HugoYugoWego Senior Member Joined: 17 Apr 2011 Posts: 2 Location: Arlington, VA Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Francis! Francis! X5
Posted Sun Apr 17, 2011, 10:10pm Subject: Estro Profi?
I'm new to coffeegeek though I have frequented the site over the years and have always found the info I needed. Thanks.
I bought a Francis! Francis! X5 5 years ago, and it does what it's supposed to for the most part. I usually look but don't touch when it comes to more gear. However, this weekend at an estate sale I picked up a white Estro Profi dated on bottom from February 1995 (No Saeco logo). I paid 30 bucks for it. I liked the way it looked,like Texas Instruments made a calculator/ speak n' spell/ espresso machine. And it actually felt fairly substantial to me regarding its build. Everything seems to be in working order, and, in some ways, it seems like it has a better/more powerful steamer than I'm accustomed to. The rub is that it's missing its portafilter.
I've been reading up on people's experiences with the Estro Profi- most people love it in 2001 and kinda hate it in 2011. Minus the aesthetics for me, is this a machine worth chasing the rabbit down the hole about? The portafilter is between $50 and $80. And honestly if I had known anything about it being the proto-Starbucks machine, I probably would have passed.
Part of me feel likes I'd like to find out more about it because it's here right now in my kitchen begging me to pull a shot. On the other hand, this seems like a well-trodden path maybe not worth the trouble, so I'd like to hear any thoughts or advice. What should my financial cap on all this be?
Also, this isn't a one machine-or-the-other issue. I'd keep both.
This is a decent SBDU machine, on par with the Barista and other Saeco machines. I had one for many years, and not long ago bought one for a friend looking to get started with espresso; after shipping and a few parts, his cost was about $120 which is what I consider a reasonable value for this machine based on its performance. It has a not terrible grinder, with burrs that can be replaced, and good adjustability, but the chute retains a good amount of grinds - purge a shot's worth before drawing the grinds for the next shot.
It suffers from the usual issues with these machines - namely the small boiler leads to some temperature stability issues. That said, with some temperature surfing you can at least get a good starting shot temperature. On par with the X5 I imagine, but not having used an X5 I'm not sure.
As to how much to invest in a machine like this, I'd say around $150 considering you're getting both a grinder and espresso machine. It can be stored as a spare machine in case the X5 dies, or maybe sell it to a friend wanting to get into espresso.
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
I appreciate the advice, and the tempered assurances that I'm not completely wasting my time. I had immediately thought of maybe giving it to one of my sisters. I just don't want to fix it up and then give someone a lemon of a machine. I had also thought maybe of trading both up for a better machine in the near future. While I like the x5, it was also more of a purchase that found me than anything I sought. I think I paid 80 bucks for it at a Homegoods in 2006; the fuchsia color has really grown on me.
I'll certainly follow up regarding my experience once I get a portafilter for it (choices there too, leaning towards Gran Crema one). I descaled the machine once already, but I may do it a couple more times as I have no idea how long the Estro Profi was shelved. The grinder works fine i.e. it's grinding beans. How would you suggest cleaning that out before real use? Grindz enough?
I like this forum for its ability to relay experiences, opinions, and even objective research. I also see many posts related to pride in the espresso-making process, with rules and codes akin to grammar. I am also very curious in a history of espresso machines, concentrating on the last 30-40 years and emphasizing the home market in US and Europe. (In book form?) At least to me, it would be interesting to get a feel for the company, designers, models, advertisements, and innovations. I'd like to know more about Estro as a company for instance as it relates to how the Profi would have been perceived when initially released in the early 90s(?) As smaller companies get bought and become larger, multi-nationals, it may be handy to approximate the quality of machines to other later models, but, for me, the Barista and Saeco machines have a negative stigma to them mainly based off my own bias. Philips owns Saeco and Gaggio in turn. I imagine my ignorance of Estro as a company allows me to see it more positively. Anyone know more?
The Gran Crema is the better of the pressurized portafilters, but to get a better shot, you'll want an unpressurized portafilter but perhaps your sister won't want to fuss with the grind and tamp so much. Regarding cleaning the grinder, you can just unscrew the top burr carrier (it's attached to the hopper). then get in there with a brush and vacuum cleaner. Grindz works great as well. You may also want to disassemble the doser mechanism as there's likely some coffee oils and coffee caked in there.
I am quite certain Saeco made the Estro labeled machines. The one I bought in the 90s was from Starbucks, bought as a refurb for $300 I think.
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
adaken Senior Member Joined: 14 Nov 2012 Posts: 1 Location: Sterling, VA Expertise: Just starting
Posted Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:55pm Subject: Re: Estro Profi?
If I have the option between the Estro Profi (Feb 1995) and the Krups XP4030 which one should I go for? I am a total newbie when it comes to espresso, so I'd really appreciate it if I can get a more experienced opinion.
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