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Thread: Machine and Grinder opinions please

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    Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello

    I am looking at getting my first espresso machine and grinder.
    I have been using my father in laws EM5600, which I think produces quite a good coffee, and I have got the hang of that. He has a Sunbeam EMD450 grinder I think it is, which grinds pretty good too.
    I know this is an entry level machine with a pressurised basket, which you dont need to be as skilled to use as the more epensive machines, but for what it is - the coffe you get out of it is actually quite good. Better than some cafes around. However there have been a few issues with the machine, which has been sorted by the place he purchased it from etc.

    Basically I am wanting to know what people think I should be getting, in the entry level category.

    I am tossing up between the following:

    Sunbeam EM5600 $280 (Scored #1 on NZ Consumer Magazine, but I assume they dont know as good as you guys, and are more about value for money than how awesome the coffee is. Scored 7.6/10 for coffee making, 7.5/10 for taste, 7.5/10 for frothing)
    Breville 800ES $399 (scored #9... scored 5.6/10 for coffee making, 5/10 for taste, 7.6/10 for froth)
    Breville BES820 $520 (a little more than I would ideally want to spend however, but may go for it if people think its much better than other ones available...)
    anything else I should consider?...

    and the grinders:
    Delonghi KG100 $189 (scored #2 in NZ Consumer Magazine, but I have read some not so good things on here?, scored 9/10 for fineness and 5.6/10 for speed)
    Sunbeam EM0480 $179 (seems to be rated quite good on here, but some people have had issues with the grind not changing?)
    Subbeam EMD450 (same as EM0450?)... scored #4 (9/10 for fineness, 6/10 for speed)
    Breville BCG450 $129.90 (scored #5, scored 9/10 for fineness, 6.6/10 for speed)

    Now I know the Consumer score will be just as good as the Choice scores in Auz, which rate things on ease of use, ease of cleaning, looks etc as well as general coffee making etc, so they wont judge them like you snobs will, and will change the true scoring to what they should be.

    Any help would be much appriciated
    James

  2. #2
    A_M
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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    1: I can not comment on the Coffee Machines at this level.. Will leave that to others..

    2: Having both the EM0480 and KG100 - I fail to see how the KG could be scored above the EM0480.

    Get the best grinder you can afford and that way when you upgrade you coffee machine you grinder will still be of use... It will also give you more control over you coffee and options even with the cheaper machines.

    Lots of chat in the grinder section on the EM0480 and how to clean and mod / adjust the grind if your system needs it.

    NOTE: Fresh beans is a must....

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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes I use fresh beans, so that wont be an issue.

    The problem I am finding is finding information on the internet that is actually correct. The reviews I have read seem to say one thing, but then things on this site say another. And also when it comes to quality, its not necessarely how expensive an item is to how good it is. ie the EM0480 is cheaper then than KG100....

    I am just new to the site so still finding my way around. I didnt realise there was a grinder section. I will have a look. Thanks.

    I am wondering if I should just bite the bullet and get a EM6910 and EM0480, as I have seen some posts on here about them being quite a good pair.
    I am a little confused still about the whole pressurised/non-pressurised baskets, and if a machine which came with a pressurised basket can be used with a non pressurised basket etc...
    And I assume if they can and you did change to a non pressurised basket, you then have to get your dose, tamper etc correct rather than being able to rely as much on the machine sorting itself with the pressurised basket.

    Even on here I am finding conflicting information, which is normal as everyone has their own opinions etc.

    ie you dont need to tamper and level and dose quite as stict with a pressurised basket as you do with a non-pressurised basket - etc... as the basket sorts itself so to speak - is a comment like that correct?

    My father has an expensive hand draw espresso machine, one with the lever you pull down on to get the pressure etc, and an expensive grinder, and uses fresh beans, and his coffees are amazing. I cant afford a setup like that however.

    Cheers
    James

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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    James,

    Welcome to CS,

    I too dont know much about the coffee machines.... but the KG100 isnt an espresso grinder (even when modified as I did... without modification it isnt even close).....

    The EM0480 is an "entry level" espresso grinder (there are many which are far better - but more expensive).... it is a real espresso grinder...

    So with the above in mind..... I would suggest the NZ Consumer Magazines articles on coffee equipment are as useful as Choice is here..... Rip em up and hang them behind the "dunny door"...... At least that way they will be of some use!!!

  5. #5
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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    You might want to consider the Sunbeam 6910.
    You can get them now in Oz for under $550 if you shop around.

    The EM0450 seems to be the cheapest grinder that gets recommended here.
    I have one.
    Its OK but I have some better ones I use instead.
    I now keep it for taking on holidays so I can assure myself of a decent coffee when away from home.

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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Quote Originally Posted by WanaGo link=1231366324/0#2 date=1231373171
    ie you dont need to tamper and level and dose quite as stict with a pressurised basket as you do with a non-pressurised basket - etc... as the basket sorts itself so to speak - is a comment like that correct?

    Cheers
    James
    James,

    Yep pretty close to the truth..... a pressurised basket does a lot more for you..... but at the expensive of the flavour and crema of the resulting espresso. It "pressure cooks" the grinds and then forces the liquid out of a small hole so it is frothed up = crema! But it isnt true crema and tastes no where near as good.

    Most machines at the bottom end of the range come with these baskets..... they are designed so that people who dont have any experience can make an OK coffee.... and thats about it. Normal baskets require more expertise..... but the results are worth it.

    You can generally get replacement, non pressurised, baskets here in OZ to fit most machines (often not from the same manufacturer as the machine).... but you need to hunt around to find them..... Not sure how easy it would be in NZ.

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    A_M
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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Quote Originally Posted by WanaGo link=1231366324/0#2 date=1231373171
    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes I use fresh beans, so that wont be an issue.
    The end of you posts suggest that you know what Fresh beans are... That is good as many buy from supermarkets and assume FRESH..


    The problem I am finding is finding information on the internet that is actually correct. The reviews I have read seem to say one thing, but then things on this site say another. And also when it comes to quality, its not necessarely how expensive an item is to how good it is. ie the EM0480 is cheaper then than KG100....
    Every one has a right to their opinion... However it does depend on experience and many times the Reviews (Choice included) is taken from the users. While this has some merit, it does not always mean the right information is gathered / reported.

    I am wondering if I should just bite the bullet and get a EM6910 and EM0480, as I have seen some posts on here about them being quite a good pair.
    It is a reasonable match... But even so, the EM0480 does not do the EM6910 justness.

    I am a little confused still about the whole pressurised/non-pressurised baskets, and if a machine which came with a pressurised basket can be used with a non pressurised basket etc...
    The 6910 has both, while other cheeper unit only have the double floor baskets. They can use the single floor baskets, but you may not be able to get baskets for them.

    And I assume if they can and you did change to a non pressurised basket, you then have to get your dose, tamper etc correct rather than being able to rely as much on the machine sorting itself with the pressurised basket.

    ie you dont need to tamper and level and dose quite as stict with a pressurised basket as you do with a non-pressurised basket - etc... as the basket sorts itself so to speak - is a comment like that correct?
    Correct. The pressurised baskets are made to provide the right back pressure and to provide a crema of sorts. This way, with stale beans and a course grind... The flow is still defined and you get an output that often looks OK to even Great. However the taste may not be as you might expect, but often better than some cafes :o

    With a good grinder (fine grind - espresso) and fresh beans, these baskets then add to the back pressure and then can cause the system to choke .


    Even on here I am finding conflicting information, which is normal as everyone has their own opinions etc.
    That is why CS is great... You get a balanced outcome... Now the EM6910 and EM0480 is not the bees knees... However it has a market nich and does perform well.

    My father has an expensive hand draw espresso machine, one with the lever you pull down on to get the pressure etc, and an expensive grinder, and uses fresh beans, and his coffees are amazing. I cant afford a setup like that however.

    Cheers
    James
    You move back home and only agree to move out if you take his set-up ;D

  8. #8
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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Thanks very much - that information is great.
    Still chuckling about the comments about the dunny... I had a laugh

    The Consumer magazine here may be slightly different, as the review was done by 4 indepentant coffee experts.... who had all the machines they tested side by side, and conducted a range of tests. It wasnt a user review as such.

    I will upload the reviews for the espresso machines, grinders and coffee beans - I have pasted them into a word doc, and will upload to my website. I will post the address when its up - am on a very slow wireless connection at the moment.

    I read the review here (http://www.coffeetamper.com.au/kb/reviews/sunbeam-silvia/) about the 6910, and while it has its negatives, it sounds like a good machine I think.

    However, compared to the EM5600 I have used and do get a good coffee from - as we use fresh beans and a 450 grinder.... is a EM6910 going to be hugely better with the same fresh beans and a 480 grinder, with a non-pressurised basket.... I am assuming it will, as grind and basket will improved.

    Ill upload the review now, as im sure it will spark some interesting conversation, which I WANT TO HEAR ABOUT!

    Cheers
    James

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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    I think that people usually assume, for some reason, that cheaper machines are somehow good beginner machines because people who start out buy them. In fact, generally speaking, the more expensive machines are easier to use. Most people also find it counter-intuitive that you generally improve your espresso more by buying a better grinder than a better machine and that pairing machines and grinders from the same manufacturer wont necessarily result in the best results for the money.

    On this forum, there is a culture that respects everyones machines. Whilst thats lovely, it makes it difficult to get a straight answer about what you should buy. So allow me to offer an opinion to ignore: its very simple if you want to buy an entry level machine. Get the sunbeam em6910; you can find it even cheaper than TG said if you check e bay. Pair it with a sunbeam em0450 or em0480 if you want the cheapest grinder that will be barely adequate. Pair it with a more expensive iberital challenge if you want to have more control over espresso. Pair it with a Compak K3-Touch if you want the cheapest grinder that will conceivably satisfy you for the next decade. The em6910 is excellent value because it also comes with a training session and a few doohickies that you would otherwise have to buy. I dont think that it will make great espresso easily, but you should be very happy with what it produces if you use fresh coffee with it. It should produce great milk drinks. Expect the machine to break down in a few years.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Here is the report
    Let me know what you think!

    http://www.taktik.co.nz/ConsumerReport.doc

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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    James,

    Had a quick read..... and looks very much like Choice..... and about as worthwhile.

    The thing which immediately discredits the review is the discussion about type of machine at the beginning....

    Let me provide an accurate description...

    A manual machine heats the water and you do the rest (what your father has!)
    A semi auto heats the water and has a pump (vibrator or rotary) which provides the pressure.... you stop and start extraction. (Like a Silvia)
    An automatic is the same as a semi but dispenses the set volume of espresso (EM6910)
    A super automatic grinds the beans, loads the PF, tamps and extracts the espresso....

    So their descriptions are WAY off the mark...... and anyone who really knows anything about coffee machines wouldnt make that kind of mistake... unless they were "dumbing down" the review as they though the readers wouldnt understand...... says something about their target audience if that is the case...

    Yep, good thing I didnt print it..... or would be the "dunny door" ;) ;D ;D

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    A_M
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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1231366324/0#10 date=1231379867
    James,

    Had a quick read..... and looks very much like Choice..... and about as worthwhile.

    The thing which immediately discredits the review is the discussion about type of machine at the beginning....

    Let me provide an accurate description...

    A manual machine heats the water and you do the rest (what your father has!)
    A semi auto heats the water and has a pump (vibrator or rotary) which provides the pressure.... you stop and start extraction. (Like a Silvia)
    An automatic is the same as a semi but dispenses the set volume of espresso (EM6910)
    A super automatic grinds the beans, loads the PF, tamps and extracts the espresso....

    So their descriptions are WAY off the mark...... and anyone who really knows anything about coffee machines wouldnt make that kind of mistake... unless they were "dumbing down" the review as they though the readers wouldnt understand...... says something about their target audience if that is the case...

    Yep, good thing I didnt print it..... or would be the "dunny door" ;) ;D ;D
    I fully concur with the above... *I scanned the whole document and found any number of errors and conclusions that did not make sense - if one was assuming experienced reviewers.

    I have had and used a number of the items listed and can only suggest they glossed over the real issue as they have made an assumption as to their perception of the Market audience as JavaB suggested..

    Further more some of the findings on the Grinders (no mention of what happens with the KG units when you turn the timer the wrong way) and Beans also had me gasping for fresh air and a fresh coffee to calm me down... *;) *Further more I *also discovered; that even the printed copy did not perform as expected in the outhouse.

  13. #13
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    There was that dreaded comment regarding the need for "cord storage". *::)

    "Practice, practice, practice!" They said.
    Its spelled practise. http://www.world-english.org/practise_practice.htm

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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Depending on how much you want to spend -

    I have the 6910 / EM0480 combo and I am very very happy with it. None of the local coffee shops (OK, we only have Muffin break, Robert Harris & Esquires in the mall where I work) make coffee as good as I do at home, and if I do "splurge" on a coffee, I am generally left underwhelmed.

    You should be able to pick up this pairing for circa $700 from a HN / Noel Leeming / Smiths City and potentially with some interest free period and / or some goodies (bang bang, barista pack etc) to sweeten the deal.

    You may also like to have a nosey around trademe, there are quite a few "new" machines that are sold on there, mostly Isomacs and Gaggias (there is an Isomac machine with internal grinder for around $900 IIRC which seems reasonable value, if they are a good machine??).

    I think you may need to be careful about what machine you choose and that it meets your expectations now and in the future. If you are used to some exceptional coffee from your fathers set up, you could very well be bitterly dissapointed at an entry level set up.

    Sen

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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Quote Originally Posted by Senator link=1231366324/0#13 date=1231381996
    If you are used to some exceptional coffee from your fathers set up, you could very well be bitterly dissapointed at an entry level set up.
    A very good point.

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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Thanks for that info

    I am not use to my fathers coffee so to speak, as he lives in the Nth island and I am now in the Sth - I have had a few coffees from my Father-in-laws EM5600 however and they were quite tasty.... and im sure a 6910 and 480 will produce a tastier cup.

    Thanks very much - really appriciate the info

    James

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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Guess what.... :)

    I just got myself a EM6910 and EM0480.
    Prices in NZ are going up for Sunbeam apparently, some stores already changing their prices back up to $999NZ, some still at $799NZ. However I went in with my father in law who is a great negotiator, and managed to get an EM6910 down from the $999NZ to $610NZ :), and got the grinder down to $168 :)

    Happy chappy :)

    Did the pressurised basket pressure test, and then did a guess grind with the double non-pressurised basket, and poured a brew. The pressure was a bit higher than the test, but the coffee came out pretty damn good for factory settings and the first guessed grind! no waste, and one drinkable coffee with a good 10cm crema.
    Tried a single shot next with the same grind, and it went off the scale, and was an undrinkable mess. Very very slow pour. adjusted the grind and that came out good too. So 2/3 drinkable, so happy with the first play :)

    Thanks all for the help.
    Just trying to find recommended settings for the machine, but forgotten where I read it... will keep looking.

    Machine vibrates a bit eh!

    Cheers
    James

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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Found the settings.... was on the Silvia/6910 review.

    Espresso Thermoblock +4 (therefore 96C)
    Steam Thermoblock +10 (10 above factory)
    Steam Pump Rate -2

    Are these settings recommended by people here? If so, or if not, can someone tell me why these were changed for the review, and what benefits I would get from changing them from factory?

    Thanks
    James

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    A_M
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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Quote Originally Posted by 4B7D727D5B731C0 link=1231366324/17#17 date=1231755660
    Found the settings.... was on the Silvia/6910 review.

    1:- Espresso Thermoblock +4 (therefore 96C)
    2: - Steam Thermoblock +10 (10 above factory)
    3: - Steam Pump Rate -2

    Are these settings recommended by people here? If so, or if not, can someone tell me why these were changed for the review, and what benefits I would get from changing them from factory?

    Thanks
    James
    Well it depends some what on the machine and the beans...

    1: Due to accuracy and other losses / methods - Most users appear to like either the default or either of the two higher temps.... But not lower.

    Depending on the beans I tend to like the +2 these days...

    As to Steam... It is a matter of playing to see what performs the best for your style and the milk you use...

    OH... Remember the grinder will take a little time to bed in and every time you change beans be prepared to have to adjust... Unless your supplier has great QA.

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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    Yeah I have already noticed interesting results with the grinder. I did change beans and I had to adjust finer about 5 settings in order to get it back to a similar sort of pressure reading and pour. Interesting...

    One annoying thing about coffee machines is you make coffee as the result.... what I mean is, trying to play to get the settings right, you end up with a load of coffee, and without friends there to drink with you, one ends up rather wired!
    All good fun :) I will stick with the coffee I have now, and see how that goes for a while.

    Already starting to dislike the grinder a bit. Its extremely messy, even if you hold the pf right up to the spout - I have found. And its very clumpy. :(

    Ah well.

    Cheers
    James

  21. #21
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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    At work and home I do not grind into the PF... Most units are a little messy..

    I use a Steel / metal TEA container that has a tight lid. I also use a mini SS milk jug at times and GRIND into these...

    As my grinder is on the opposite side to the coffee machine... It does make sense... I then take my grinds to my Coffee making station and use a scoop to fill my PF... Which has been warming up...

    Thus it reduces lots of mess.. Oh and I also use either teh SB Si snout attachment and before that I used a pvc 20mm (I think) 90deg bend cut in half.. As it helps to get the grinds into the PF or tin and reduces all the static.

  22. #22
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    Re: Machine and Grinder opinions please

    I think it was Mal who suggested reducing the grinding mess by making a sort of funnel/collar about an inch tall from a yoghurt carton. It fits into the portafilter. Then one tap on the table to settle the grounds, remove the funnel and tamp.

    No mess, no waste, quick and easy.

    Greg



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