As an espresso enthusiast, I want to know all the features that could improve my drink’s flavor and temperature.
Proportional-integral-Derivative is one of those features. And I’ll explain what it is in this guide.
Here is an overview:
Keep reading to learn more.
- PID is used to maintain desired temperature.
- It’ll help improve espresso temperature consistency.
- This feature adds a lot of extra cost to espresso machines.
- Makes machines a bit more complicated to use.
What Is PID Espresso?
PID stands for Proportional-Integral-Derivative, and it is a type of feedback loop controller used to maintain a desired temperature.
In the case of an espresso machine, the PID controller monitors the temperature of the water in the boiler and makes adjustments as needed to keep it at the correct temperature.
This is important because the temperature of the water is critical for making good espresso. If the water is too hot, the espresso becomes bitter. If the water is too cold, the espresso turns weak and sour.
A PID controller helps to ensure that the water temperature is consistent, which results in more consistent and flavorful espresso shots.
Not all espresso machines have PID controllers. Many less expensive machines do not. However, PID controllers are becoming increasingly common in home espresso machines, as they offer many advantages over machines without PID controllers.
If you are serious about making espresso at home, invest in an espresso machine with a PID controller. It will make a noticeable difference in the quality of your espresso shots.
PID vs. Non-PID Espresso Machines
Let’s compare PID and non-PID machines:
|Feature||PID Espresso Machines||Non-PID Espresso Machines|
|Temperature control||More precise & consistent||Less precise & consistent|
|Ease of use||Easier to use||More difficult to use|
|Durability||More durable||Less durable|
|Cost||More expensive||Less expensive|
Non-PID espresso machines aren’t as precise as machines with Proportional-Integral-Derivative or as durable. Opt for PID machines if you want espresso with a more consistent temperature and better taste.
Machines with PID can cost upward of $1,000. These machines will likely include other features that improve espresso flavor, like pre-infusion. This feature saturates beans before brewing to help with flavor extraction.
These machines are also a bit easier to use since they don’t require your constant attention to the temperature. Since it’ll do all the monitoring and adjusting for you.
Invest in a PID espresso machine if you are serious about making espresso at home and in a business yet want the best possible results. However, if you are on a budget or not as concerned about making perfect espresso every time, then a non-PID espresso machine may be a better option for you.
Benefits of PID Espresso Machines
Let’s check out the pros of using PID espresso machines:
- More consistent espresso shots: Helps to ensure that the water temperature is consistent, which results in more consistent & flavorful espresso shots.
- Easier to use: Often easier to use than machines without PID controllers, as they do not require as much manual temperature adjustment.
- More durable: More durable than machines without PID controllers due to higher-quality parts.
- More precise temperature control: More precise temperature control than machines without PID controllers, which can be helpful for dialing in espresso recipes.
These machines offer more consistent temperatures with espresso shots and are easier to use than non-PID machines since they don’t require constant monitoring. They’re often more durable as well, since these machines typically use more durable parts than non-PID machines.
Drawbacks of PID Espresso Machines
Here are the cons of using PID espresso machines:
- More expensive: Typically more expensive than non-PID espresso machines.
- Environmental factors can affect PID: Room temperature & humidity can affect the way PID works.
- Difficult to install & calibrate (home machines): If not comfortable with DIY projects, you may want to consider having a professional install & calibrate your PID controller.
- Not for everyone: Some people may prefer the simplicity of a non-PID espresso machine.
Despite offering better and more consistent temperatures, they cost more than their non-PID counterparts and may require professionals to calibrate if needed. Humidity and room temperature can also impact your machine’s performance.
As these factors can manipulate the PID sensors.
How to Choose the Right PID Espresso Machine for You
Consider your budget, the machine’s brand, and the features the device will include before buying an espresso machine with PID. I’ll cover those buying criteria throughout the following sections.
Ensure you read reviews about each machine, speak with espresso experts about each machine, and visit stores to test each device. This will help you get the best machine possible.
1. Consider Your Budget
Entry-level PID espresso machines start at around $500, while high-end models cost upwards of $2,000. Several factors can affect the price of a PID espresso machine. These include the brand, the features, and the materials used in construction.
Do your research before buying a PID espresso machine. I’ll provide examples of espresso machines in different price ranges.
There are many reputable brands that make PID espresso machines. Do some research to find a brand that you trust and that has a good reputation for quality.
Here’s a list of brands that manufacture PID espresso machines:
|Brand||Popular PID Espresso Machines|
|Breville||Breville Dual Boiler, Breville Bambino Plus|
|Lelit||Lelit Anna, Lelit Elizabeth|
|Profitec||Profitec Pro 300, Profitec Pro 500|
|ECM||ECM Classika PID, ECM Synchronika|
|Rocket Espresso||Rocket R58|
|Gaggia||Gaggia Classic Pro (via upgrade kit)|
|Crem One||Crem One Evo|
|ECM Giotto||ECM Giotto (through upgrade)|
|Quick Mill||Quick Mill Vetrano|
|Izzo||Izzo Alex Duetto IV Plus|
|Rancilio||Rancilio Silvia Pro|
|Ascaso||Ascaso Steel Duo PID|
Some PID espresso machines have additional features, such as a built-in grinder, a pre-infusion, or a hot water spout. Consider which features are important to you and choose a machine with them.
Best PID Espresso Machine
The following sections will talk about the best espresso machines that include PID.
All these machines are semi-automatic espresso makers. That means you’ll have automation with pressure application and temperature management. However, you must manually perform every other step.
|Dimensions||9.1 × 11 × 12.9 in (D, W, H)|
|Water Capacity||10 oz = 10 solo shots|
- Double-spot portafilter.
- Powerful steam wand.
- Supports ESE pods.
- Auto-off only available in EU.
- Tiny drip tray.
- Uses a single boiler.
This machine is best for anyone who wants a super-durable espresso machine to make great-tasting lattes.
This machine is popular among espresso enthusiasts and worth the cost.
Want to brew 2 espresso shots at once? Use the double-spot portafilter. This is great for entertaining guests or for making doppio (double espresso) drinks for yourself.
And if you want to make a milk-based drink like a latte, the steam wand won’t disappoint. It has a lot of power, which ensures your milk will have an ideal consistency and great taste.
And if you want to save space, skip buying a grinder and use Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) pods. These pods come with pre-ground espresso coffee. You sacrifice control of your espresso beans’ grind consistency but save a lot of space and time.
Imagine not having to worry about grinding and tamping beans.
But the drip tray is tiny. You’ll have to spend a couple of extra seconds to empty it out occasionally.
It uses a single boiler, which isn’t ideal for serving espresso to more than 1 person. This type of boiler heats slower than dual boilers and can’t froth milk and brew coffee simultaneously. However, such a boiler makes this machine more affordable.
Unless you’re in the EU, you won’t have access to the auto-off feature, which could help save money on electricity.
If you’re into spending a bit more money, check out the next pick.
|Dimensions||16.34 × 10.04 × 15.16 in (D, W, H)|
|Boiler Type||Dual boilers|
|Water Capacity / Enough for||101 fl oz = 101 solo shots|
- Can disable steam boiler.
- Uses high-quality internal plumbing.
- Quiet vibratory pump.
- No pre-infusion.
- Short steam wand.
The Profitec Pro 300 is an excellent option for anyone who entertains guests at home and wants a high-quality espresso.
This German-made espresso machine is worth the cost and doesn’t have many downsides.
Most espresso machines use Teflon for their internal plumbing, which makes it susceptible to wear and tear. The Pro 300 uses braided stainless steel and copper for its tubing, which makes it conduct heat better and last much longer than other machines.
The machine’s dual boilers heat faster than machines that use single boilers and heat exchangers, making it ideal for serving espresso to more than 1 person. It could also froth milk and brew coffee at the same time.
Don’t want to steam milk for drinks like lattes? Disable the steam boiler.
The steam wand is also a bit shorter than other machines’ wands. That makes it more difficult to move this wand around, which could affect your latte’s taste.
While it has some nice perks, it doesn’t include pre-infusion. A feature that many lower-end machines include. This feature gently wets espresso coffee grounds before brewing to help with even flavor extraction.
Want a quiet pump? You’ll get it with the Pro 300.
If you have more money to spend, consider the next pick.
|Dimensions||17 × 10 × 14 in (D, W, H)|
|Water Capacity / Enough for||101 fl oz = 101 solo shots|
- Compact size.
- Includes E61 group head.
- Heat exchanger allows simultaneous brewing & frothing.
- Plastic cup rail on cup warmer.
- Requires cooling flush prior to use.
- No direct connection to plumbing.
The Rocket Appartamento is an excellent choice for folks who want a machine that’s somewhat compact, yet will last for many years.
This Italy-made espresso machine has a unique aesthetic that’ll fit most kitchens and is worth the cost.
The plastic cup rail takes away from this aesthetic, but you can spend some extra money to get a stainless steel one. And despite the machine’s high cost, it doesn’t allow you to connect it to your home’s water line directly.
A perk that would eliminate the need for a water reservoir and could allow you to connect the machine to a filter. Such a connection would have eliminated scale buildup and reduced the need to descale.
However, the machine’s compact size allows it to fit in smaller kitchens or coffee carts.
This machine does have a single boiler, which isn’t great considering the machine’s price point. However, it uses a heat exchanger system. This heats your machine’s steam wand and water boiler, allowing you to brew espresso and froth milk simultaneously.
Then it includes an E61 group head. This type of group head has excellent thermal stability and will last a long time due to its build quality. However, it’s not great for serving guests since this group head type takes a long time to heat up.
This machine also requires a cooling flush before use. This process flushes water from your group head to remove any buildup. It’s annoying since it adds an extra step to espresso making, but it ensures your coffee will have a consistent taste.
Are you a business? Consider the next choice.
|Dimensions||25.2 × 38.5 × 21.4 in (D, W, H)|
|Boiler Type||Dual boilers|
|Water Capacity / Enough for||169 fl oz = 169 solo shots|
- Auto backflushing feature.
- Customizable colors.
- Auto-volumetric features.
- Steam wands aren’t double-walled.
- May need maintenance from a technician.
The La Marzocco GB/5 3-group works best for coffee shops or cafés that serve 300 to 600 guests a day and don’t have much time for cleaning. And for folks who have more money to invest.
This machine’s worth the cost, considering the color customization and the buttload of included features.
It includes 3 group heads, which allows this machine to serve 300 to 600 people. However, this model also has 2- and 4-group variations. 4 group heads work better for shops that serve more than 600 folks. And 2 group heads work great for serving 50 to 300 drinks daily.
It uses a saturated brew group head, which makes it an excellent choice for high-volume shops. It has thermal stability, which means it’ll hold a shot temperature more precisely for consistency.
The customizable colors allow you to choose colors that fit your brand’s theme. Making it fit better within your café or coffee shop’s aesthetic.
The steam wand isn’t double-walled, meaning it isn’t the best for maintaining temperatures within the steam wand. However, it’s ball joint-mounted, which means your barista will have more control over your milk froth’s texture for better taste.
It has automatic backflushing, making it much easier to maintain for your baristas. Instead of having to take the time to backflush it manually. This could save your team members time when cleaning your machine to ensure consistent taste.
This machine will also include ruby flow restrictions, which help reduce scale and further improve your shop’s productivity.
The auto-volumetric feature allows your barista to brew every espresso shot by brew ratio, volume, or mass, which will help ensure consistency.
FAQs for PID
The following sections will cover frequently asked questions about PID for espresso machines.
What Does PID Stand for in Espresso Machines?
PID stands for Proportional-Integral-Derivative. It is a type of feedback loop controller that is used to maintain a desired temperature in an espresso machine.
PID is used to maintain temperatures in espresso machines. They’re reserved for higher-cost devices, but are a feature that’ll make an enormous difference in your espresso’s taste and temperature.
Want recommendations on more espresso machines? Check out our suggestions.