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Thread: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

  1. #1
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    Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi Guys :)

    Ive been lurking for about a week now an this new found obsession is really messing up my study schedule for uni ;D

    So, I bought a sunbeam cafe crema for my dad this fathers day so fresh out the box Sunday.

    First thing Ill have to do I think is get an unpressurized basket and a good tamper, he already had a c-mill grinder but we havent used it yet, got a pre ground bag to start with but I think its a bit fine. he managed two explosive shots, and I got two ok and one awful :s

    Neither of us could foam milk like the guy on the DVD but I guess thats practice.

    So I guess all I want to ask is where should I go from here? Im going to pick up some merlo private blend beans from uni and hopefully a basket on an auction site Im not sure if Im allowed to name?

    Thanks for listening to my confused noob rabble :)

  2. #2
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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Hi there,
    I just upgraded from the cafe crema, its a great starting machine. I had mine for nearly 10 years.
    Make sure you dont overdose it with coffee or tighten the handle too much because youll split the collar (only $30 to replace but inconvenient). I was a bit hard on mine as i am used to commercial machines.
    Unpressurised baskets are best but only for use with fresh coffee.
    Dont use the rubber steam wand thingy, its a waste of time and just gets dirty, much quicker and better with just the bare wand.
    If youre making more than one set of coffees try not to pour shots straight after steaming milk as it may over heat, (give it a minute to relax the steam pressure first)
    Enjoy the new machine!

  3. #3
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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Oh! Thanks so much :) where did you find an appropriate tamper for this machine? Looks like I cant find much under $30? Am I being unrealistic? Also, Ive been spooning in about 15g into the double basket and tamping fairly lightly just enough to press it down and make it level.. Any harder or any more coffee and it looks like its going to explode?

    Any ideas? :)

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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    When I say looks like... I mean as we turn the group handle to remove the portafilter there is a bit of a steamy coffee ground mess exploding out... But the shot would pour 30ml in 30seconds? I dont know what to try and change to fix this? :-[

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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Wait for the pressure valve release before taking out the handle, unpressurised basket may help with this too. Ive got a spare one that doesnt fit my new machine now i can send you (message me your details if youd like it).
    If the handle takes more effort to go on with coffee in it as when its empty then youve got too much coffee in it.
    I got a tamper from a local roaster for $28 (any cheaper and its probably no better than the plastic one anyway)
    30ml 30sec is good but its more about the taste and texture with this machine, i never found the timing etc very consistant depending on how long it was preheating etc.
    Someone else on here may be able to help though.

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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Im using the Sunbeam Cafe Crema and EM0480 combination, with a Krupps double unpressurised basket and the *plastic "tamper" that came with the machine. * *It doesnt have a three-way valve so you need to wait for the pressure to subside before you undo the handle - even with an unpressurised basket. If you wait until after you have frothed the milk to remove the *handle it gives, with an unpressurised basket, a reasonably dry puck. If you are doing a couple of coffees in a row without milk, then it comes out wet, and with a distinct release of pressure which can throw coffee grounds in your eye if you dont give it a short wait ...

    With the pressurised baskets I never managed to get the 30second 30ml pour - always much faster. With supermarket coffee they give something that is black with a froth on top and which contains caffeine; with a good dose of milk on top it is a good deal better than instant but not for me drinkable as espresso. *The depressurised basket and freshly ground freshly roasted coffee give me a good result with most beans - the Espresso Wow from bean bay is excellent and Ive tried a couple of single origin beans from my local roaster (Coffee Craft, a very helpful site sponsor). *
    I can manage to froth milk OK with just the bare steam wand, but it will only do small quanitites at once.


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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Ah thanks Susan :) I think this is what I found with my so far good attempt I did the milk and cleaned up a bit before removing it, but I couldnt be sure! Also, how do you manage to negotiate the supplied jug under the small steam wand?

    Thanks so much for your comment :)

    Also ;) just for the record when I said I got reground coffee I mean that I went to a roaster and bought a bag of beans that the nice lady ground for me then and there but that was only because I dont think the grinder I have will be of much use for espresso... Have to wait for Christmas for the 480 :D

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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Ive got a slightly smaller jug that works better than the supplied jug, but I dont have too many problems with the one that comes with the machine other than getting bored waiting for it to heat that much milk up!

    It makes a huge difference using freshly ground rather than preground (even freshly roasted preground!). Im not exactly the most refined coffee snob - I like coffee strong enough to stand up a spoon in, and the subtlety of most single varieties are wasted on me - but even I can taste the difference. I was getting better results, taste wise, using a choppy-blade grinder than using (freshly) preground coffee.

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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Just made my first cup with the beans I bought today :) it was ok, but my grinder has huge difficulty grinding fine enough for the machine!! So the resulting coffee was pretty weak as the run through was super quick :(

    Also, I followed your guide to wait until after steaming my milk and it was perfect!!! Hardly any mess!!

    At least the double shot was enough to almost satisfy...

    Im really surprised though I think I like the Colombian supremo beans way more than the merlo private blend beans everyone raves about :s

    So now!!! New grinder seems super vital!

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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Ok. So getting into serious business now. Ive been pulling consistantly decent shots, showing signs of general improvement I think...

    Until friday. And I havnt been able to make a decent cup since!!

    Every pour has shot through! I brought the grinder down to 10 and tamped north south east west like was shown at the sunbeam school.

    Is 10 still too high a level on the em0480? Im using di Bella dolce sapori and its raining outside :/

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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Oh and by shot through Im estimating about 50ml in 15seconds...

    I am filling the group handle about halfway, tapping the side filling it up, flattening, light tamp a little more coffee then heavy tamp. (into the non pressurized basket just a little below the 2 line)


  12. #12
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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Quote Originally Posted by 022B2B2E22252222470 link=1283816504/10#10 date=1284930633
    Im estimating about 50ml in 15seconds
    A bit fast me thinks.

    Quote Originally Posted by 022B2B2E22252222470 link=1283816504/9#9 date=1284930459
    Is 10 still too high a level on the em0480?
    Numbers are only relative to your grinder not others.
    Go finer; thats why there are more numbers.

    Quote Originally Posted by 79505055595E59593C0 link=1283816504/10#10 date=1284930633
    I am filling the group handle <snip> just a little below the 2 line
    Need more coffee to get it to the 2 line.


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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Oh I agree its definitely too fast, tried it again on 8... Seemed a bit slower but still a bit bitter and fast ... More like 30ml in 15 seconds... I thought under 10 might clog up something? The manual calls this Turkish grind?

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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Quote Originally Posted by 1039393C30373030550 link=1283816504/12#12 date=1284939036
    I thought under 10 might clog up something?
    Ignore the numbers. The best grind is the one that gives the best pour at the time.

    Also, check out your coffee puck for cracking, pitting or worm holes. These indicate weak spots in the puck that allow the water under pressure to escape through quickly.
    Cracks can form if the basket is tapped after tamping or if the basket is overfull when inserted into the grouphead (Although it sounds like you are not overfilling the basket).
    Pitting and wormholes can be caused from poor distribution.

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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Womholes!! Im pretty sure this is my proble
    ??

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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Quote Originally Posted by 68414144484F48482D0 link=1283816504/14#14 date=1284940570
    Womholes!! Im pretty sure this is my proble
    Not necessarily. Eliminate one thing at a time. You said earlier you were getting good pours until you changes beans along with wet weather. This suggests you were getting the right distribution but need to adjust the grind.
    You said you "tamped north south east west" - this is the so-called Staub tamp. Ill leave it to others to comment on how effective it is on Sunbeam machines but uneven tamps can lead to weak spots in the puck and uneven (and fast) pours. I tend to use a level tamp after ensuring the grounds are distributed evenly in the basket.

    Under-dosing may also cause a fast pour so make sure you fill as TG suggested if that is what is correct for the Sunbeam.
    Also, start with a dry filter basket by giving the inside a quick wipe before filling..

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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    No, I mean i did notice one or two small holes (about 1-2mm) in the puck?

    Unfortunately the only reason Im Staub tamping is because the 2 tampers we have arent quite large enough.

    Measured with digital calipers (sp?) the filter basket is 51.6mm, the plastic tamper is 49.2mm and the metal tamper is 50.4mm

  18. #18
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Getting the best out of a Sunbeam Cafe Crema

    Hmmm..two wormholes huh? Have a read of this on sponsor Greg Pullmans site.

    You can also buy 51mm tampers but Ive managed to get a good result from a plastic tamper (on my previous VBM Piccolo) just using a straightforward centre tamp. The tamper was several mm under a good fit.




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