Getting Started

ECM Synchronika: User Manual

Set Up Your ECM Synchronika. In this manual, you should find everything you to need to operate and maintain your dual boiler, E61 espresso machine.

Thank you for purchasing the ECM Synchronika dual boiler espresso machine. Your German designed and built E61 machine features a rotary pump with a built-in PID and shot timer that can be direct plumbed or run on its built-in reservoir. In this manual, you should find everything you to need to operate and maintain your machine. Please read carefully before using your machine. And if we've missed anything, you always know how to contact us. Let's get started!

Machine Description

Included Accessories

  • 1 Single spouted portafilter
  • 1 Double spouted portafilter
  • 1 Single filter basket
  • 1 Double filter basket
  • 1 Stainless steel tamper
  • 1 Blind disk for backflushing
  • 1 metal hose 1/8” 3/8”
  • 1 cleaning brush
  • 1 demi-tasse grid
  • 1 drainage container
  • 1 user manual

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PID-Temperature Control

The function of a PID-Temperature Control is to regulate the temperature of both boilers. The temperature of the boilers are programmable and controllable independently from each other. You have the ability to extract coffee at varying temperatures. PID stands for “proportional-integral-derivative” The temperature plays an integral role in coffee preparation. The PID-control displays the temperature of the coffee boiler and the steam boiler alternately. The position of the period indicates which boiler's temperature is currently being displayed.
*temperature displayed in Celsius

Water supply connection


  1. Open the cup warming tray.
  2. Take out the water tank and rinse it thoroughly.
  3. Fill the water tank with fresh filtered and softened water, place it back into the water tank guides and close the cup warming tray.
  4. Plug the machine into an electrical outlet and position the brew lever upwards. Turn the machine on by placing the metal power switch in the upper position. The coffee boiler is now being heated and the green control lamp will come on. In order to turn on the steam boiler as well, please make sure that the switch located under the drip tray is in position ‘1’. The machine is now turned on. The pump is activated and is filling the steam boiler with fresh water. Both boilers are being heated in succession.
  5. As soon as water is released through the brew group, position the brew lever back downward. The coffee boiler is now filled with water. Since much water is used for the initial filling of the boilers, the water tank has to then be refilled with water.
  6. As soon as the steam boiler is filled with water, the pump will become quiet and the PID-display will show the current temperature of both boilers. When the fresh water in the water tank drops to a certain level, the machine shuts down and the PID-display turns off. You now have to refill fresh water. The machine automatically heats up again.
  7. Wait until the boiler pressure gauge indicates a value of about 1.0 – 1.25 bars.
  8. Manual boiler venting is not necessary because the Synchronika contains a professional Anti-Vacuum valve, which automatically vents the boiler during the heat-up phase. This venting is released through the circular port directly above the drip tray. Caution, steam forms in the drip tray!
  9. The machine is now operational.

For directions on how to plumb in your machine take a look at our plumbing guide.

  1. Plug the machine into an electrical outlet. Place the brew lever into the upper position. Turn the machine on by placing the metal switch in the upper position. The coffee boiler is now being heated and the green control lamp will come on. In order to turn on the steam boiler as well, please press the right switch (symbol: steam) located under the drip tray to position ‘1’. The orange control lamp now lights up. Caution! Please make sure that the left switch for the direct water connection (symbol: water tap) is in position ‘1’ (image 2). The machine is now on, the pump is activated and is filling fresh water into the steam boiler. Both boilers are being heated in succession.
  2. As soon as water is discharged from the brew group, place the brew lever back into the lower position. The coffee boiler is now filled with water.
  3. As soon as the steam boiler is filled with water, no more pump noise will be heard and the PID-display indicates the current temperature of both boilers. Please wait until the pump pressure gauge indicates a value of ca. 1.0 – 1.25 bars.
  4. A manual boiler venting is not necessary because the Synchronika contains a professional Anti-Vacuum valve, which vents the boiler during the heat-up phase. This venting is released through the circular port directly above the drip tray. Caution, steam forms in the drip tray!
  5. The machine is now ready for use. Put the cups on the cup heater tray in order to preheat them and enjoy your coffee.

The water connecting hose is to be connected to the water supply adapter (image 1). When using the machine with direct water supply, the valve has to be turned towards the opposite side of the water supply adapter opening (image 1). The water supply adapter is located in the rear part of the bottom panel (image 1). Additionally, place the switch behind the drip tray into position “1” (image 2). Please make sure that your water tap is always open during water-connection usage so that the machine never runs out of water! Clive highly recommends using a pressure regulator with plumbed in machines.

Image 1 Image 2

Screen Shot 2019-01-21 at 4.15.16 PM

Valve in position “1” for operating Place switch into position “1” for
machine with direct water connection direct water connection

Machine in use with water tank
When using the machine with a water tank, please turn the valve towards the water supply adapter (image 3). Additionally, place the switch behind the drip tray into position “0” (image 4).

Image 3 Image 4

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Valve in position for operating Place switch into position “0“ when machine with water tank operating machine with water tank

Figuring out the right water to use doesn’t need to be super complex. Primarily, we are looking for clean, filtered water that has some but not too much mineral content. We recommend using water hardness test strips (we also include them with every direct-plumbable machine purchase). These test strips will allow you to measure exactly how hard your water is. We recommend using a water softener if you get a measurement of above 50 parts per million (PPM) or 3 grains per gallon (GPG). As mentioned above, some mineral content (above 30 PPM) is necessary for the best-tasting espresso, and also for the machine to run without overfilling the boilers. Reverse osmosis systems typically will take all the mineral out of the water, and this is problematic as well as the machine requires mineral content for many of the internal sensors.
Checking your water hardness cannot be stressed enough because water that is too hard can cause excessive scale buildup inside your machine. This will reduce heating efficiency, can clog water passages, lead to inaccurate readings from temperature and level probes, and cause failure of valves and seals which can cause a mess on your countertop. Also, because water quality in city water sources and wells changes seasonally, we recommend checking your water every three to four months.
The other basic requirement is filtration. This removes solids from the water, such as tiny pieces of dirt, rust, or grit. Additionally, water filters can reduce chlorine and other tastes and odors. Even if your water looks clean, there will still be a small amount of particulate matter that passes through, and this can lead to clogged water passages and leaking seals.
Filtration and softening prevent the most common threats to the reliability of your machine, but there are many other factors to consider. We recommend you seek out a local expert if you have any questions or concerns about your area’s water.
Remember that problems arising due to poor water quality are not covered by warranty. But if care is taken in filtration and softening, your machine will serve you well for years with minimal maintenance.

Water Options - Reservoir

Always check your water quality with test strips first because if you are in an area with soft water, you may only need to filter it. There are plenty of options for filtering and softening your water. A few options are filter/softening pitchers such as the Soma Water filter pitchers, in-tank water softeners, and bottled water. With bottled water, these also vary in terms of mineral content, so we also recommend testing the bottled water with test strips. A couple of affordable water bottle companies with just the right amount of mineral content are Crystal Geyser and Poland Springs.
Water Options - Direct Plumbed
If you plan to plumb in your machine or have it plumbed in already, we carry water filter only systems, and water filter and softening systems that come with all the fittings you need to connect directly to your water source on one end, and the water line directly to your machine on the other end. These are easy to install and will ensure you are getting the ideal water to your machine with every use.
During normal operation, the temperatures of the coffee boiler (t1, left dot on the display) and the steam boiler (t2, right dot on the display) are indicated alternately. The controls are factory pre-set so that both boilers are heated consecutively, whereby the coffee boiler (t1) has priority. This means that the steam boiler (t2) is activated only after the programmed temperature of the coffee boiler has been reached.

Turn off PID display feature:
There is the option to turn the PID display off: Press the + button until the display turns off. A dot will appear on the display, which indicates that the machine is still turned on. The display will be turned on again by pressing the +button once more.
Programming the group cleaning mode:
With the Synchronika you have the option to program a reminder for next the group cleaning at the PID display. The machine is set to 0 at the time of delivery. Please take the following steps to program the cleaning reminder: Press + and – at the same time and “t1” will appear on the display. Press the – button until you reach “CLn”. Now you can carry out the programming in steps of 10 by pressing + and -. In order to leave the programming mode, wait until “CLn” appears and then press the – button. Alternatively, the temperature indication appears automatically after 15 seconds. For example, if you have programmed 90, then you will be prompted with a “CLn” on the display to clean the brew group after 90 brewing cycles. Clean the brew group in such a manner that the brew group is flushed with at least 10 brewing cycles until the temperature indication re-appears on the display (see 7.2 Brew group cleaning, page 28).
We recommend a cleaning of the brew group after about 90 to 140 brewing cycles.

  1. Establish your setup so that you have your milk pitcher, espresso cup or shot glasses, and a bar towel ready. It is important that your machine has been on and is fully heated up.
  2. Remove the portafilter from the group head and dry it out with your towel. It is common for moisture and excess coffee grounds to be in the portafilter basket, but you will want to be sure everything is clean, dry and ready to go before brewing.
  3. Place your portafilter under the chute of your grinder and begin grinding. To ensure consistency, you should use a gram scale or have a time programmed on your grinder. You want to be sure that your coffee is no more than 10-14 days old and is properly stored away from air, moisture, and light. Coffee can be left in the bean hopper, just be sure it doesn't stay too full so that your coffee is only sitting in the hopper for a couple days at most.
  4. After grinding, the goal is to have a tidy pile of grounds in your basket.
  5. The next step is to settle your coffee grounds. While firmly holding your portafilter handle, give the flat part of your portafilter head two even and firm taps on your tamping mat or towel. This settles the mound and rids your grounds of any air pockets that could cause channeling, or uncontrolled espresso sprays during your shot extraction (this is only seen when using bottomless portafilters).
  6. Now it's time to make the coffee bed level. With the flat part of your portafilter basket level on the counter, use your pointer finger to swipe the grounds front, back, left, and right. Be careful to not pat or poke the coffee grounds. Each small detail in your routine plays a major role in the consistency of your process so pay close attention to the details of your technique and do the same thing every time.
  7. Next, we tamp. Tamping establishes a coffee bed that is even and level. When you tamp properly, the coffee bed will build op uniform resistance to the pressurized brewing water and ensures even extraction. Be sure your portafilter is flat and that you aren't tamping at an angle. Grasp your tamper handle as if you were shaking hands with a door knob. With your elbow at a 90-degree angle, apply light, even, and equal force to the coffee bed. Use your thumb and forefinger to help evenly guide your tamper into the basket. You are just leaning your weight into the tamp, no need to brutally tamp as hard as you possibly can.
  8. Tamp once. You do not need to tamp a second or third time, but feel free to lightly spin the tamper to settle excess grounds into the coffee bed. This is not a necessity.
  9. You can purge the group head for a second to ensure the water and grouphead are up to optimum temperature. This also removes any old grounds and coffee oils from the screen.
  10. Carefully install portafilter into grouphead. Start with the handle at about a 8 o'clock position and rotate counterclockwise until it is locked in snug- no need to wrench the thing into place.
  11. Now the fun part: Engage the pump to begin pulling your shot. You should see the first drops of your shot appear at about 6-9 seconds depending on the age and type of coffee as well as the portafilter type. The drops will take a few seconds to form a steady and constant stream that resembles warm honey. Once the stream thickens and picks up speed the color will go from the darker red-brown to a more homogenous color.
  12. Once the shot hits the 1.5-2oz mark, stop your shot. If you need to make adjustments to your grinder, jump to the next section 'ADJUSTING YOUR GRINDER'. If your shot is where you want it, either enjoy it immediately or combine it with steamed milk. Read more in the following section 'STEAMING MILK'. Alternatively, float the espresso on top of some hot water for an Americano.
  13. After pulling your shot remove your portafilter and knock your grounds into a knock box or trash can. This is a good habit to get into and will reduce coffee build up on the shower screen.

Now you're ready to start pulling shots! Check out our All About Coffee & Milk section to learn about steaming milk, latte art, our suggested starter espresso recipe, grinder dial-in tips and much more!
Helpful Links
All About Coffee & Milk | ECM Synchronika Articles | Water & Setup | Clive Blog
Espresso Machine Cleaning & Maintenance
Manufacturer Manual in PDF