find them easy/enjoyable to use. I figured as long as I don’t over tighten them, shouldn’t have any issues.
    • The cup warmer doesn’t get that hot. This is probably because the machine heats up so quick, there really isn’t time for the cups to get hot. The Gaggia didn't have one, so I'm not sure how long its supposed to take to get the cups hot. This is easily solved with the hot water tap (just fill the cups with hot water to pre-warm them), which allows regularly draining of the water in the steam boiler, which in theory helps with reducing scale (win-win?)
    • I’ve read on other forums, that following a brew, the PID temperature climbs pretty high, as the heating element kicks in to heat-up the freshly pumped in cooler water. I have noticed an increase in temp (i.e. PID set at 95C, climbs to 97-99C after a 35sec brew). However, as long as the machine is left for at least 10-15 min to warm-up, the PID reads a pretty consistent temperature during and following a brew.

    Wrap-up: I’m having a lot of fun with the Pro 300, and it's a definite step-up from my old machine when it comes to the routine of making coffee, as well as the enjoyment when drinking the coffee.
    Would I buy this machine again? Yes, for sure. I believe it offers a lot of features with solid build quality, at a very reasonable price (relative to full-blown e61 dual boilers). The lack of some premium features (sprung valves, rotary pump, dual gauges), should not deter you from looking at the Pro 300. In my opinion the Pro 300 gives you more than enough information on display to know when the machine is ready to pull shots or steam milk; and as I mentioned earlier, I have never been waiting on the machine in between making drinks... It’s always the other way round.

    I’ll probably pop back here at the 6-12 month mark to give more feedback after spending more time with the machine. Until then I’m happy to answer any questions or queries… and thanks for reading this far!

  • #2

    Couldn't figure out how to post a photo using my PC. So had to do it on my phone.


    • #3
      Thanks for taking the time to write up your experience suvartet,