Espresso machines with heat exchange boilers don’t always get the same attention as their flashier dual boiler cousins. But for a large portion of the prosumer market, a heat exchanger will meet all your needs. It will certainly save you a good chunk of cash.
With THE LATEST EDITION of Technika, a PID controller’s addition makes it even more competitive with pricier models. Keep reading to learn what other new tricks the Technika V has up its sleeves and whether it’s the best option for you.
Summary Box: ECM Technika
- Semi-automatic espresso machine with heat exchanger and PID
- Steam wand and hot water wand controlled by spring-loaded levers for an instant on/off
- Classic design with the outstanding build quality
This machine is beautiful and classy, the build is flawless, and the stability of the pump is unbelievable. The joysticks controls and the PID are features that can’t be missed.
– Customer Review
The ECM Technika V Profi Review
The new Technika V earns a place among the best heat exchanger espresso machines in its class. This is thanks to the addition of the PID controller that not many machines have.
Let’s take a deep dive into the details and look at the milk frothing capability, maintenance needs, and that legendary ECM build quality.
- Brewing Capacity
- User Friendliness
- Milk Frothing
- Build Quality
- Cleaning and Maintenance
Brewing Capacity – 4/5
The new-and-improved ECM Technika V has had a series of upgrades from the ECM Technika IV Profi. So, now It is basically the heat exchanger version of ECM’s much loved (and much more expensive) dual boiler Synchronika. This steady progress is a direct result of the passion of the brand’s CEO, Michael Hauck.
I don’t like to stop where we are. I like to improve, always, the product.
The upgraded system relies on a stainless steel heat exchange boiler, so that you can steam milk and make coffee AT THE SAME TIME. True, you won’t get quite the brew water temperature stability you would with the Synchronika. But I’d venture that only home users making a lot of milk drinks back to back are apt to notice a difference (1).
At its heart is a commercial style rotary vane pump, which is whisper quiet and allows you to plumb directly to a water line. If you go this route, you can do proper line pressure pre-infusion for exceptional extraction.
Like the Synchronika, the ECM Technika uses a custom E61 group head (2). It’s the same iconic E61 group found on top espresso machines worldwide, but with a few aesthetic modifications unique to the best ECM espresso machines. The “mushroom” on top of the head is a single stainless steel bell, for a sleeker look, and the brew lever is capped with chrome to match the portafilter handles.
Of course, the major upgrade between the Technika IV Profi and the V is PID control for the boiler temperature.
Why is this a GAME-CHANGER?
You get improved temperature control and stability and avoid having to do a cooling flush after each shot, which most owners of heat exchanger espresso machines will tell you is a bit of a dark art.
Because the PID replaces a pressure stat, it also increases the longevity of the espresso maker. A pressure stat is a mechanical part that eventually needs replacing, but the solid-state PID will last much longer.
User Friendliness – 4/5
The ECM Technika is a semi automatic espresso machine, so it does require some user skill. If you’re in the market for a prosumer espresso maker, this is probably part of the appeal. Yes, you’ll need to put in some practice to dial in your shots and perfectly steam milk, but the trade-off is better espresso and a satisfying feeling of accomplishment.
However, there has clearly put some thought put into optimizing the user experience. The pressure gauges are now larger, and they’re placed higher for easy viewing.
The PID display automatically acts as a shot timer when you start a shot, a feature you’ll be surprised how much you appreciate.
It comes with two ergonomically angled portafilters, a single spout and a double spout. Their weight-balanced shape means the basket lies flat when you put them on the counter, a thoughtful detail that makes tamping a piece of cake.
Another new addition not available on the Technika IV is the ECO mode, which allows you to set an automatic shutdown timer for anywhere up to ten hours after last use.
Milk Frothing – 4.5/5
For many users, the spring-loaded levers used to control the steam and hot water wands are the ECM’s espresso machines’ defining features.
With these joysticks, you can turn your steam on and off instantly as well as quickly achieve short bursts of steam.
The alternative, found on many competitors’ prosumer machines, is to use knobs. With a knob, the steam will slowly ease on as you turn it. This system is sometimes better for novices, but pros prefer the instant steam.
The steam wand has a 2-hole steam tip that’s nicely balanced with the boiler’s capacity so that you can steam for long periods with little need for recovery.
The Technika’s steam power isn’t entirely on par with the newly supercharged Synchronika, but it’s still pretty mighty, primarily if you’re used to an average home espresso machine. In tests, it took about 35 seconds to steam 5 ounces of cold milk.
Build Quality – 5/5
Build quality is an area in which this brand always shines in espresso machine reviews. In many cases, they’ll have near-identical internals to a Rocket or Profitec model. Still, consumers consistently pay a premium for ECM espresso machines because they last longer, require fewer repairs, and have a distinct aesthetic appeal.
On the first inspection, the quality of the casing immediately stands out. The mirror finish is perfectly glossy, and the curved edges are smooth and with a consistent radius. Even the low-value areas, like behind the drip tray, are finished with impeccable attention to detail. The PID display is a subtle silver color that blends right into the case in keeping with the classic look.
A charming aesthetic touch is chrome detailing on the levers and portafilters. But if you’re looking for a warmer feel, you can opt for the equally stunning wood accents. Another upgrade from the Technika IV is that the V now comes with a proper stainless steel tamper.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 4/5
ECM models are popular with users for their ease of maintenance. The interior is designed with maintenance in mind, making serviceable parts easy to access. And because they use the popular E61 brew group, skilled technicians and replacement parts are inexpensive and readily available.
The ECM Technika comes with a few excellent maintenance features to help keep it in tip-top shape. For one, you can use the PID display to set a backflushing reminder for anywhere between 10 and 200 cycles (3). A backflush disc comes with it, and cleverly, it slots into the drip tray back for easy storage.
If you’re running your Technika using the water reservoir, there’s also an automatic warning when the water level is low. If you ignore the warning, a microprocessor will automatically cut the power circuit before running the water reservoir dry, a nice touch that avoids the potential for significant damage.
Don’t Buy The Technika V Profi If….
You don’t make milky drinks: If you prefer an espresso to a latte, you can save money by opting for a single boiler over a heat exchanger. Check out ECM’s Classika, or consider the entry-level Casa V, which definitely punches above its weight.
You make a lot of milky drinks: Conversely, if pulling lattes one after another for an office full or thirsty co-workers is your morning routine, you might get your money’s worth out of the temperature stability of a dual boiler. In that case, ECM’s Synchronika will serve you well.
You want a quick and easy coffee: If dialing in the perfect espresso shot and mastering a silky microfoam doesn’t sound like fun to you, you’re probably better off putting your budget towards a super automatic espresso machine. For example, take a look at the Jura E8, which can deliver a top-notch latte at the touch of a button.
When you buy any ECM espresso machine, you’re guaranteed incredible build quality and gorgeous aesthetics. With the addition of a PID, the latest iteration of the Technika approaches the temperature stability of a dual boiler, but at a considerably lower price. It might just be the perfect compromise to meet your needs!
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- Partida, V. (2017, December 5). PID vs. Pstat. Retrieved from https://coffeetechniciansguild.org/blog/2017/11/21/pid-vs-pstat
- 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/
- Langley, M. (2016, December 27). Product Maintenance | How to Backflush an Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://prima-coffee.com/learn/video/maintenance/product-maintenance-how-backflush-espresso-machine/32652