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In Depth Review of The New 400 From Germany
It’s a machine made by a manufacturer know for quality, and this one gets you a lot of bang for your buck… it’s a new best value in heat-exchange boiler espresso machines with the E61 group and adjustable temperatures.
If quality and value are important to you when making purchase decisions this one is worth a look. It’s new for 2022 and comes in at a price hundreds of euros less than similar machines with fewer features.
How about externally adjustable brew pressure?
Automatic pre-infusion you can turn on and off, a dual manometer for boiler and brew pressure, a three position temperature selector to match your coffee type or easily increase steam pressure and get you “Turbo Froth” plus custom touches like a gorgeous tapered group head and four disclet colour inserts for steam and hot water knobs.
The Pro 400 is the most affordable machine in Profitec’s catalogue and its price is hundreds of euros less than similar machines from other manufacturers lacking similar features. If your counter space is at a premium, the Pro 400 is just 225mm wide. It’s a heat exchange boiler machine so you can brew and steam simultaneously. A two-point-eight litre water reservoir supplies the quiet vibration pump, which feeds a 1.6 litre insulated stainless steel boiler.
The casework is all stainless, polished up front…brushed on the sides and back. The base is one piece with a textured finish. A dual manometer gives you readings on boiler and brew pressure.
The machine can be equipped with flow control.
Now I won’t go deep into it here but with flow control you can custom craft your extractions
to say… reduce brightness in fresh specialty coffees… bring out more sweetness… or
avoid bitter flavors in darker roasts.
The Pro 400 is not a PID machine.
Using its marquee feature you can easily change your brew temperature using the three-position switch under the right side of the machine. Push forward for lower temperature, set to the middle for a higher brew temp and push in the back for the highest temperature and extra milk-frothing power. Now I like to adjust this using the roast level of my beans.
I use the cooler front-in position for dark roasts and the middle position for medium and light roasts.
I save the rear in position for extra frothing power and do not recommend it for espresso
brewing because it’s too hot at around two-hundred eight degrees. After making your espresso at the front or middle in position, push it to the rear in position and steam pressure quickly rises for extra frothing power.
In other non-PID machines if you want to change boiler temps or steam pressure you must
open the machine up to get at the pressure stat to adjust. The three-temperature switch gets you capabilities close to a PID machine without the higher price tag.
What brew temperatures and steam pressures will you get at various settings?
I ran my own tests to find out and we’ll see how my results match up with the numbers published in Profitec’s manual. For my test I followed the procedure used by Profitec. I allowed the machine to fully warm up and started at the lowest setting. For measurement I’m using both this E61 group mounted gauge - which I really like
with this machine, and a Scace device to get the most accurate reading possible of brew water on
the coffee. Prior to each test I did a two second flush and then noted the average temperature over
a thirty second simulated extraction on both the E61 temperature probe and the more accurate scace temperature. Here are the results of my temperature and steaming tests. Set to the front position, idle brew head temp on the group mounted gauge was 90.2C, Average Scace temp was 90.55C, pressure in the boiler was one bar. Set in the middle position, idle group temp was 94.39C, average Scace temp was 94.44C and boiler pressure was 1.36 bar. At the rear position the group was 97.72C average Scace temp was 97.77C, and boiler pressure was 1.68 bar. Compared to Profitec’s published temperatures, my Scace readings were within one degree Celsius at all three settings.
The Pro 400 has an automatic pre-infusion mode.
When turned on, lift the brew lever and the pump runs for five seconds then pauses for three seconds. After that, the pump comes back on and continues running until the brew lever is lowered. The pre-infusion is gentle due to the slow increase in pressure of the vibration pump.
Potential benefits of pre-infusion include swelling the coffee prior to full pressure brewing to help prevent channelling and giving fresh from roast coffees a moment to off-gas prior to full pressure to help reduce bright and acidic Flavors.
ECO Mode is another feature you can turn on or off.
When enabled, heating of the boilers is switched off after ninety minutes of inactivity to save power. Raising and lowering the brew lever or operating the main power switch reactivates boiler heating after the machine enters ECO mode.
The Pro 400 has a more industrial look than other Profitec machines with a brushed stainless single piece housing making up the back and sides which wrap to a mirror finished front panel. It has standard valves for steam and hot water while their more expensive machines use quarter turn sprung valves.
The knobs come pre-installed with blue disclets
but users can customize with red, green, or yellow which are included with the machine. Wands are no burn, and the steam wand feeds a two-hole tip. A dual manometer gives readings of boiler and brew pressure…
The E61 group has a custom taper like those on many ECM machines. With its narrow width the drip tray is smaller. It must tilt out slightly to remove for emptying so you’ll want to be careful of
overfilling. Under the drip tray there’s hidden storage for a back flush disk and extra steam tip. Under the cup warming tray the OPV adjustment is fully exposed allowing for brew pressure adjustment without removing the case - that’s a relatively uncommon feature.
On the majority of HX boiler machines including the Rocket Appartmento and even Profitec’s own Pro 500 you must remove panels to get at the OPV adjustment… and getting inside some machines is a real problem. On the Pro 400 that’s not the case. Remove four exposed two-point five-millimetre Allen head bolts and the single piece making up the side and rear panels comes right off. From there, you can access many components.
The 400 joins the high-end ECM Synchronika and older Expobar Brewtus machines as one of the easiest to open. And with just six more screws the top cover and water reservoir support are out of the way. Components are high quality and laid out to protect electronics from heat and water. Moisture from vacuum relief on the boiler is vented to the drip tray.
Excellent pump mounts reduce noise and make the Pro Four-Hundred a near whisper quiet vibration pump machine.
In the box with the Pro 400
Are single and double spout portafilters, filter baskets and a blind filter basket for pressure adjustment and backflushing… a real useable tamper, the coloured disclets for customizing the knobs… group brush and user manual.
The Profitec Pro 400 is a solid and well-built machine and currently the most affordable machine in their lineup. It has a package of features not found on similar but more expensive machines from other manufacturers like easy to adjust brew temperatures using the three-way switch… automatic pre infusion…dual manometer for monitoring steam and brew pressure…
externally adjustable brew pressure… and of course legendary Profitec quality inside and out.
It’s not a PID machine. But does allow you to easily select temperatures based on coffee roast level and kick up to higher temperature for extra steaming power.
If you want to take things to the next level Profitec’s Pro 500 PID is worth a look. On the 500 you get the PID… a shot timer… massive quarter turn sprung valves and a larger boiler and drip tray.
Well, We do hope that’s helped you out, If you have any questions on the Pro 400 or anything else pop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
1 portafilter 1 spout
1 portafilter 2 spouts
1 filter 1 cup
1 filter 2 cups
1 blind filter
1 coffee tamper
1 brew group brush
1 user manual
3 pairs of coloured valve disclets