This is the new Profitec Pro 800 2.0. A massive, spring lever espresso machine with a 58mm grouphead, huge 3.5L PID enabled copper boiler, and an incredibly satisfying lever that begs to be pulled by an old timey barista or modern day hipster.
Now this machine was sent to me by Profitec in collaboration with Whole Latte Love but no money exchanged hands and as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Review my ethics statement here.
So I’ve had this machine for about a month and have been using it as my daily driver. I’m going to run you through some specs, the build quality, the workflow, shot quality, steaming, and finally if it's worth it and if it might be the right machine for you.
This is a big machine. It’s nearly 80lbs in weight, measures about 13.4” wide, 23” deep, and 29” tall with the lever attached.
This machine is not one you buy and stick in your kitchen under a countertop, that’s for sure.
It’s a looker. It’s big, its bulky, it has a huge shaft. It’s going to be noticed. (there's a joke in there somewhere, isn't there?)
The machine has a massive PID enabled 3.5L brew boiler that is used for both steaming and brewing. The water reservoir here is also quite large at 3L.
Unlike some of the machines I’ve used in the past, the drip tray has quite a different shape. It’s a bit wider and a lot slimmer, with just a 1L capacity.
In practice I’ve found myself filling the reservoir about once a week and draining it about twice a week for an average 1-2 shots pulled per day with steam use.
Build quality on this machine is nearly identical to that of the Profitec Pro 700. Which means it's really good.
Stainless steel parts all around, rubber handles on the no-burn steam wand and hot water valve, and nice wooden accents on the handle and levers. Although, you will notice here that I swapped out the wood for some custom Olive wood parts by Mussa tampers, so shout out to them for sending that over.
Panels are smooth with no warping, and are nice thick, again, similar to the Pro 700.
On the front panel we have a green light indicating power, and an orange light that lets you know if the machine is out of water.
There’s an on/off switch in between that I keep set to ON all the time and use a smart plug instead to control power. This lets me get the machine warm and ready to go just as I get out of bed in the morning.
Speaking of which, this machine does take some time to get warm - about 40 minutes. You can speed it up a little bit by pulling some hot water through the group but it still takes some time to get hot and up to pressure.
On the front panel we also have a large dial that shows the pressure gauge which is not brewing pressure, it’s simply boiler pressure.
When the machine is ready to go, the indicator on the dial is generally around 1.5 bars of pressure.
The top of the machine has a secondary lid-like tray that acts as the cup warming tray and hides the water tank, just like the Pro 700 had. Although it also suffers the same lack of details where it has some rough front facing edges, and this one also had an issue where the left side of the cup rail pops out.
Underneath the drip tray we have a switch that lets you swap between plumbed in line and water reservoir. And on the right side we have the PID. More on that later.
And finally, we have the huge heavy duty spring lever group. In testing I’ve found it takes about 20kg of pressure to pull down. Again, more on this later in the workflow section.
So, a little bit about levers. I did a little research and also reached out to the team at The Lever Magazine and chatted with them a bit about levers, how they work, and some best practices when it comes to using them for dialing in shots.
So the Pro 800 is a spring lever espresso machine using a dipper system. Because its a single boiler machine, water temps are obviously too hot for brewing.
So how this system works is the group head essentially acts as a thermoblock to siphon heat from the boiler down to a brew-stable temp.
Steaming and brewing can be done simultaneously because once you release the lever, all the water needed for the extraction is already in the group.
Okay, so with that extra bit of knowledge now injected into your mind, I’ll show you what my typical workflow looks like with this machine for myself.
This being a 58mm grouphead means its compatible with all my usual 58mm accessories, so prep work here is just about the same.
Dose, grind, WDT, tamp, puck screen, and lock. One thing to note is that this is not an E61 machine so the flanges on the portafilter are actually different from an E61 group. It still fits, but out of caution, I’d recommend against using other portafilters and vice versa.
So first, I pull down the lever, which again uses about 20kg of force, and hold it there, letting it pre-infuse for about 6-10 seconds at a true low 1-2 bars of pressure.
Then I lift up and slowly let go once I feel resistance.
From there, the spring lever is doing the work to pull the shot at 9-bars and slowly ramp down pressure until the shot stops.
3 important things to note.
Start your grind coarse - you don’t want to choke this machine. There is a lot of pressure between the portafilter and group here, so you want to stay cautious.
Secondly, the lever has a powerful spring - don’t let go abruptly because the lever will spring back in your face and knock you out. Or so I’ve been told by the Profitec team.
And finally, don’t release the portafilter before the shot is finished, again, because of the pressure built in between.
Now while the shot is being pulled you can step back and simply watch it or steam milk at the same time.
So that’s generally my single drink workflow.
So now that the workflow bit is out of the way, let’s talk about steaming. Firstly, as you’ll notice, this machine uses levers over knobs. I like that change.
It’s a lot nicer to use and gives me full steam power quickly. I’ve generally felt that I still need to do a quick purge before getting that true dry steam.
The steam wand itself is fully articulated but unlike machines I’ve used before, it doesn’t point completely straight down.
The steam power here is good and I’ve been able to get silky textured milk without issue. It’s comparable to steaming on the Bianca. It’s also worth noting that steam power is still stronger on the Pro 700 versus this machine.
Espresso on a lever machine is pretty different from a pump machine, because of that ramp down in pressure and true soft low-pressure pre-infusion.
Now, I’ve found you can get mimicable shots on a flow controllable machine like the Bianca, but there’s something about this - the true soft pre-infusion and mechanical pressure ramping of this spring lever machine has given me some truly soft textured and sweet shots.
With regards to dialing in, you have a few variables you can control. Water temp, pre-infusion length, pressure profile, and shot volume.
With regards to pressure profile and this being a spring lever machine, you’re going to get that classic declining pressure lever profile but you can actually push the lever if you want to increase pressure or hold it back to decrease pressure.
Like I mentioned before, you can’t stop the shot midway through like a pump machine. So you’ll have to slide your cup out of the way once you hit your desired output.
Generally, I’ve had pretty good results dialing in medium roasts easily. Lighter roasts are certainly doable too, and in my experience I’ve noticed I require a little more pre-infusion.
I’ve been using a 20-22g basket with a 19g dose plus a Mocha Mondays puck screen.
Now I think James said it best in his Olympia Cremina review (around 8:00).
And I’ve found that to be true. I want to use this machine for more than just me and my girlfriend’s morning cappuccinos, because it's such a fun machine.
Like James also said in his review, in some ways it would be a terrible shame to start here - with a beautiful lever machine (9:20-40). Luckily, I started with a Gaggia Classic, worked up to a Rocket Appartamento, Lelit Bianca, Profitec Pro 700, and have finally landed here at a premium lever.
This machine reminded me of what it felt like to get into espresso for the very first time again. A few years ago, back when I had the Gaggia Classic Pro - I was so enamored by the process. Charmed, you might say.
It was interesting to have to weigh, dose, grind, tamp, pull the shot, and time everything in between to get what we call espresso.
And that led to me filming the process, which led to the creation of this YouTube channel today.
In a way, I feel like I’ve almost come full circle. Back to a machine that’s inspiring to use, and really puts the term pulling a shot of espresso to work.
It’s fun. But, that fun might not be for everyone. I delayed this review a bit because I truly wanted to get over that honeymoon phase of a lever machine like this.
Now firstly, this machine lacks the level of control you might get with something like the Lelit Bianca. A more simple pump machine with 2 boilers, a PID on each, flow control, and some unique electronic modes.
Secondly, this machine is obviously much more manual work and is a bit slower to pull shots back to back. Plus that 20kg of effort needed is not going to be what everyone wants to do early in the morning.
But, I feel like at this point, you can gauge how I feel about this machine. I absolutely love it.
If you’re in the market for a lever machine and want that extra bit of PID control, extra touch of modernity and quality of life upgrades that a modern machine gets you, while retaining that full nostalgic lever feel, then this is the machine for you.
I will mention that after experiencing a machine like this, I’m super interested in trying out other levers and hope to get my hands on some classics to compare.
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