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Profitec Pro T64 review (2016)

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  • Profitec Pro T64 review (2016)

    I’ve just received this grinder from the ever excellent JetBlack espresso - had it about a week, so I thought I’d post up my impressions. There’s not many reviews out there on the internet about these grinders.

    Design/Style:
    The Profitec grinder is based on the ECM S-Automatik 64 (I think.. the ECM was on the market first), but has some significant differences:
    - Profitec has the dose buttons on top (a la Mazzer Mini type A) / ECM has a portafilter button (a la Mazzer Mini type B, Macap M4D)
    - Profitec utilises a portafilter holder / ECM has a pair of forks that will rest the portafilter, but not hold it.
    - Profitec has an anti-static funnel (a la Mazzer) / ECM has a narrower chute (a la Macap M4D).
    - Some other minor differences

    Keeping with the Mazzer Mini comparison for a moment, the dose buttons are on top, on the body of the grinder, rather than how Mazzer have put theirs on the lid of the anti-static funnel. This is great because the buttons can be firmly depressed and aren’t the plastic coated buttons you find on a mazzer. They won’t be wearing down. Ever.
    Also, because the travel of the button is deep, you have far more feedback about whether you’ve pressed or released the button.

    The display and time adjustment are below the portafilter. Having the timer low is good, because it means you can watch the grinds into the portafilter and also the time ticking down at the same time. Why you’d want to is entirely up to you, but at least you can. It’s not so good because you can’t necessarily take a cursory glance while doing other things, but that entirely depends on the placement of your grinder.

    The display has a button either side of it for adjusting the grind times on the grinder, and these are the soft plastic coated style buttons. However, I expect you’ll be pressing these buttons less than the dosage buttons. If however they do stop working - it’s a full replacement of the whole digital display as both buttons are required to open the adjustment menu, so must be fully operational. I have absolutely no concerns about build quality, it’s just an observation.

    The current hopper that comes with the Profitec is a clear coloured ~500g hopper, it is secured by a rubber seal and safety screw. Formerly it was tinted, not sure why they changed - the current advertising spiel says it now allows you to see beans in the hopper, but that seems reactionary to the current shipment IMO. It’s a shame it’s not an optional thing. However, I do like being able to see my beans so it’s not that bad - but for people who like to fill their hopper and might make only one coffee a day - this is a downside in my opinion. The hopper also has the standard tab that you can slide close to remove the hopper containing beans when necessary.

    The hopper lid is firmly fitting which is great. It is easily removed when intended, but doesn’t move or spin. This could change as the grinder gets older. The lid on the anti-static funnel is similarly tight fitting, and fits against the screws that hold the anti-static grid in place. A little odd, but you just need to be a little specific about the way you fit the lid back onto the funnel. Maybe they can make that 1mm clearance for future revisions, but it’s not actually problematic.

    The grinder has a power switch at the back with an indicator light which is great for me, as I can see from my lounge room when the grinder has been left on. If it faces a wall, you probably won’t care about this minor feature.

    The chassis of this grinder is steel - with highlights of quality polished black plastic. The grinds tray is also plastic. I was initially bummed about this, but being a highly polished finish, it matches the grinder perfectly, as the side aluminium panels are attached to similarly polished material. Also as it's plastic, the grinds tray can’t get dinged or scratched up in the same way a stainless one will, so it’ll keep looking premium for some time. It’s also easily washed up in the sink if necessary. The catcher is held in place by hooking under the two front grinder feet, so you need to rock the grinder back to move it out.

    The portafilter holder in pictures on the internet looked a little ‘light on’ compared to the ECM, but it’s absolutely not - it’ll hold your portafilter just fine with no risk of bending (unless intentionally abused). Also, as a small bonus, you can hang a Pullman Barista tamper upside-down from it if you don’t have a tamper stand. The portafilter holder is adjustable - I haven't tried to change it as it fits my ECM portafilters just fine out of the box.

    Operating:
    The grinder runs very well and very quietly in comparison to my previous Sunbeam EM0480 grinder. I can’t compare the noise to other home grinders except the Mazzer Mini and Sunbeam. The Profitec is definitely quieter than both.

    Operating the grind time panel is not intuitive at all, however the manual is clear about how to do so, and actually the process is very simple requiring 2 or 3 presses before you are then able to make the preferred adjustment. The timer is digital (obviously..) and allows adjustment to .1 of a second. There are two values for the two buttons.

    Starting the grinder is a simple case of pressing one of the two dosing buttons. The screen will then count down from your specified time until the grind is finished.
    You can also manually dose by holding down either of the two dosing buttons and releasing once you’re happy with the amount of grinds. This is good for a purge of the grinder, or for topping up an underdosed portafilter.
    I’ve set my first button to 1.8s for purging (and adjusting - see below), and my second button to my preferred time for my daily used stock basket. Obviously, you can do whatever you feel like though.

    Adjusting the grinds is via a worm drive. The worm spins very smoothly and the knob has 3 nice rubber rings on it for a firm grip. This is a design evolution over the ECM grinder that is an all stainless steel knob. The adjustment wheel/cog is plastic, but is so large (1cm thick, 10cm round) that damage would only occur by misuse, not overuse. The grinder should be adjusted finer while operating, and so having programmed my first dose button to just shy of two seconds, it allows me to make the adjustment without needing to hold my finger on the front of the grinder. I think I would waste less coffee this way than if I manually operated the grinder while adjusting. Obviously if you single dose and run the grinder to empty each time, this is not an issue for you and you can adjust to your hearts content.

    The portafilter holder works very well, and again is a design evolution over the ECM, and what mandates the top buttons over the portafilter button variant on the ECM. You can’t just thrust the portafilter onto it, you need to make sure that it’s properly hooked, but it takes all of .25 of a second more care to do so. The one time I didn’t take care, I had grinds all over my bench. Hasn’t happened since, it’s just muscle memory.

    The motor in this grinder is very powerful - you’ll see it in the body of the grinder, as when it turns on as there is just a tiny little jolt in it. The grinder is heavy however, and doesn’t move position.

    Grinding and dosing:
    The grinds pass through an antistatic grid and into the antistatic funnel. I’ve found that the grinds will fall down into my portafilter nicely, and don’t spray everywhere like they did on my Sunbeam.
    Taking off the funnel lid you can see the grounds that didn’t make it through the grid - for people who are single dosers, this might be a pain, but if you single dose maybe your preference is to go about making modifications to things anyway. I don’t know. I don’t recommend making modifications as the quality of the grinds coming from this grinder are fantastic. Purge a little instead if you’re worried about freshness (drop in 2g of beans, run the grinder, drop in your ~18g of beans and run the grinder again).
    I haven’t tested single dosing - I can’t tell you how accurate the timer is when single dosing, but “pop corning” is an issue with this grinder (as it is with most other grinders), so a solution that removes the hopper will likely be something you’d want to implement. You might say ‘why would you want to use the timer when single dosing?’ - for the same reason you’d want a portafilter holder, so you can be detached from the grinder to do something else (like fill your milk jug). It’s a workflow thing.

    Because of either the fact that the funnel is sloped or just the force of the thrust grinds - it will dose a very slight amount toward the portafilter handle, but across the time of the grind it ends up mounding almost perfectly in the middle. I like this as it makes distribution easier. I use a horizontal tapping technique for distribution and have had no trouble distributing perfectly fine. Even if you are the type that just vertically taps the portafilter, I doubt distribution will be a problem at all.

    Rarely do I actually get coffee on my grinds tray, but when I do, it’s about 10 stray grinds. I used a Compak F8 in a cafe over summer and (despite loving what it was putting out) the amount of times I had to clean up my grounds tray I was astounded. Likewise the Sunbeam makes a mess beyond it’s rubber mat, the Profitec no such issue.

    Grinds experience:
    The other day it was remarkably humid here in Sydney. I went to a mates place who also uses a Sunbeam and we tried to make some coffees but his grinder was clumping far too badly to actually pull good shots. In fact, the grinder backed up and we had to give up until he had a chance to vacuum out his grinder. I came back home frustrated about wasting a lot of coffee but not actually drinking any, so made my own at home.
    Out of the Profitec, in the same weather conditions, my grinds were fluffy and well separated, no channeling, lovely pour.
    Obviously, your grind performance will depend on not just relative humidity but how dark/oily your beans are, the age of your beans, how recently you cleaned out your grinder etc. so your mileage may vary.
    This grinder must present a much more suitable particle distribution for espresso than my sunbeam. I say this not because I ground both onto a piece of paper and had a look under a magnifying glass, but because my pours blonde later, my crema is much richer, the texture of my espresso is miles ahead, and the taste is much more delicious. Just an in-the-cup observation, no pseudo-science here.
    I’m not yet at the point where I am a “pro” at dialling in espresso, so I’m still learning how much adjustment a grinder requires for hitting the sweet spot, but I like the subtle changes that are possible with this infinitely adjustable grinder.

    General thoughts:
    It’s really well built and looks fantastic alongside my chrome-box ECM Technika. It’s rectangle look sort of enhances the look of the ECM from a stainless steel cube, to a commanding serious piece of machinery. I dunno. That probably sounds wankerish - but in contrast to a round, poorly finished grinder beside it, everything looks (and so feels) much nicer to have in my home.

    At the moment, given it’s had about 750g through it, my grind time for a 20g double is 7.1s. My hunch is that in a kg more of bedding in, that will drop marginally more. Last week, the equivalent grind time was 8.x seconds, so don’t be dismayed if purchasing this grinder and it’s not super fast out of the box.

    My first experience of the grinder was while my ECM was in for adjustment, so I was making coffee in a Moka Pot. The first cup from the stovetop (for about 18 months) had a metallic taste to it. I couldn’t work out if it was the pot or the new grinder, but the subsequent cups (after a thorough clean of the pot) were perfectly fine. My recommendation (which isn’t in the manual) is to run and purge about 100g through of older coffee, just in case there is any residual metal dust etc. in the grinder. Again, I suspect it might have been the Moka Pot, not the grinder - but just to be sure that’s what I recommend.

    Another down-side is that although it’s got a lovely stainless steel chassis and side panels - they attract fingerprints far more readily than my ECM does. This might be because you’re likely to grip one side of the grinder when making a grind adjustment. Well I do.

    For people who like custom wood parts on their coffee machine - the two lids are able to be swapped out. Maybe the grind adjustment nob could be swapped out for a custom one as well, but I haven’t looked into doing so. Certainly, the worm gear is a separate part, but I don’t know how they’re connected internally. If you're ambitious, maybe even the plastic panelling. Who knows. That's probably a job for Specht Design once you get to that point...

    The size of this thing I was worried about before I got it home, but for it’s footprint, it’s within 2cm in every dimension of the Sunbeam EM0480. It literally takes up as much space as the Sunbeam did. For a 64mm grinder, this is awesome. The grinder is also HEAVY. It’s not going to move. It’s not going to be knocked over. It’s a solid serious piece of machinery. All that metal is also an excellent heat sink, so it’s not going to be changing your grinds temperature any time soon from heavy home use.

    Final thoughts:
    Would I buy this again? 100x over. It's a home workhorse, and craps all over my Sunbeam, and my experience of the Mazzer Mini in the cafe over summer.
    I was also considering a Compak E6 (slightly more $$, nicer electronic features, much larger), and the Macap M4D (slightly less $$ and a little larger footprint). I have no regrets whatsoever - and although I haven't had much experience with those grinders - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this grinder over them.

    My subjective reasons:
    - It's smaller.
    - It doesn't look like a Dalek like the M4D.
    - You don't have to pay more for the premium metal finish. (Not that the Profitec is cheaper than the M4D, just that it's not another decision/value judgement I would have had to make)
    - It's just as fast as the Compak, and it's faster than the Macap
    - It offers the antistatic funnel (or if you don't like that funnel - then just look at the ECM for a funnel-less variant)
    - I like it more, so you should like it more.

    The Macap and Compak are nothing to sneeze at, if they're on your list, keep them on your list and see them in the flesh:
    - Both have 3 grind time settings options, not two
    - The Macap is adjustable to .05s not just .1s
    - The Compak has a much more suited to cafe operation cycle

    Even with these, the size and the look and the user experience, I'd take the Profitec.
    Last edited by readeral; 27 January 2016, 01:54 PM. Reason: spacing

  • #2
    I didn't answer retention.
    I don't know how much it retains and I probably never will, as I've just been using the grinder daily and I didn't want to bother measuring it.
    Does it retain grinds? Yes. Do all grinders retain grinds? Almost. Does it matter? Not an iota.

    Don't let retention be a reason for not buying this (or most other) grinders.

    I know my Sunbeam retained up to 4g sometimes, and that's excessive and did affect my shots - but retention is not a perfectly measured thing anyway.

    If you're concerned:
    Make your milky coffees first for the day, then your espressos. Otherwise, single-dose and make the same mods as you do to other grinders to avoid retention. As I stated above, I'd prefer throw another 2g through before my measured amount if I was single dosing, but I don't.

    I bought this grinder with it's timer so that I could lower my turnaround for back to back coffees. If I'm weighing in AND out then I'm losing some benefits. If I'm making an espresso, I'll weight out, and I'll weight the shot, but I don't weigh in anymore.

    Comment


    • #3
      Also JetBlack are currently out of stock, new stock arriving in February - get your name on the list so you don't miss out.

      Comment


      • #4
        Great review mate and an excellent summation....

        Sounds like you're happy with the "Pro T64"...

        Mal.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Dimal View Post
          Great review mate and an excellent summation....

          Sounds like you're happy with the "Pro T64"...

          Mal.
          Absolutely - tried not to gush, but couldn't help myself :P

          A lot of my satisfaction level is not grinder specific, as you'd expect. Moving from not-quite-adequate EM0480 to a 64mm flat burr has been astounding. The wait for the change was just a matter of cash flow and permission, I already knew what was coming

          Now I'm getting a wonderful mottled shot, tastes delicious, a lot richer flavour.

          Also the second benefit is I'm getting a much better and lasting crema, which makes contrast in my latte art far easier to attain.

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          • #6
            great review. sounds like a pretty good unit.

            Any chance you could post some pics of the burr chamber and throat if you take the top burr carrier out at some stage? Appreciate what you've said about retention, but keen to see what the internals are like.

            Comment


            • #7
              Great review. I've actually been checking out the ECM E64 lately, but this may be a better option. I like the idea of a grind on demand grinder with some speed, unlike the mazzer mini E which is quite slow.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by rynogee View Post
                great review. sounds like a pretty good unit.

                Any chance you could post some pics of the burr chamber and throat if you take the top burr carrier out at some stage? Appreciate what you've said about retention, but keen to see what the internals are like.
                Sure, when I open it up for a clean next I'll see what I can snap. Can't promise my photos will go as deep as you're after, cause I'm not sure how much I can access yet!

                Originally posted by snedden9485 View Post
                Great review. I've actually been checking out the ECM E64 lately, but this may be a better option. I like the idea of a grind on demand grinder with some speed, unlike the mazzer mini E which is quite slow.
                Honestly, they're so similar, it just depends on your workflow. If that ECM badge takes your fancy, do it, but I'm entirely happy with the look of the Profitec by my machine. The ECM has vents on the back which I didn't like the look of, but the badge is prominent there. Another few cosmetic differences I didn't notice:
                - The Profitec power cable comes out of the back panel, but with the ECM it comes from beneath the grinder, so is a bit tidier looking in that regard.
                - The power switch for the ECM is on the right, not the rear.
                - The ECM has the full body in Stainless, without the black accents.

                So it's really down to the style and function. I like resting my portafilter - If the grind quality is a given, the portafilter rest is one of the best parts of my experience. I've not experienced the grind out of the ECM, but I like the idea of the funnel being a positive design evolution, but I can't compare.

                On the Mini E, the dB level - more than the speed - is the killer for me.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yeah agreed on the portafilter holder, thats a great touch. Im not sure if the ECM has the splitter looking thing that breaks up clumbs before entering the chamber like the Profitec does, thats a great feature. I think both of these are much more aesthetic than the Macap grinders IMO, but thats just my preference.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Great review Readeral. Regarding the side panels, they are pretty easy to customize - in the fact that's what the factory had in mind so they've secured them with easily removable screws!

                    charlie

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JetBlack_Espresso View Post
                      Great review Readeral. Regarding the side panels, they are pretty easy to customize - in the fact that's what the factory had in mind so they've secured them with easily removable screws!

                      charlie
                      I wondered why that idea rang a bell when I was typing it... I just went back and found this image and this image on their Facebook page from HOST last year.

                      It's really tempting to do something custom! I'll wait till the warranty period is over

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I recently bought the T64 (along with the Profitec Pro 700) and share many of your sentiments on the grinder so far. I also had only the Mazzer Mini for comparison and like the T64 better too!

                        I'm still very new to this and working at dialing in the grinder...it seems that the range of grind adjustment that is practically usable for espresso has to be a relatively small range on the adjustment collar. With that in mind, I'm curious what setting you started at? I think there are 10 "notches" between each number on the collar...

                        Thanks for any info you might have, and great review btw!

                        Ben

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                        • #13
                          Hey bro,
                          I've got my grinder sitting smack bang on 5 at the moment (if I'm lining it up with the little screw between the two dosing buttons). I'm only 2 notches either side most of the time. That's approximately where it was when it came. Maybe it was closer to 6 than 5. Using stock baskets you might be in the same ballpark as me, but if you're not on 5, I wouldn't be surprised.
                          Al

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                          • #14
                            Also welcome to coffee snobs :P

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks Al That's crazy...I guess the practical range is bigger than I thought - I'm at setting 3, plus 2 notches. I do an 18g dose into the double basket that came with the machine. That gets me about a 1.25oz ristretto in roughly 28 seconds (9 bar). Still tweaking but it's pretty decent - very intense and tangy! Thanks for the info...since there's not a ton out there yet on this grinder, it's interesting and helpful to hear how other folks are using it.
                              Cheers!

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