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Thread: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

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    Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,

    My first post here (!) and unfortunately its not a happy one...

    I bought a Sunbeam EM5900 2 days ago and its driving me demented. There are a few things bugging me but the main issue is that it only managed to texture the milk nicely once, the first time I used it. I have tried 5 times since and each time I am getting nothing but a topping of foamy bubbles >:( I may as well be blowing into it with a straw.
    Having the tip below the milk level where I would usually place it makes a hell of a noise, and doesnt have the power to get the milk swirling.
    Not only is the steam inadequate from the wand but there is steam discharging into the drip tray from inside the machine at the same time - what is going on there??? Does anyone else have this??? I am sure that didnt happen the first time I used it, I would have noticed as it steams up the entire front of the machine. I am assuming the lack of steam pressure is due to most of it going into the drip tray :-?

    (I am sure its not my technique, I know what I am doing and been making coffee for over 10 years. I bought this machine to replace a Breville venezia, which although it was a cheapie, never failed me on the milk frothing. It just gave up living last week :( )

    Also, I just played around with the optional advanced settings for the steam but apart from making more noise, it didnt help.

    Is there something I am missing here or have I got a dud machine? The fact that it worked the first time is confusing me.

    Any advice most welcome- I am missing my lovely coffee! :(

  2. #2
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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    did you purge the steam tip soon-enough after you last used it? I have no experience with this machine, but if its steaming into the drip tray it may be blocked up? Although my Breville dumps a lot into the drip tray after steaming so it could just be a cooling flush (does the 5900 have 1 or 2 thermoblocks?)

    I dont mean to state the obvious, but its worth asking! Can you remove the tip or use a pin to see if its blocked?

  3. #3
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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Hey lattechino,
    Yes the steaming is a common issue withthe 5900. I have one and will probably upgrade soon. The problem in steaming with this one is that the hole on the steam tip is too big for the steam power. If it had more power it would work but its too weak for that size hole.. Just try taking the tip off and steaming and youll see what happens when the hole is too big (on an extreme example). If all the planets align you can get it to work but its bloody hard.
    I managed to get my hands on a tip from the Breville BES820 which fits fine, and the hole is about half the size, so steaming is a million times better.
    Check this thread as its been discussed at length there:
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1305938764
    It shouldnt be dumping steam into the tray while steaming, so something is wrong there and you might be losing power. Turn up the steam temp and wetness to max and see if that helps. if it keeps dumping steam into the tray, call customer service.
    Good luck!

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Thanks for the replies - iaindb- its definitely not blocked, on a brand new machine after one use it shouldnt be! But yes, I flushed the steam wand before and after and also taken off the tip and did the pin clean (I was so desperate to try everything) Its only a single thermoblock but Im not trying to do the coffee at the same time, so it should cope :(

    Hey jb- what a pain if the hole is too big! Wouldnt you think Sunbeam would know what they are doing by now?? I checked my old breville and the hole is much smaller on there, unfortunately mine doesnt fit my new one (but even if it did, I would hardly be happy putting an old scratched tip onto a brand new machine just to make milk >:( )

    I am sure the steam discharging into the tray has something to do with it, if you agree thats not usual then hopefully Cust service can help me. Unfortunately they are closed today for public holiday :(

    From reading other threads it seems there are a lot of issues with this machine, but also with the others I was considering. Really I would have thought I could get a decent coffee with a $400-$500 machine. My $200 breville was better than this!


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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    .....SO .... finally spoke to customer service, who agreed steam should not be discharging into the tray while Im steaming and that it sounds like a faulty machine. Directed me back to the store of purchase for a replacement.

    Personally, I am not impressed at all with this machine. Apart from the steam problem, as jb has said above there is a problem with the tip hole actually being too large, also the single basket that comes with it is ridiculously small even for me (and Im not a strong coffee drinker) so effectively useless. Luckily I have a single breville basket that fits. However I will not ever be happy with this if I cant make microfoam the way I like it!

    I would much rather my $$ back, and pick something else, or do a bit more research and pick another machine. Hubby (who cant use a machine but loves my coffees!) told me to me to buy the Breville 860, which I was practically drooling over :D but it was more expensive and I thought the sunbeam would be fine. WRONG!

    Off to the store to see how co-operative they will be. I know they have to replace a faulty item, but I wonder if I can exchange for something else ...... :-/


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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Yeah I reckon just get your money back and put what you have towards a better machine. Under consumer law you should be able to get a refund.
    Out of interest, what is your budget for a coffee machine? Maybe some people here can help with recommendations.
    Also, do you have a grinder? Fresh beans are the most important factor in good coffee, so if you dont have one, Id recommend spending money on a grinder first, then see what you have left over for the machine, or save up a bit longer for one.
    Whats your budget?

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Hi jb- my budget was around the $400 mark- I got the sunbeam for $360 in a 20% off sale. I bought a cheap $50 grinder with it- which I havent used (since reading more on here thats it totally useless for expresso!) so that will be going back with it.

    The brev860 just looked and sounded great, decent reviews and has the built in grinder. I could have got it for $640 on the weekend, but now the 20% sale will have finished so I guess it will be back to $799. Technically out of our price range, but hubby wasnt bothered anyway, he told me to get it if thats what I wanted :-* I just felt it wasnt really necessary.
    The other brevilles -800 and 820 I think are not that great if I have to buy a decent grinder as well the price will be around the same as the 860??

    Thanks for your help BTW :)

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Actually I can get the 860 from Big W online for $640 or so, if I can get the cash I might do that.

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Quote Originally Posted by 292B312A30252D2A332D2820282D2221440 link=1317607711/7#7 date=1317686237
    Actually I can get the 860 from Big W online for $640 or so, if I can get the cash I might do that.
    Do yourself a favour and get the Lelit Combi instead.* Just remember to prime the boiler after every steam (run hotwater through it until an even stream of water comes out of the wand to avoid damaging the element).* Not as "flashy" as the Breville but it does its job well all the time, and the less electronics the less that can go wrong in my opinion.* The only Breville Id consider is the Double Boiler around the $1300 range...and then youll need to buy a grinder.

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Another problem is I am limited in what I can buy- there is only 1 store around here (harvey n) so I get to choose from their range, or buy online, unless I do a trip to Sydney (over 2 hrs each way) with kids fighting in the car not my idea of fun! :D

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    All the site sponsors are reputable and can deliver. E-Go is also a very cheap way to courier Coffee Machines if the site sponsors do not give you a decent delivery cost. Shouldnt cost more than $20 to $40 anywhere in Oz.

    Get the hubby to take care of the kids for a few hours ;)

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Quote Originally Posted by 2A3836203C590 link=1317607711/10#10 date=1317687814
    All the site sponsors are reputable and can deliver.* E-Go is also a very cheap way to courier Coffee Machines if the site sponsors do not give you a decent delivery cost.* Shouldnt cost more than $20 to $40 anywhere in Oz.

    Get the hubby to take care of the kids for a few hours* ;)
    Thanks saoye - unfortunately hubby goes out to work every day so that I can indulge in over-our-budget coffee machines !! ;D

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    I managed to pick up a used Breville 800ES on Gumtree (local online classifieds) for $100! After giving it a clean and descale, its been pretty good, still learning how to use it with various single walled baskets (always double shot). The milk texturing is quite different to my previous single boiler unit but Im getting there.

    I have it paired with a Sunbeam EM0480 Grinder.

    The Breville 860 appears to be quite a nice all in one machine, at least you save on bench space.* I have a friend who loves hers.* Seattle Coffee Gear have a review of the machine here; http://www.youtube.com/SeattleCoffeeGear#p/search/0/WtmLsog7S2U
    I saw a Breville BES900 at Hardley Normal last weekend for $1499.00!

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Quote Originally Posted by 435C5B4351340 link=1317607711/12#12 date=1317690966
    I saw a Breville BES900 at Hardley Normal last weekend for $1499.00!
    Cuppacoffe has them for $1300 for a limited time ;) http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1203772677#8

    too much for the OP though I think... Try and bargain a 860 down to your price range, or perhaps a Sunbeam 6910 and 0480 grinder package - it should be do-able for the local big retailer.

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Id have to agree with Iain regarding a 6910/grinder combo.* Having used a 6910, its dead easy to use and I found it much easier to texture milk when compared to the 800ES.


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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    OK, well I am now the proud owner of a Breville 860 :) and currently sitting here with my first decent coffee in 4 days!

    Went back to Harv N, expecting some problems but they couldnt have been more helpful. No problem at all taking the 5900 back, and the cheap grinder, and they said I could have 20% off the BES860 even though the promo has finished (mind you, they are getting more $ from me so basically a return turned into an upsell for them!) I had to pay the bit extra, but I am happy with that (price for the 860 was $639 after discount)

    I dont have beans yet so just used my normal coffee in a dual wall filter, tastes fine although I am looking forward to playing with the grinder and making some real coffee soon! 2 included single wall filters with it, so hoepfully I will get the hang of it all.

    But very happy with the steam wand on the breville- fast to heat and so nice to see the whirlpool happening again! Microfoam like melted marshmallows, just how I like it :-*

    Thanks for all the advice guys, Im sure Ill be back around the forum soon when I start playing with beans !! :D


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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Im glad the collective was helpful! Theres lots for you to experiment with now - dosing, tamping, grinding... then in a year or two you can try and keep back the upgraditis ;) Youre one of us now! ;D

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Quote Originally Posted by 777F77707A7C1E0 link=1317607711/16#16 date=1317705167
    Youre one of us now!* ;D
    Yay! Thanks!

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Sounds like youre possibly using preground supermarket coffee.* Now you have a grinder, and if youre anything like me,* the supermarket shelf roasted beans will be next and trying to work out grind, dosage and tamp pressure for the dual wall then single wall filters to to discovering fresh roasted and then doing it all again.* The dual wall baskets are less fussy with grind and tamp pressure and will give you a sort of crema with stale coffee.

    Itll drive you nuts!

    Fresh roasted is best and grind on demand, took me quite a while to work that out...

  20. #20
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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Hey Lattechino, good to hear youre back on the coffee superhighway!
    Ive never used the 860 properly before, so I have no idea how good the grind quality or espresso is, but seems like a pretty convenient machine with inbuilt grinder and tamper.
    Yep sounds like youre on supermarket pre-ground. Now that you have a grinder, change this asap! Dont bother with the whole beans from the supermarket, they will be the same quality and freshness (or lack of) as the pre-ground, just in whole bean form.
    Get yourself some freshly roasted coffee. This is by far the most important ingredient! Where do you live? Im sure someone here will be able to point you in the direction of somewhere you can buy quality fresh beans. Otherwise theres always roasted in beans you can buy from this site and have shipped to you.

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Thanks MrBill and jb - yes I was using pre-ground (oxfam fairtrade) coffee as Ive never had a grinder until now.

    But guess what? I have just ground my first real coffee! :D
    Tastes fine really (better than some cafes!) but I know I could do better later with some practice.... (true sign the bug has bitten ;D ) I need to read what others have done with this machine.

    I will have a look at the beans on here later when Ive more time, but today I just wanted something NOW (!) so I bought some beans in town I think are decent, I often used to get their ground stuff, they are local(ish) roasters. Can I mention them here? Anyway - someone can delete if its not ok - Fish River Roasters fairtrade organic blend, they were roasted 7 days ago so thats pretty good yes? They provide the local deli and I know lots of folk here buy the beans, they sell out quickly.
    So I guess Id better start another thread later to try and get my grind etc right, going a bit off topic now! :-?
    But for now, I am a happy experimenting and drinking the best ones!
    ;)

  22. #22
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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    If youre using the dual wall basket, youll probably find youll get decent crema with a broad range of grind settings and tamping force.* The dual wall increases the pressure of the extraction and is designed to give stale coffee some crema.

    I think the 860 takes a 53mm basket and Im not sure who has these but I expect a site sposnor may have these in single wall form or Breville; http://www.breville.com.au/beverages/espresso/fresca-espresso-machine-752.html
    (Click on tha Parts & Accessories tab)

    The fun starts when you change from the double wall basket to the single wall...

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    lattechino,
    This is the part you want:
    http://www.breville.com.au/parts-accessories/beverages/espresso/2-cup-single-wall-filter-bes860.html
    It will be crucial to making good espresso!

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Thanks, but the 860 already has single wall baskets in the box! :) It comes with 4 baskets altogether - 1 and 2 shot dual walls, and 1 and 2 shot single walls. I thought it was pretty useful of breville to put the lot in as standard, to suit whatever level the user is at. And Ive used them all already! Started with the dual walls and then tried the single walls yesterday with my fresh beans - I was a bit worried but pleasantly surprised when it worked out great! 2 shots slightly better than the 1 shot but still very nice crema and flavour, I just need to play around with the grind and my tamp pressure a little.
    Ive never been so caffeined-up ! :D

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Fanatasitc news regarding all the included filter baskets. I hope you have freinds that drink a lot of coffee otherwise youll have a bad case of the shakes from being so wired.

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Quote Originally Posted by 3C23243C2E4B0 link=1317607711/24#24 date=1317856943
    Fanatasitc news regarding all the included filter baskets. I hope you have freinds that drink a lot of coffee otherwise youll have a bad case of the shakes from being so wired.
    Nope, just me! I am coping with 3 a day then more trials when hubby gets home ;D

    I have started a new thread about the 860 (hoepfully before the moderators move me!) since Ive gone way off the original topic now ::) It is over here - http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1317857168/0
    :)

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Seriously, I have been making awesome coffees with this machine for almost a year. Once I got the technique right I never had problem steaming excellent milk. You need to adjust your expectations and learn how to use your machine (I had plenty of trial and error failures, but now make excellent and consistent coffee, both espresso and milk).

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    Re: Milk texturing issues with the EM5900

    Pleased you are happy with yours darkfalz, but my machine was faulty, plain and simple.
    I have used a lot over machines over the years (home and commercial) and never had any problems until I used this one.
    Quote Originally Posted by 496C7F666B6C61770D0 link=1317607711/26#26 date=1318154777
    You need to adjust your expectations and learn how to use your machine (I had plenty of trial and error failures, but now make excellent and consistent coffee, both espresso and milk).
    I need to adjust my expectations ?* :-? That I expected it to be in working order when I bought it brand new? Or that it should be able to produce a decent drink? (give or take a couple of practice runs)

    Apart from being faulty, there were other points I didnt like about the 5900, but theres no point going through it now, I am more than happy with my new breville. I suppose we all just have different preferences and different tastes, and that machine was not for me.





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