Profitec Pro 600 Espresso Machine Review
Are you ready to take your espresso to the next level with a double-boiler espresso machine? Then take a hard look at the Profitec Pro 600. This high-end option offers a nice balance between features and affordability, making it one of the brand’s most popular models.
In this review, I’ll explain what the Pro 600 offers, how it fits in the Profitec line, and why I believe it’s one of the best value double boilers. It’s just what you need to take your latte to the next level.
Summary: The Profitec Pro 600
- Semi-automatic double-boiler espresso machine with PID temperature control
- Upgraded PID for ultra-powerful 2 bar steam pressure
- Combines German engineering and traditional Italian manufacturing for exceptional build quality
Thanks to the PID, the temperature is dead steady. Shots are consistently excellent. The steam power is amazing.– Linda R.
The Full Profitec Pro 600 Dual Boiler Espresso Machine Review
The Pro 600 is Profitec’s mid-level dual boiler. It sacrifices a few features from the larger Profitec Pro 700, which I’ll discuss further below, but in doing so leaves more money in your budget for a grinder or accessories. At the same time, it’s a big step up in functionality and price from the lower-end Pro 300.
Let’s look at what it has to offer.
Brewing Capacity – 4.5/5
It’s honestly hard to criticise the Profitec Pro 600 dual boiler machine in regards to brewing capacity. With this machine, nothing is standing between you and the perfect shot of espresso.
It’s a semi-automatic dual boiler espresso machine, which means you can brew coffee and froth milk simultaneously. The brew boiler measures 0.75 litres, and the steam boiler is slightly larger at 1 litre. This is one notable difference from the Pro 700, which has a massive 2-litre steam boiler.
This machine is in the upper echelon of double boilers because it has independent PID temperature control for both the steam and brew boiler (1). Cheaper machines either rely on a pressure stat or use a PID for brew temperature only. Having two separate PIDs is the hallmark of a premium model.
Compared with a pressure stat, a PID produces more accurate and stable brew temperatures. And according to renowned espresso expert David Schomer, temperature stability is the essential feature of an espresso machine (2).
Absolutely stable temperature during the extraction brings out the most volatiles into the cup.
If you’re interested in specialty coffee and exploring different origins and roast levels, you’ll appreciate the precise control offered by a PID. For example, lighter roasts taste better when extracted at higher temperatures, whereas the opposite is true of dark roasts (3).
What’s the deal with the group head?
The Profitec Pro 600 dual boiler espresso machine features the iconic E61 group head, which despite being 80 years old, remains the industry standard for commercial quality espresso machines (4). This thermosiphon system keeps hot water circulating through the group and portafilter. This system ensures maintaining a consistent temperature.
Coupling the E61 with a PID makes this machine among the best in the business for stable brewing temperatures.
The Pro 600 uses a vibration pump. This is the other significant change from the Pro 700, which has a rotary pump. The differences are a bit more subtle. In terms of pressure, both pumps can quickly achieve the required 9 bar extraction pressure for true espresso.
Vibratory pumps are smaller, less expensive, and easier to repair. Using a vibratory pump in this machine is easy for Profitec to offer a less expensive option without compromising espresso quality. Vibratory pumps also ramp up to pressure more slowly, which some users prefer, resulting in an extended pre-infusion stage.
A downside of vibratory pumps is their volume, which is louder than rotary pumps. However, the Profitec Pro 600 claims to have a “quiet” vibe pump, and testing has proven true. Its noise and vibrations have been expertly dampened.
The other trade-off with the vibratory pump is that you can’t plumb this machine to a water line. Instead, you’ll need to rely on the built-in 2.8-litre water reservoir. If you’re dead set on plumbing in your espresso machine, you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro 700.
And flow control?
Finally, let’s talk about flow control, also known as pressure profiling. Recent years have seen this feature become increasingly popular, so Profitec now offers an optional aftermarket flow control modification for this model. It doesn’t come standard, but if it’s something you’re excited about, you’ll be happy to know it’s easily available (5).
User Friendliness – 4/5
The Profitec Pro 600 is easy to use thanks to a few advanced features. In particular, the inclusion of the upgraded PID controller has added a lot of functionality to this model.
Setting the brew boiler and steam boiler temperatures is a piece of cake using the front-facing PID display, and you can turn the steam boiler off if you’re only making espresso. Not only does this shorten the heat-up time, but it significantly reduces power consumption.
Speaking of power consumption, the updated PID now includes a programmable ECO mode. So you can set this machine to turn off automatically after it has been idle for a given time.
The PID display also doubles as a shot timer, a feature that has proven super popular among users. It starts timing automatically when you start a shot.
The Pro 600 does take a little more work than the Pro 700 simply because you can’t plumb it to a water line. You do need to fill the water tank by hand and empty the drip tray. However, the 2.8-litre BPA-free reservoir is large enough that you won’t need to fill it often, and when you do, it’s easy to remove. I especially like that it connects to the machine via a valve in the bottom. This gives it a much tidier look and makes it easier to clean. Much more convenient than a mess of tubing.
There is one way the Profitec Pro 600 is more user-friendly than the Pro 700, and that’s the accessibility of the overpressure valve. The OPV, which lets you change the brewing pressure, is located right behind the drip tray, making it easy to adjust any Profitec model. Adjustable brew pressure is yet another way to dial in that perfect extraction.
Milk Frothing – 4.5/5
Milk steaming is definitely a high point of the Profitec Pro 600 because this machine is equipped with the same updated PID and safety valve as the larger Pro 700. So even though you don’t have the 2-litre steam boiler, you still get the impressive 2 bar steaming pressure. With most espresso machines in this class, you find steam pressure closer to 1 to 1.5 bar, which is a huge step up in power.
In fact, it’s such a step up; you’re likely to be overwhelmed if you haven’t worked with a machine like this before. Fortunately, Profitec has the foresight to include both a 2-hole and a 4-hole steam tip. Start with the 2-hole tip and swap it for the 4-hole when you’re ready for more power.
Both steam and hot water wands are fully articulated with a no-burn design. That means they have an inner insulating layer that keeps the exterior from getting too hot to hold. That said, you should still be cautious. The tips do get very hot, and some users have noted that the metal parts of the steam knobs can get pretty toasty once the machine has been on for a while.
Build Quality – 4.5/5
Profitec has gone above and beyond with the aesthetics of the Pro 600. Perhaps sensing buyer fatigue with the ubiquitous steel box look, they’ve opted to alter the design just enough to stand out from the crowd without compromising on build quality.
The exterior is still mirror-finish stainless steel, which looks fantastic and is incredibly durable. But new to the latest model are side cutouts with matte black panels below.
Black backgrounds on the two pressure gauges and black knobs make for a cohesive look.
The steam and hot water wands have also been redesigned with a rounded shape and more horizontal angle. This gives the machine a distinctive style, and many find it improves the usability of the wands as well.
Though smaller than the Pro 700, the Pro 600 is a large machine. You’ll want to find a place for it before you buy. Measuring 17.7 inches deep by 15.5 inches wide by 12 inches wide, you can technically slide it under upper cupboards. But when you factor in the cup warming tray and top-access water reservoir, this might not end up being a practical choice.
Some other changes are more subtle but offer a big improvement in build quality. For example, a single stainless-steel mushroom is found at the top of the E61 group instead of the more common ceramic version. This is a more attractive and durable solution that we’ve been seeing on the more expensive ECM models for a while. It’s nice to see it brought to the Profitec line.
The Pro 600 also uses the same low-wear sprung valves for steam and hot water as the Pro 700. Compared with cheaper rotary valves, they will last much longer.
The Pro 600 comes with two portafilters, a single spout and a double spout, along with the associated single and double filter baskets and a backflush disc. Cleverly, there is a little storage space hidden behind the drip tray that accommodates both the backflush disc and the extra steam tip.
A common theme in German engineering is to do things right, not cheap (6). So yes, these espresso machines might be a bit pricey, but they last longer and result in far fewer headaches than something that saved you a couple of hundred bucks upfront.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 4/5
Caring for a prosumer espresso machine is very straightforward, and the payoff is huge. As long as you complete a few daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, these well-made espresso machines can be brewing delicious coffee for decades.
So what do you need to do?
Daily, it’s as easy as filling the water reservoir, emptying the drip tray, and wiping down the machine’s mirror-finish surfaces with a microfiber cloth. Of course, purge the steam wand and clean out the portafilter after each use.
Every week, or more if you’re a heavy user, you’ll want to backflush the machine with filtered water using the stainless steel backflush disc provided. And on a less frequent basis, you’ll want to backflush using a cleaning solution. With the new PID display, you’ll be alerted when it’s time for this.
A hallmark of all Profitec espresso machines and those from ECM is their well-engineered interior. Everything is thoughtfully placed to make access and service as easy as possible. Indeed, you can perform most maintenance for the Pro 600 at home with essential tools and a bit of know-how, a big-time and money saver versus having to send it away.
Don’t Buy the Profitec Pro 600 If…
You prefer a heat-exchanger machine: If you’d rather a heat exchanger than a dual boiler, either due to workflow preferences or the lower cost, there are tons of great options. Sticking with the Profitec brand, there’s this model, their best-selling Pro 500 HX with PID. Or take a look at the stylish Rocket Cronometro or ultra-compact Lelit MaraX instead.
You don’t have space: If you like the idea of a double boiler but lack the space for the Pro 600, Pro 700, or the hefty Profitec 800, there are some nice compact options on the market. Profitec makes this machine, the Pro 300, and other brands have similarly pint-sized options, like the Lelit Elizabeth or Rancilio Silvia Pro. They are considerably less expensive, though you will have to sacrifice the E61 group as a bonus.
You don’t make many milky drinks: If lattes aren’t your thing, there’s no reason to spend the big bucks on a double boiler. Opt for a high-end single boiler like the ECM Classika, Bezzera Unica, or Quick Mill Alexia Evo, which still have the iconic E61 group. Then put your money savings into a better grinder and some great coffee beans!
Profitec knew what they were doing when they designed the Pro 600. By eliminating two features many users don’t particularly need — a massive steam boiler and a rotary pump — they created an advanced espresso machine that’s surprisingly affordable. Any espresso lover will be thrilled with the quality and capacity of the Profitec Pro 600.
- La Marzocco. (2015, October 15). A Brief History of the PID. Retrieved from https://home.lamarzoccousa.com/history-of-the-pid/
- Bryman, H. (2018, June 11). On Espresso Vivace’s 30th Anniversary, David Schomer Talks Roast, Grind and Brew. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2018/06/11/on-espresso-vivaces-30th-anniversary-david-schomer-talks-roast-grind-and-brew/
- Randolph, J. (2019, August 9). How To Choose Brewing Temperatures for Different Roast Levels. Retrieved from https://fellowproducts.com/blogs/learn/how-to-choose-water-temperature-for-different-roast-level
- Burton, G. (2011, January 11). The E61 Group Head: An Oldie but a Goodie. Retrieved from https://www.fivesenses.com.au/blog/the-e61-group-head-an-oldie-but-a-goodie/
- 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/
- Robertson, C. (2013, September 18). The best engineers come from Germany. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/business-24131534