Is your passion for espresso and only espresso? Why pay for a milk frothing system if you have no interest in a latte or cappuccino? Well, now you don’t have to!
The brand-new ECM Puristika – so named because it’s for espresso purists – has what you need to pull a perfect shot of espresso. ECM has created a compact and affordable way to produce cafe-quality espresso by doing away with the steam wand. Learn all about it in this in-depth review.
Summary: The ECM Puristika Espresso Machine
- Single boiler prosumer espresso machine with no milk frothing system
- Premium features, like an E61 group and PID, at an affordable price
- Incredible build quality and gorgeous design
Super small and visually unique on the market, it brings both dark and light roasts perfectly into the cup.
– Maik G., Customer
The Full ECM Puristika Review
In this section, we’ll dig into the detailed aspects of this machine. How does it work? How well does it work? And how does it stack up against the competition?
Brewing Capacity – 4/5
The brewing capacity of the ECM Puristika is excellent, as you’d hope from an espresso machine designed exclusively for brewing.
The Puristika has a single stainless steel boiler measuring 0.75 L. It uses a vibration pump, which makes sense for its small size and low cost. It relies on the classic E61 group head. Still, the most popular style of the group for prosumer espresso machines 60 years after its invention (1). A thermosiphon cycles hot water between the boiler and the group, ensuring a stable brew temperature.
The Puristika features a PID for temperature control, a hallmark of higher-end machines. A PID provides a more accurate and stable brew temperature than a pressure stat – a game-changer in the espresso world (2).
The PID controller is one of the most impactful technological advances in espresso machines in the last twenty years.
The standout feature on the front of the ECM Puristika is the OPV expansion valve adjustment knob, which allows you to adjust brew pressure. While many prosumer espresso machines have an adjustable OPV, none put the control so front-and-center. Typically, it’s hidden beneath the cup warmer, behind the drip tray, or even deeper in the machine – often requiring tools to access. By making it so easily accessible, the Puristika invites you to explore changing brew pressure to optimize extraction (3).
That said, an adjustable OPV should not be confused with flow control, in which you adjust brew pressure as extraction progresses. If flow control interests you, aftermarket flow control devices are compatible with Puristika’s E61 group head.
User Friendliness – 3.5/5
The ECM Puristika has some excellent user-friendly features, but it also has some bugs to work out as a new model.
Let’s start with the highlights.
The 2-liter external glass water tank is undeniably convenient.
Not only does it allow for more flexibility when designing your espresso set-up, but it is also easier to refill and monitor the water level.
On the front of the machine, the pump pressure gauge, PID controller, and automatic shot timer add to the Puristika’s ease of use. Together, they make it easy to dial in and reproduce the perfect shot.
Another bonus? Thanks to its compact size and single boiler, the Puristika is very fast to heat up compared with most prosumer espresso machines, and it takes only 15 to 20 minutes before it’s ready to brew.
But not everything is perfect. A commonly noted issue is that the group doesn’t heat until the pump kicks on. So, if you’re planning to preheat this model with a smart plug on a timer, you’re out of luck. However, people have reported that ECM is already aware of this problem and is working on a solution. So stay tuned.
Another issue, which not everyone will mind, is that the Puristika lacks a cup warmer. While the top does get warm from the boiler below, the surface is small, the edges are rounded, and it lacks rails. So you take your chances balancing mugs up there.
Milk Frothing – 0/5
The lack of a milk frothing system is the defining feature of the Puristika. So this score reflects the fact that it isn’t there, rather than poor quality.
Build Quality – 5/5
Espresso makers by ECM are known for build quality, which is why they tend to be more expensive than similar models from other brands. Thanks to the combination of Italian tradition and German engineering, every component of an ECM espresso machine is thoughtfully designed.
The ECM Puristika is no exception. It is beautiful to look at – check out those deep blue gauges, anthracite housing, and glass reservoir – and built to last. From the drip tray to the boiler to the frame, most components are stainless steel, and it even comes with a high-quality stainless steel tamper.
The Puristika is one of the most compact prosumer espresso machines on the market, measuring just 12.4” high by 7.7” wide by 13.7” deep.
This is facilitated by the external water tank and the absence of a steam boiler. If you are short on space, it’s a great option – one of few machines in this category that can comfortably reside beneath upper cupboards.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 4/5
The cleaning and maintenance required for the Puristika are the same as for any E61 espresso machine. Don’t expect to find any automated cleaning cycles, but if you treat it right, your Puristika will far outlast the average kitchen appliance.
Most importantly, use filtered water to keep the boiler and internal plumbing clean and ensure the best-tasting coffee! Daily, you need only keep the water reservoir topped up, empty the drip tray, and wipe down the exterior.
Less frequently, E61 groups all require the same regular maintenance, such as cleaning and greasing gaskets. You should also take advantage of the included blind basket to backflush the machine regularly. This will be detailed in the user’s manual, and you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions to get the most extended life from your Puristika.
Don’t Buy the ECM Puristika If…
You want to make milky drinks: if you enjoy a good latte, the Puristika is not for you. The ECM Classika PID is an excellent choice at a similar price point, and it has the same E61 group and PID temperature control and includes a steam wand.
If you make a lot of milky drinks, it’s probably worth spending a bit more money to upgrade to a machine that can steam milk and pull a shot simultaneously. Take a look at the ECM Technika, which uses a heat exchanger boiler, or the dual boiler Synchronika.
You want something more affordable: As mentioned, you pay a bit more for ECM’s premium build quality and design. If you’re looking for similar specs at a lower price, check out the Bezzera Unica or the Lelit Victoria, both of which also have a steam wand.
Alternatively, ECM’s entry-level model, the Casa V, is one of the best espresso machines under $1000. You still get the ECM build quality but sacrifice the PID and E61 group.
If your priorities start and end with excellent espresso, then the unique new ECM Puristika is a fantastic choice. A delicious brew is practically a guarantee with a PID controller, adjustable expansion valve, and E61 group head. The fact that it’s beautifully engineered, affordably priced, compact, and stunningly good-looking is just the cherry on top.
- Morris, J. (2020, December 23). The Faema E61 Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2021/the-faema-e61-espresso-machine
- La Marzocco. (2015, October 15). A Brief History of the PID. Retrieved from https://home.lamarzoccousa.com/history-of-the-pid/
- Kilbride, D. (2017, June 8). How Does Pressure Affect Espresso Quality? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/06/how-does-pressure-affect-espresso-quality/