Help for a newbie
I was recently given the Sunbeam mini barista EM4300 and Sunbeam grindfresh EM0440 for my birthday and have been playing around with it. First and foremost, I understand that this is a very basic machine and grinder and therefore cannot expect an amazing quality espresso. However, Iím not sure if I am getting the best out of the equipment that I have. The espresso is tasting quite sour and lacks any sort of Ďbodyí.
The beans that I used were espresso blends (Ex-wife and 3056) from Code Black in Brunswick. I initially started the grind on 12 (recommended range in grinder manual was 12-15) and found that my shots were being extracted too quickly. It was taking roughly 10 secs to produce 30mls using the single filter. From what Iíve read on this forum, the aim seems to be ~30 secs for 30ml. I thought my grind may have been too coarse and worked my way down to the finest setting of 1. Aside from the coffee tasting more sour and lacking body, the extraction time never seemed to slow down. I feel like my tamping is fine and the puck is firm but not soggy.
What at am I doing wrong? Is it the limitations of the machine/grinder? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hi there newbie. It sounds like youíre on the right track there. The Mini Barista looks like a reasonably capable little machine thatís not dissimilar to the old Cafe Crema II. I had a Cafe Crema II in the past and it was able to produce a pretty reasonable shot if used well. Iíd say the Mini Barista should be able to do a little better than what youíve managed so far.
Originally Posted by Schepckle
It sounds like youíre using freshly roasted coffee from a local roaster so thatís a good start. (More often than not we get new home baristas one here wondering why they canít make a good coffee with preground Lavazza from Coles). So I think the most likely problem is that the grinder isnít grinding fine enough.
I bought exactly the same grinder second hand recently and had the same issue. I was able to get it working properly by adding a shim to the grind shaft. A Ďshimí is merely an extremely thin washer. There were already 5 factory fitted ones in there and from previous experience Iím now running at the limits of the grinder with 6, but itís going ok.
So I suggest you look at doing the same. As your grinder is brand new you should be able to get a couple of shims direct from Sunbeam free of charge. I know thatís what they used to do if you could provide proof of purchase so I would give them a call and see what they say. If this is what you need to do Iím pretty sure they send instructions with the shim kit on how to fit it, but they can be found online if not. If Sunbeam canít or wonít help you can try a service agent (someone like Ewingís or Ellis Electrical).
So start with a call to Sunbeam and let us know how you go.
PS. If the portafilter has a plastic insert in it underneath the filter basket I highly recommend you take it out. This is because grime builds up under it and will eventually taint the coffee.
The first thing I would do is to source a 58mm single wall basket for it, and then find the grind that works using your current grinder. Installing the shims is a good idea (easily found in ebay for about $2 shipped if you need to go that path).
Your machine comes with dual wall baskets I think. No amount of tinkering with the tamp would improve it. It is set to give a suboptimal but foolproof extraction with nearly any ground coffee and even with no tamping.
I thought this machine came with single wall baskets? If not then Ďempty123í is right, itís the first thing you should try before fiddling with the grinder.
I thought so too Leroy but as is usual with the lower end Sunbeams, they only come with the dual wall. I checked the manual and sure enough, single wall baskets are optional (they take the regular single wall ones from EM6910 so it shouldnít be that hard to source).
Thank you both for your advice
I will try getting a single wall basket first and then go with the shim kits if all else fails.
Might be worth checking whether the burr assembly is seated correctly in your grinder,I've had a number of these machines (including the 0480) that despite inserted the burrs just won't sit close enough to give the necessary fine grind.
Follow the instructions (or look at some YouTube clips).
Occasionally the little guides at the base of the burr basket can break and then it's impossible to get any sort of reasonable grind....a real expensive fix as the replacement parts are way overpriced.
Hope it's just a misaligned burr to correct before you need to buy all these new things.