Heard of the expression “Great things come in small packages?
This is also true of the ECM Mechanika V Slim
Hidden beneath its beautifully designed, compact frame, is a heat exchanger with a 2.2-litre stainless steel steam boiler, an E61 group head, a quiet vibratory pump and a 3-litre internal water reservoir.
With its large steam boiler and 1400w heating element, the Mechanika produces more steam power than espresso machines that cost twice as much and are significantly larger.
Its ability to pull shots and steam milk back-to-back makes the Mechanika a perfect choice for anyone who needs maximum power with the smallest footprint.
The ECM takes under a minute to open and well-organized internal components make repairs fairly straightforward.
If the Mechanika is missing anything, it is a PID. Though this means you can’t control the boiler temperature, the ECM’s consistency makes this a non-issue.
When it reaches steam temperature, a 3 to 4 oz cooling flush reduces the brew water temperature to around 201 degrees. Even after 5 shots, the temperature remains consistent at 201 degrees to 197 degrees – exactly what you’d expect from a well-designed heat exchanger.
Let’s see how the ECM Mechanika V Slim stacks up against two of the most popular machines in its category – The Profitec Pro 500 PID and the Rocket
Let’s start with the Profitec Pro 500.
The German-engineered Profitec Pro 500 is a stunning package of beauty, mechanical simplicity and consistency.
With its large 2-litre steam boiler and 1400w heating element, it can whip up a couple of 16 oz lattes in just a few minutes.
While this is impressive…
The extra steam capacity of the Mechanika gives it an edge over the Profitec when serving large groups of people.
Though steam capacity and heating elements are critical to heat exchangers, consistency of temperature is a major contributor to taste.
When tested, both machines displayed a high level of consistency with brew temperatures fluctuating by a maximum of 1.5 degrees over a 30-second extraction.
The result? Delicious tasting coffee.
The PID in the steam boiler enables Profitec to vary the temperature of water within the desired range of brew temperatures.
So, while the ECM Mechanika can consistently deliver 203-degree water, the Profitec allows you to use a range of brew temperatures to match the roast being brewed.
When it comes to building quality, there isn’t much to choose between the two machines.
Beautifully designed and built, they’re mostly made of stainless steel, with some brass and long-lasting high-quality plastic thrown in for good measure.
Size-wise, they’re about the same, but the ECM is a couple of inches narrower than the Profitec, making it a good choice for anyone looking for a small yet powerful machine.
They are also easy to open and repair. The Profitec has a larger interior, which makes it easier to navigate, but the ECM is more compact and has all of its components within easy reach.
The Profitec Proo 500 PID is an enviable combination of consistency and power that can churn out piping hot lattes in minutes…
But with its almost unlimited power and smaller size…
The ECM Mechanika V Slim scores over the Profitec and is a brilliant choice but for those looking to save space while getting café-quality espresso at home.
How does the ECM compare against the Rocket Appartamento?
Both are compact, E61 equipped machines with comparable specs and excellent track records.
The ECM, however, has three advantages over the Rocket.
Greater steam capacity:
The 2.2-litre ECM stainless steel steam boiler is roughly 20% larger than the Rocket’s 1.8-litre copper boiler, allowing for more consistent brew temperatures over a longer period. As in, when you’re steaming a lot of milk drinks or several large lattes at the same time.
Although copper has been the preferred material for many years, thanks to its excellent heat conductivity… manufacturers have been able to achieve comparable levels of efficiency with stainless steel.
Copper is also more susceptible to scale buildup, which can harm the taste of espresso as well as the performance of the brewing equipment.
The height of espresso machines can be an important consideration for those with overhead kitchen cabinets. Both the Rocket and the ECM are relatively short and removing the cup rail makes them even shorter.
The ECM scores over the Rocket in terms of width. It is an inch slimmer than the Rocket, making it appear less imposing in the kitchen.
Both machines are hand-built in the true Italian tradition. When it comes to repairs, however, the ECM is far easier to open. Its internal components are better organised, easier to find, and more accessible than the Rocket’s.
The Rocket, despite being well built, can be difficult to open and work on because of the placement of its panels and internal components.
Both the Rocket and the ECM Mechanika produce delicious espresso but with its extra steam capacity, compact size, reduced maintenance requirements, and ease of repair…
The ECM Mechanika V Slim edges out the Rocket Appartamento as the machine of choice for delivering café-quality espresso at home.