Profitec Pro 300 Review: The Best Affordable Double Boiler?
If you’re ready to upgrade to a dual boiler but not sure you have the space or budget, you’re in luck. You don’t need to drop thousands of dollars or carve out a dedicated espresso nook in your kitchen! Instead, you can buy the Profitec Pro 300. It’s as small as most compact heat exchanger espresso machines and priced even lower!
So is there a catch? That’s what we set about to discover. Read this review to see what we found and whether this semi-automatic espresso machine might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Summary: The Profitec Pro 300
- Affordable and compact dual boiler semi-automatic espresso machine
- Suitable for specialty coffee due to high-end Gicar PID control of temperature
- Very durable thanks to intelligent engineering and incredible quality of manufacturing
The 300 has a very simple, non-traditional look, but it has a minimalism that really matches well with modern decor. The quality of the finishing really makes the simple design work.– Deepak K., Customer
A Full Review of the Profitec Pro 300
The more you get into specialty coffee, the more you realise the importance of brew temperature stability when it comes to getting the best out of your coffee beans. Just ask the pros at Nuova Simonelli (1).
Even small fluctuations in water, group head, and steaming temperatures can cause varying extraction yields and flavour profiles.
And if you want the ultimate temperature accuracy and precision, you want an espresso machine equipped with a PID.
If you’re ready to invest in this crucial upgrade but don’t want to break the bank totally, then pay close attention to this Profitec Pro 300 review. Though it’s a dual boiler semi-automatic with a PID for brew temperature, the Pro 300 is Profitec’s least expensive and most compact model.
In this article, I’ll also put the Profitec Pro 300 in context with its biggest competitors, the Rancilio Silvia Pro and the Lelit Elizabeth, to help guide your decision. These are also compact dual boilers with a PID in a similar price range.
Ready? Let’s dive into the details.
Brewing Capacity – 4/5
The Profitec Pro 300 is a dual-boiler semi-automatic espresso machine. Both boilers are stainless steel, and both have a high-quality insulating wrap to improve energy efficiency and temperature stability. Stainless steel is increasingly popular as a boiler material due to its durability, reasonable price, and excellent heat properties. It’s a step up from the Elizebath’s brass coffee boiler.
The boilers are small, but that’s why the Profitec Pro 300 espresso machine is so compact and affordable. Even so, you can expect to be able to prepare four or five drinks back to back before it needs time to recover, which is plenty for the average home user.
The brew boiler measures 0.3 L, controlled by PID, which yields an accurate brew temperature with minimal fluctuations. Impressively, in testing, it was found to deliver hot water within 1 degree Fahrenheit of the set temperature, just what you need to experience the perfect cup of coffee (2). For reference, both the Silvia Pro and the Elizabeth have the same brew boiler with a PID controller.
The steam boiler is just over twice the size at 0.7 L, and pressure stat rather than PID controls it. Compared to the brand’s bigger and pricier models, this is the most substantial difference. For example, the Profitec Pro 600 has a 1 L steam boiler, and Profitec’s largest model, the Pro 700, has a 2 L steam boiler.
The impact of the smaller boiler is simply that it’ll take a bit longer to prepare your cappuccino, and you’ll have to wait for it to recover after making a series of drinks in a row. But significantly, it won’t affect your drink’s quality. It’s all about determining how much capacity you want to pay for.
Compared with the Silvia Pro and the Elizabeth, the former has a slightly larger 1 L steaming boiler, and the latter is slightly smaller, at 0.6 L. But the Elizabeth is programmed such that it reaches higher pressures.
A big advantage of these machines with small boilers is that they heat up very fast, aside from their low price and compact footprint.
While the biggest models can easily take up to 45 minutes to come to temperature, the Profitec Pro 300 is ready to brew in as little as 10 minutes.
This speedy heat-up time can also be attributed to the heavy, chrome-plated brass saturated ring brew group. While we’re used to seeing the more classic E61 brew group on higher-end machines, in some ways this has more to do with tradition than quality (3). The modern ring group provides excellent temperature stability, and you won’t have a super-heated nose of metal protruding from the front of your espresso machine just waiting to scald unsuspecting users.
And don’t worry, the ring brew group on the Pro 300 still measures the industry standard 58 mm. So you won’t have any trouble tracking down accessories like tampers and funnels. It comes with both a single-spout and double-spout portafilter.
The pump is a vibration design, rather than a rotary model. Vibration pumps are generally noisier and don’t allow you to plumb to a water line. However, they are also smaller, less expensive, and easier to repair. Some users even appreciate that the vibration pump ramps up to brewing pressure more slowly.
That brings me to one of the major downsides of the Pro 300 espresso machine, the lack of pre-infusion. Pre-infusion is a low pressure wetting of the coffee puck prior to extraction, and it has been shown to improve shot quality and consistency (4). For comparison, the Lelit Elizabeth does have a pre-infusion option, and the Silvia Pro does not.
User Friendliness – 4/5
Using the Profitec Pro 300 dual boiler is very straightforward, certainly more so than the heat exchanger espresso machines you’re likely to find at a comparable price.
There are two switches under the PID display, one for power and one for the steam boiler. Being able to turn the steam boiler on and off independently is always a welcome feature. It allows you to speed heat-up time and reduce energy use if you’re not making milky drinks. A third switch, on the top of the Profitec Pro 300, starts brewing. And indicator lights let you know the current status of the machine and steam boiler.
You can use the PID controller to set the brew temperature on the Profitec 300. One of the best features of this Profitec Pro 300 is that the PID display automatically converts to a shot timer once you start pulling a shot. You might not think this is a big deal, but you’ll be surprised how much it improves your workflow. When you’re not brewing, the display indicates boiler temperature.
The Bells And Whistles
A pressure gauge lets you monitor the boiler pressure. All these features — the timer, the pressure gauge, the PID — were once reserved for only the most expensive models. So it is wonderful in 2021 to see them trickling down throughout the product line. It seems, the gap between the top and bottom of the line is shrinking, making this an ideal time for consumers.
As previously mentioned, the Pro 300 isn’t plumbable to a water line thanks to its vibration pump. Luckily, its 3 litre water tank is one of the biggest in its class, so you won’t need to refill it too often. Likewise, the stainless steel drip tray has a large 950ml capacity. In comparison, the Elizabeth has a 2.5 litre tank, and the Silvia Pro’s measures just 2 litres.
Milk Frothing – 3/5
The major concession you’re making when buying the Pro 300 versus a larger model is the size of the steaming boiler, so milk frothing isn’t necessarily this machine’s strong suit. The steam power here is decent, certainly a step up from your average appliance grade machine, but don’t expect it to match something like the Profitec Pro 600.
The quality of the steam is just fine. It’s nice and dry, and you’ll still be able to prepare a silky latte or frothy cappuccino. The sacrifice you’re making is more about the capacity. Steaming is a bit slower with this model, and after a few milky drinks, you’ll need to give it some time to recover. If making a lot of lattes on a daily basis is your thing, you may want to consider paying for an upgrade.
The Profitec Pro 300 comes with a two-hole steam tip, but if you’re itching for more steam power, you can consider replacing it with a one-hole steam tip instead. This is an easy and inexpensive adjustment.
The steam wand itself is excellent, with a two-wall no burn design and fully articulated ball joint. There is also a separate tap for hot water, something you don’t always find on smaller models. Both steam and hot water wand are operated with knobs rather than joysticks, so you get a little more tactile control, but it’s harder to achieve a quick burst of steam.
Build Quality – 4.5/5
Profitec machines are known for their exceptional quality, and the Profitec Pro 300 dual boiler is no exception, despite it’s low price tag. Profitec is the sister company to ECM, and these brands combine impeccable German engineering with Italian manufacturing and tradition. Both the internal and external features of the Profitec Pro 300 showcase the result.
Outside, the Profitec Pro 300 is wrapped in a sheet of stainless steel polished to a mirror finish. It’s a classic and elegant look, though it lacks some of the fancy finishing touches of the higher-end models. The knobs are a simple black resin, but can easily be upgraded to wood accents for a different aesthetic.
The Profitec Pro 300 is a relatively compact machine, particularly by dual boiler standards, measuring 10 inches wide by 15 inches high by 16 inches deep. These dimensions are nearly identical to the Silvia Pro and just slightly larger than the Elizabeth, which you might need to factor in if counter space is at a premium.
Inside, the Pro 300 features a Gicar PID controller, known to be top of the line, and copper and braided stainless for all pressurised plumbing. Vented steam is carefully redirected outside the machine to avoid damaging any internal electronics, and the pump has been mounted to minimise noise and vibrations.
All this attention to detail is a hallmark of the Profitec brand, and it’s in this level of quality construction that it tends to distinguish itself from the competition.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 3.5/5
Cleaning and maintaining the Profitec Pro 300 is virtually the same as with any prosumer espresso machine. With these machines, the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is particularly true. Treat them well so you never need to repair them.
Always use filtered water in the water tank to avoid the build up of limescale, because descaling this type of espresso machine is a serious task best left to professionals (5). Likewise, backflush the Profitec Pro 300 with hot water regularly, using the included blind portafilter disc, and backflush using a cleaning product as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. Always rinse your portafilter right away and be sure to wipe down and purge the steam wand after each use.
None of these tasks is particularly arduous, and they will save you a ton of money and frustration in the long run.
The only downside to the beautiful mirror finish of this model, as opposed to a brushed stainless steel, is that it does tend to show the dirt and dust. So keep a microfiber cloth handy to wipe any splatters off your Pro 300 and keep it looking its best.
As I mentioned earlier, the Profitec Pro 300 uses a saturated ring group as opposed to the more traditional E61 brew group. The only potential downside of the ring brew group is that if something goes wrong, it can be more difficult to service and find parts for than the industry standard E61. However, given the reputation of Profitec when it comes to quality, nothing is likely to go wrong with proper care.
Don’t Buy the Profitec Pro 300 If…
- You need to make many drinks: For the average size household, the Profitec Pro 300 has plenty of capacity. It can easily whip up 4 or 5 lattes in a row before it needs a break. But if you plan on making more than that on a regular basis, you will probably be better served by something able to handle more volume. You’ll have to pay a bit more, but the time savings will be well worth it.
Consider the brand’s biggest dual boiler machine, the Profitec 700, or save a bit of money by opting for the heat exchanger Profitec Pro 500, which now includes a PID for improved temperature control.
- You prefer a more traditional feel: The Pro 300 definitely has a modern, minimalist design. If that’s not your aesthetic, you’re in luck, because the brand also has some great models with a more retro feel.
If you really want a blast from the past, check out the Pro 800, an old school lever machine with some modern twists. Or if you want the look of the E61 group head, check out the Pro 600. Like the Pro 300, it’s a compact dual boiler espresso machine, but it has the E61 group, a slightly larger steam boiler, and the option of flow control (6).
- You’re not interested in milky drinks: If you’re more interested in straight espresso than a latte or cappuccino, then consider opting for a single boiler espresso machine. This will greatly decrease costs without making any sacrifices in terms of quality. Just be sure to look for one that still has a PID, if you’re interested in specialty coffee.
A great option is the ECM Classika, which not only includes a PID but is known for its incredible build quality and gorgeous aesthetic.
If you want to make the transition to a dual boiler espresso machine but don’t have the space or budget for one of the fancier models, the Profitec Pro 300 is a great option. It is incredibly compact and affordable while still offering fantastic features like PID temperature control, manometer, and a shot timer.
As long as you aren’t making a ton of back-to-back lattes, this machine will meet your needs and offer incredible value.
- Coffee Magazine. (2020, May 28). EXPERT: Why temperature matters when brewing espresso. Retrieved from https://www.coffeemagazine.co.za/blog/9/5906/expert-why-temperature-matters-when-brewing-espresso
- Grant, T. (2019, November 18). How Temperature Can Impact Your Experience of Coffee. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2019/11/how-temperature-can-impact-your-experience-of-coffee/
- Burton, G. (2011, January 11). The E61 Group Head: An Oldie but a Goodie. Retrieved from https://fivesenses.com.au/blogs/news/the-e61-group-head-an-oldie-but-a-goodie/
- Joseph, H. (2019, December 10). Longtime Espresso Pro Michael Teahan on Pre-Infusion, the Problem with SO, and Much More. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/12/10/longtime-espresso-pro-michael-teahan-on-pre-infusion-the-problem-with-so-and-much-more/
- Helminen, J. (2019, November 21). Espresso machine – How does it work? Retrieved from https://www.baristainstitute.com/blog/november-2019/espresso-machine-how-does-it-work
- Bryman, H. (2019, April 10). Whole Latte Love and Profitec/ECM Launch Flow Control Device for E61 Groupheads. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/04/10/whole-latte-love-and-profitec-ecm-launch-flow-control-device-for-e61-groupheads/