Profitec Pro 500 Espresso Machine Review
Profitec makes some of the best prosumer espresso makers. They’re pairing German engineering with Italian manufacturing to deliver top-notch machines. The Pro 500 is their heat-exchanger model, long one of the most popular on the market. And in recent years, the addition of a PID has made it even better!
In this review, we’re going to dig deep into the details. We’ll find out why the new Profitec Pro 500 PID is better than ever. And you’ll see if it’s the right choice to satisfy your espresso cravings.
Summary: The Profitec Pro 500 Espresso Machine
- Semi-automatic prosumer espresso machine with heat exchange boiler and PID
- 2-litre stainless steel boiler yields impressive steam power
- Sturdy and durable build with one-piece steel chassis
I haven’t had any temperature fluctuations nor have I had to do long cooling flushes. The boiler also gets up to temperature very quickly and retains adequate temperature for the frequent espresso drinker.– Customer
Profitec Pro 500 Espresso Machine Review
In 2018, with the addition of a PID and a redesigned thermosiphon, Profitec made a great espresso machine even better. Keep reading to find out what else you can expect from this fan-favourite prosumer model.
Brewing Capacity – 4/5
Profitec has an extensive line-up of espresso makers. But, because they all sport a similar classic look, it can quickly get them confused. The Pro 500 is their long-popular heat exchanger (HX) espresso machine. As of 2018, it got a significant upgrade with the addition of a PID.
A heat-exchange boiler allows you to brew espresso and steam milk at the same time. And because it uses only a single boiler, you can do this in a smaller footprint. The downside is that heat exchangers tend to have more inferior temperature stability. Also, at a significantly reduced cost when compared with a dual boiler (1).
That’s where the PID comes in.
The addition of the PID, in this case, has two advantages. First, you can set a specific temperature, which can be helpful when tailoring brew temperature to a particular coffee roast or when adjusting steam pressure. That said, you still won’t have the brew temperature accuracy you can expect from a double boiler because of how a heat exchanger operates.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, in this case, no temperature fluctuations.
PID keeps temperature fluctuations to a minimum.
It fluctuates ten times less than the alternative, a pressure stat. This is very important for ensuring consistency from one shot to another.
Along with adding the PID, Profitec re-engineered the E61 group head of the Pro 500 to improve the efficiency of the thermosiphon. This combination gives this espresso machine such excellent temperature control that you don’t even need to perform the cooling flushes commonly used to manage the temperature in an HX machine.
The 2-litre stainless-steel boiler is long-lasting, and it’s jacketed with a practical insulating sleeve. It’s heated with a powerful 1400 Watt heating element, so it heats up faster than most in its class, taking as little as 10 minutes. Though, you’ll want to wait longer than that for the temperature to stabilise before you brew. The vibratory pump is reasonably quiet, though not as silent as the more expensive rotary models.
On the front of the espresso machine are two pressure gauges. One monitors boiler pressure, which is an essential measure of steam power. You will see the pressure increase as you increase the PID temperature. However, the other gauge monitors brew pressure. This is only useful to watch as you are pulling a shot to give you valuable information about the extraction.
Use Friendliness – 3.5/5
Heat exchanger machines typically have a bit of a learning curve because the temperature you set in the boiler is not the brew temperature at the group. It takes time and experience to master this discrepancy, though the user manual offers some guidance.
That said, while most HX machines require cooling flushes before brewing, the PID and refined E61, in this case, make that unnecessary with the Profitec Pro 500 PID espresso machine. So this espresso machine is easier to use than many comparable models.
It features a larger-than-average cup warmer, which takes up the entire top surface of the machine and is passively heated thanks to the heating element below. While the extra space is excellent, the downside is that you need to remove the whole thing to access the water reservoir.
And accessing the water reservoir will be a regular occurrence as this espresso machine is not plumbable to a water line. Though the water tank is quite large at 3 litres, so it may not be a daily task. A nice feature is an automatic sensor triggered if the water in the reservoir gets too low. So you don’t need to worry about damaging the machine by running it dry. The drip tray is also a good size, at 32 ounces, but it too requires regular attention.
Milk Frothing – 4/5
Because heat exchanger espresso machines tend to have a larger boiler, steam power is one reason they are preferred by some users over machines with two boilers. The Profitec Pro 500 PID is no exception. Its 2-litre steam boiler yields remarkable pressure, especially if you crank up the temp on the PID.
In tests, this espresso machine could maintain upwards of 1 bar of pressure for 5 minutes of consecutive steaming, a rare feat. It also recovers remarkably quickly, so you’ll have no problem making back-to-back lattes.
Both the steam and hot water wands on this machine are no-burn models featuring a silicone internal tube that keeps the exterior from getting too hot. This spares you the potential of a nasty scalding and makes the wand easier to clean after use.
The wand is capped with a nicely balanced two-hole tip, which experts like James Hoffmann, former World Barista Champion, will tell you is important to achieve the proper milk froth.
The tip on here restricts the steam flow enough that you have nice pressure but not excessive flow. That means that you have plenty of time to do what you need to do in terms of texturing.
You control the steam and hot water wands with upgraded spring-loaded knobs, which are responsive and durable.
Build Quality – 4/5
Like all the best Profitec espresso machines, the quality of German engineering is evident in this model. It’s as durable as it is beautiful. In many ways, it resembles its big brother, the Profitec Pro 700, though in a slightly smaller package.
It features a one-piece steel frame wrapped in a polished stainless casing with smooth edges rather than sharp corners. Because the PID display is cleverly hidden behind the drip tray, this machine maintains a sleek and traditional look. Secret storage space for the blind filter lurks back there as well.
Even the accessories are well made. Despite their high cost, most prosumer espresso makers come with a throw-away plastic tamper, but that is not the case here. The Pro 500 includes a hefty steel tamper (2). It also comes with two commercial grade 58 mm portafilters, a single spout, a double spout, and matching single and double baskets.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 4/5
That German engineering is just as evident on the inside of this espresso machine as the outside. If not more so.
Pro 500 is considered one of the easiest machines in its class to service.
This is thanks to the well-designed and straightforward internal layout. There are no extraneous components or complicated wiring schemes. In many cases, you can even DIY the service.
The replacement of the pressure stat with a PID reduces maintenance issues with this machine as well. While the pressures are a mechanical component that will eventually fail, the solid-state PID will last the machine’s lifetime.
Cleaning the Pro 500 is on par with any other prosumer machine. Backflush regularly with the included backflushing disc, and keep some microfibre cloths on hand to keep surfaces clean and dry. If you use filtered water with your machine, you shouldn’t have to worry about descaling.
Do Not Buy the Profitec Pro 500 PID If…
Temperature accuracy is a priority: If you’re experimenting with many different specialty coffees, the better temperature accuracy of a dual boiler is essential for dialling in the perfect extraction. Take a look at the Pro 300. It’s a small dual boiler that’s less expensive, though the trade-off is poorer milk steaming. Or keep the frothing capability and pay a tad more for the higher-end Pro 600.
You want more manual control: If you like the heat exchanger but want the hands-on feel and pressure profile that can only come from a manual lever machine, take a look at the innovative Profitec Pro 800 (3). It combines modern technology like a vibratory pump with traditional manual extraction.
You don’t brew milky drinks: If lattes and cappuccinos aren’t your things, you can save a lot of money and hassle by opting for a single boiler dual-use machine. Check out the Classika from Profitec’s sister company, ECM. Like all ECM machines, it’s known for its outstanding build quality.
Pro 500 was one of the most popular heat exchanger espresso machines on the market. It has impressive steaming power, exceptional build quality and can brew a mean shot of espresso. And this was even before the addition of the PID!
But now it’s EVEN BETTER! Unless you have your heart set on a dual boiler, there is no reason not to recommend this machine.
- 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
- Meister, E. (2018, August 9). Barista Tips: The Espresso Tamper. Retrieved from https://www.seriouseats.com/coffee-tools-the-espresso-tamper-how-to-tamp-correctly-barista-tips
- Grant, T. (2020, July 29). How Flow Profiling Impacts Espresso Extraction. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/07/how-flow-profiling-impacts-espresso-coffee-extraction/