What is a PID In Espresso Machine: PID VS Other Heating System

Do you ever wonder what PID’s significance in an espresso machine is and why it is essential for brewing espresso-based drinks?

All automatic espresso machines require precise temperature control to Brew the perfect espresso. Many espresso machines use sophisticated heating systems such as thermoblocks, thermocoils, or boilers to achieve the ideal water temperature.

At the same time, some manufacturers add PID in espresso machine temperature more precisely. So, is a PID a necessary component in an espresso machine? Let’s dig deeper to know the purpose of PID in espresso machine.

Why A PID in Espresso Machine

You must be aware that there are three fundamental factors that you should consider to Pull a perfect espresso shot. 

  • Brew time
  • Brew ratio
  • Brew temperature

The first two factors perfectly extract your espresso shot, while the third one impacts the flavor or taste of your coffee. So, to achieve the most flavorful espresso shots, it is essential to maintain a consistent brew temperature (ideally around 200 degrees F ) throughout the extraction process. 

Therefore, one of the most crucial features of an espresso machine is its ability to maintain a consistent water temperature. A consistent temperature ensures that the shot is not under-extracted or over-extracted.

Importance of PID in Espresso Machine

Imagine having your own personal barista who can make the perfect espresso shot every time. Well, with an espresso machine equipped with PID temperature control, that’s exactly what you get!

What’s a PID?

PID stands for Proportional-Integral-Derivative. It is a control algorithm in engineering and automation systems to control a process or system. The PID controller continuously calculates an error value as the difference between a desired setpoint and the actual value of a process variable and then applies proportional, integral, and derivative terms to the error to generate a control signal that can adjust the system to reach and maintain the desired setpoint.

Sounds too scientific? Let’s make it easy to understand.

Well, the P(Proportional) term provides the initial correction to bring the actual temperature closer to the target temperature. The larger the difference between the actual and target temperatures, the larger the correction provided by the P term.

The I(Integral) term corrects accounts for any steady-state error that may remain after the P term has been applied. The I term gradually reduces this error by accumulating and adding small corrections over time.

The D(Derivative) term helps to reduce overshoot and oscillation by applying a correction that considers the rate at which the temperature changes. The larger the rate of change, the larger the correction applied by the D term.

Finally, the PID controller continuously monitors the actual temperature and compares it to the target temperature, applying corrections using the P, I, and D terms to maintain a stable and accurate temperature.

Graph showing how PID works
PID Controller

The PID controller helps to ensure consistent and high-quality espresso shots by maintaining optimal brewing conditions.

Role of PID in Espresso Machine

In an espresso machine with PID control, a temperature sensor measures the water temperature, and the PID controller calculates the error between the measured temperature and the desired temperature. 

The controller then adjusts the heating element in real-time to maintain a stable and precise water temperature.

Why is this important? Well, the water temperature is critical for producing high-quality espresso shots. Too hot or too cold, and the espresso shot can be over-extracted or under-extracted. And the result would be different from what you want. Right?

YouTube video
PID Controller

PID temperature control allows for precise control over the brewing process, which ensures that the espresso shot is brewed at the optimal temperature to achieve a perfect balance of flavors and aromas.

Unsurprisingly, PID temperature control is often found in higher-end espresso machines like Breville Oracle Touch comes with a built-in PID controller. So, whether you’re a coffee fan or just enjoy a good espresso shot, a PID-equipped espresso machine is definitely worth considering.

Other Heating Systems And PID In Espresso Machine

Graph showing difference between PID and Other heating system
PID VS. Other Heating Systems

Are you curious about the difference between an espresso machine with a PID and a thermostat or other heating system? Well, let me break it down for you.

Espresso machines with thermostats heat the water with a simple on/off mechanism. Once the water reaches a specific temperature, the heating element turns off, and when the temperature drops below a certain threshold, it turns back on. 

However, there is some drawback to this heating method.

The water temperature can be inconsistent, as thermostats only measure the temperature in one area. Additionally, turning on and off at larger intervals means the temperature can fluctuate more. This fluctuation leads to a less stable brew. In other words, it’s like trying to hit a moving target with a stationary arrow.

The Benefits of PID in Espresso Machine

PID controllers use advanced mathematical algorithms to maintain a precise water temperature at all times. Unlike thermostats, PID controllers continuously monitor the water temperature. They make small adjustments to keep the temperature as close to the optimal as possible. It means the temperature is much more stable and consistent, resulting in a better-tasting espresso shot.

Comparison chart of  other heating system vs. PID In espresso machine
Comparison Chart between Traditonal Heating System and PID in Espresso Machine

So, while espresso machines with thermostats may be less expensive, they are less reliable and less precise than those with PID controllers. If you’re serious about your espresso, it’s worth investing in a machine with a PID controller to ensure you get the best possible brew every time.

However, there are many espresso machines under $200 that come with a PID controller. So, you can get an espresso maker with PID without breaking the bank.

Final Thoughts About PID in Espresso Machine

PID temperature control is a helpful addition for espresso lovers and professional baristas alike. With their ability to maintain precise and stable water temperature, PID controllers help produce consistently delicious espresso shots every time.

Whether you’re brewing at home or in a cafe, the difference in taste and quality between a PID-equipped espresso machine and one without is noticeable. So, keep in mind, your espresso maker can give you perfecr espresso shot if there’s PID in espresso machine.


Yes, espresso machines with PID temperature control are generally more expensive than those without. However, the investment is worth it for those who want to achieve consistent and high-quality espresso shots.

A PID espresso machine offers several benefits, including precise temperature control, consistency in espresso shots, and the ability to adjust the temperature to suit different types of coffee beans.

It depends on your preferences and how serious you are about your coffee. If you’re a casual coffee drinker, a PID in espresso machine may not be necessary. However, if you want to achieve the perfect espresso shot every time, a PID-equipped machine is a great investment.

In some cases, adding a PID controller to an existing espresso machine may be possible. However, consulting with a professional is important to ensure that the installation is done correctly and doesn’t damage the machine.

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