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Thread: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

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    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all. Long time stalker, first time poster. Im a uni student/coffee adict, so unfortunately Im on a limited budget. I have myself a EM3600 espresso machine and the EM0480 sunbeam grinder. It makes decent coffee, better than I can get in a lot of coffee shops around uni anyway, and LOTS more consistent (but maybe thats me). Anyway OT. Ive been having a lot of trouble getting a good volume/time ratio. The shot starts nice and dark before going blonde, as expected. I get a nice appearance on the final shot, however, I get the shot in about 15 seconds. Ive experimented with different grind settings, and 15-16 for my lavazza beans produces the nicest colour. So then I experimented with tamping (with the 51mm tamper from the sunbeam barista kit) and that wasnt successful either.

    I seem to recall somewhere reading that on the em3600 the shot was supposed to be quicker than the 30ml/ 30sec... I seem to think it was in the manuals for either the 3600 or the 480, but now I cant find it anywhere.

    Is this to do with the machine? Or my technique?

    Possibly relevant info:
    using whole fresh(-ish - from supermarket) beans, filtered water, the 2 cup pressurised filter that comes with the machine.

    I can possibly post photos/movie if this would help?

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Senior Member SniffCoffee's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Hi there

    I suspect the first thing you need to do is get an unpressurised basket - as adjusting the grind and tamp wont make a huge difference if the coffee is still getting forced through a single hole!

    The second thing to do then is probably to dump the supermarket sourced beans - once you move to an unpressurised basket the freshness of the beans will play a much bigger role.

    Enjoy!



    Sniff.

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    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Hi SniffCoffee, thanks for the reply. Ive been thinking about doing both those things actually.

    Is that the Krups unpressurised basket? And I was thinking about sourcing beans online from Di Bella, are these fresher/fresh enough?

    David.

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Agree with SniffCoffee, Get rid of the pressurised baskets, They really do force you to run the thing at a 10-15 second pour. You can swap it out with the Breville unpressurised baskets, find one of the krupps versions, or spend twenty minutes with a dremel and cut the bottom of the double walled filter off yourself

    Second, Id almost suggest using the double basket exclusivly, the single basket is of a weird shape that doesnt really allow good flow through.

    Third, Yeah, The supermarket beans may be fresh from the supermarket but often they dont show a roasting date, and if they do, theyre usually months ago... Roasted beans are best within 1.5 months of roasting. Supermarket beens are often sitting in the warehouse for three months before they even get to the sale point. Try buying from a nearby coffee shop, or even go a little further afield, There usually are a lot of good roasters near the major urban centres. (you can find a good number around the brisbane area for example)

    If you order direct from Di Bella, the beans will definitely be fresher then what you would get elsewhere, as they usually have enough throughput that the beans dont have a chance to get stale

    Or you could give beanbay a try if you live in a different location. prices are more then, and the coffee is most excellent, and freshly roasted

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    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 507D697B7475727B5D685A7D68791C0 link=1319415620/3#3 date=1319426751
    Agree with SniffCoffee, Get rid of the pressurised baskets, They really do force you to run the thing at a 10-15 second pour. You can swap it out with the Breville unpressurised baskets, find one of the krupps versions, or spend twenty minutes with a dremel and cut the bottom of the double walled filter off yourself
    Would you recommend the Krups or the Breville? Ive been doing a bit of reading and the Krups seems to have bigger holes? So grinds get into the cup. But the Breville doesnt seem to produce as good espresso? Or have I got something wrong here?

    Quote Originally Posted by 507D697B7475727B5D685A7D68791C0 link=1319415620/3#3 date=1319426751
    If you order direct from Di Bella, the beans will definitely be fresher then what you would get elsewhere, as they usually have enough throughput that the beans dont have a chance to get stale
    Got my first order from Di Bella today. Made a huge difference! Never going back to supermarket coffee.

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 2702150A075B630 link=1319415620/4#4 date=1319802862
    Would you recommend the Krups or the Breville? Ive been doing a bit of reading and the Krups seems to have bigger holes? So grinds get into the cup. But the Breville doesnt seem to produce as good espresso? Or have I got something wrong here?

    --

    Got my first order from Di Bella today. Made a huge difference! Never going back to supermarket coffee.
    Hooray! good coffee is well worth the price, once you go fresh, youre a fool to go back willingly

    as for the breville vs the krupps basket? I couldnt actually tell you the reality, The breville is a little pricier, but the single-basket has a woeful shape (the basket has seriously bad ridges, like what your current single basket has (I think sunbeam and breville use the same basket-supplier), the krupps is cheaper, but you may need to fiddle with the seal a little to get it to stop leaking

    Six of one, half dozen of the other

    I did the next-best thing, and just cut the bottom wall of my sunbeam basket... I dontt use the single-cup at all, so theres no point in even taking the time for cutting that sucker up

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    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 567B6F7D7273747D5B6E5C7B6E7F1A0 link=1319415620/5#5 date=1319847778

    Hooray! good coffee is well worth the price, once you go fresh, youre a fool to go back willingly

    as for the breville vs the krupps basket? I couldnt actually tell you the reality, The breville is a little pricier, but the single-basket has a woeful shape (the basket has seriously bad ridges, like what your current single basket has (I think sunbeam and breville use the same basket-supplier), the krupps is cheaper, but you may need to fiddle with the seal a little to get it to stop leaking

    Six of one, half dozen of the other

    I did the next-best thing, and just cut the bottom wall of my sunbeam basket... I dontt use the single-cup at all, so theres no point in even taking the time for cutting that sucker up
    Im not really worried about the price. And i dont plan on using the single baskets. So in double comparisons. Maybe the breville is a better option? Im not really that handy. So i dont want to cut my sunbeam up in case i break it. But maybe i can find another one and keep that as backup?

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    In my experience, Breville single wall > cut double wall > Krups* basket.

    The Krups* basket did a decent job with a Breville Cafe Roma and preground coffee. When I upgraded to a Sunbeam EM5900 + EM0450 I found I had to grind course, massively overdose, and practically chock up the machine to get a decent extraction.
    I cut the floor off the double wall basket (was much easier than I expected) and my grind setting went from 18 down to 13 and I was getting a much better extraction.
    Then I got the Breville single wall baskets which have much more and finer holes than either of the other two. My grind setting is now at 9, I am getting better coffee, and I am no longer getting fine grinds making it through to the cup.

    *Actually it is a Breville Bar Italia 1-2 cup basket, which is very similar to the Krups basket. The Breville has 1 and 2 cup level markings down the side and a ridge along the top edge, whereas the Krups has unmarked sides and a flat top.

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    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 6E494D425F434258434D5F582C0 link=1319415620/7#7 date=1319944262
    In my experience, Breville single wall > cut double wall > Krups* basket.

    The Krups* basket did a decent job with a Breville Cafe Roma and preground coffee. When I upgraded to a Sunbeam EM5900 + EM0450 I found I had to grind course, massively overdose, and practically chock up the machine to get a decent extraction.
    I cut the floor off the double wall basket (was much easier than I expected) and my grind setting went from 18 down to 13 and I was getting a much better extraction.
    Then I got the Breville single wall baskets which have much more and finer holes than either of the other two. My grind setting is now at 9, I am getting better coffee, and I am no longer getting fine grinds making it through to the cup.

    *Actually it is a Breville Bar Italia 1-2 cup basket, which is very similar to the Krups basket. The Breville has 1 and 2 cup level markings down the side and a ridge along the top edge, whereas the Krups has unmarked sides and a flat top.
    Breville basket it is!

  10. #10
    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 240116090458600 link=1319415620/8#8 date=1319952193
    Breville basket it is!
    Just bought them! We shall see how they go when they arrive. Thanks for all your help guys!

  11. #11
    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 654057484519210 link=1319415620/9#9 date=1319964633
    Just bought them! We shall see how they go when they arrive. Thanks for all your help guys!
    Okay. So the Breville baskets arrived a few days ago. After a lot of fiddling with the EM480, I still cant get the grind right for the unpressurised basket...

    My problem is the crema keeps dissipating way too quickly.

    Im using Di Bella beans which - as far as I know - are still fresh.

    A photo of a typical shot (in a 150mL glass) using the pressurised baskets and a grind setting of 16 on the 480.



    And now, the range of shots (60mL shot glasses)
    The grind settings decrease in 2s.
    So: 16 - 14 - 12 - 10 - 8


    The shot was best on grind setting 8, but its a smaller shot because it blew past the group seal. Which, I will admit needs replacing, it just never posed an issue with the pressurised baskets. But a replacement is now on order... Is the old group seal my entire problem? I felt the grind was very fine when I got down to 8, but maybe that is because I am used to grinding for the pressurised baskets.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    What are the timings for your shots?
    Was the shot on grind setting "8" almost a choker?

  13. #13
    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 707B63697574767F756D1A0 link=1319415620/11#11 date=1321014543
    What are the timings for your shots?
    Was the shot on grind setting "8" almost a choker?
    They were still too short. Probably 13-15 seconds, not including the pre-infusion. Is it pre-infusion on this machine? I think it is. The "puck" was also very soupy with water after extraction, maybe this is tamp pressure?

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    That still seems too quick, is your dosing consistent?
    Have you tried the 5cent test to determine a ballpark figure of how much you should be dosing?
    The soupy pucks seem to be consistent with a low dose.


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    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 464D555F43424049435B2C0 link=1319415620/13#13 date=1321018565
    That still seems too quick, is your dosing consistent?
    Have you tried the 5cent test to determine a ballpark figure of how much you should be dosing?
    The soupy pucks seem to be consistent with a low dose.
    Okay. Tomorrow afternoons job will be the 5 cent test. To the best of my knowledge the dosing is consistent. But I will take more notice tomorrow, and hopefully get you some pictures. :)

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Ive just spent the whole afternoon trying to get a good pour too. Just shimmed my BCG800, and im getting too fine a grind at the coarsest espresso setting, then too coarse a grind at the finest setting with one shim removed. Also have a huge headache from sipping bitter/sour coffee....
    On the plus side im getting nice solid, dry pucks every single time.

  17. #17
    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 4D646B7E0A0 link=1319415620/15#15 date=1321074555
    Ive just spent the whole afternoon trying to get a good pour too. Just shimmed my BCG800, and im getting too fine a grind at the coarsest espresso setting, then too coarse a grind at the finest setting with one shim removed. Also have a huge headache from sipping bitter/sour coffee....
    On the plus side im getting nice solid, dry pucks every single time.
    Sounds like you need a shim of a different size? Are these available?

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Shim kit comes with a 1mm, 2x 0.4mm and an 0.2mm washer.

    I started with 1.4mm as recommended in the instructions, too fine. Went to 1.0mm, too coarse. Going to try 1.2mm tomorrow.

    I think an inconsistent tamping method may also be to blame. Ive been putting ~13kg pressure, but I think this may be a bit too much.
    Dose has been fairly consistent across the grind settings though. Big +1 to the Smart Grinder for that.

    Also what is the 5 cent dosing method?

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Well for my set-up which was exactly the same as yours, I was grinding way up on the coarsest settings and was getting a consistent puck and shot. (on my new isomac now, still with the sunbeam grinder its on about setting 8-10) Try tamping a bit harder with a coarser grind and see if that helps the shot.

    Also are you only using the double basket?? I never used the single basket on mine, not that it should make that much difference hey! But yeah, I would try grinding the beans a bit coarser because remember these espresso machines are only a very entry level machine so cant put the pressure in the same as a commercial machine, and hence, may do better with a coarser grind setting.... Thats about the only things I can think of at the moment. I was getting some really good shots out of my old sunbeam so keep at it! :)

    The group head seals will deteriorate a lot faster now with the single floor baskets due to the increased pressure but yeah, keep at it!

    Cheers,
    Damo

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Oops, should have mention im using an EM4800 with a single wall double basket. Im still using the PoS plastic tamper that came with it - trying to find a bar of stainless steel that I can machine into a tamper - tamping harder than ~10kg doesnt seem to make a difference.
    Thanks for the tips, ill update after my attempts tomorrow.

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    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Came across a few problems regarding the 5 cent test. The showerscreen on the 3600 is shaped like this:
    |^|______________|^|

    If that didnt work as well as I intended, the showerscreen has raised (or lowered... depending on how you look at it). I was under the impression most espresso machines had a flat showerscreen??? So when I added the coin and locked in the PF, I got no indentation - suggesting underdose. So I added more coffee, got a distinct impression from this raised/lowered edge around the very edge of the basket, and still no impression from the coin.

    I can take photos if you wish?

    Tried the unpressurised basket again on setting 10, and got leaking around the seal. The new seal has been posted, so hopefully I will receive it soon...

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 7257405F520E360 link=1319415620/20#20 date=1321101291
    So I added more coffee, got a distinct impression from this raised/lowered edge
    Ahh, Im not too familiar with the shape of that particular showerscreen, but I would suggest setting your dose just under the amount you tried, such that there is barely an indentation around the edge of the basket.

    Hopefully youll have more luck with a new seal, shouldnt be too long now!

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    What Ive found with my machine is, that the grind setting I have is sliiightly too fine for 30 second pours if I fill the basket up totally (50 second pour? yes please!), The next click up gives me a 15 second gusher.

    So Ive started to weigh the amount of coffee Im using instead. I seem to have a reasonable pour using 15-16 grams of coffee.

    A full basket seems to weigh in around the 18-20 gm level, so as you can guess, theres quite a bit more coffee between the top and bottom of the puck.

    Ive found that I can also get away with just a light tamp with this technique, barely doing anything but flattening the top of the puck and polishing.

    Hope this gives some help to you?

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Well I got one decent shot, but the rest were choked/sputtering. Extraction time is about right, but the shot is a bit watery and extremely bitter.
    I think im getting channeling; need to to improve my tamp.

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Just as a follow up, I pretty much solved my problem.
    The Sunbeam portafilter has a black plastic floor to enhance crema when used with the double wall baskets. When I used the single wall basket, it totally screwed up the flow of coffee and trapped a lot of the liquid inside the portafilter, resulting in a crema-less, bitter, watery coffee.
    Just removing it and changing nothing else almost totally fixed the coffee. Now I just need to fine tune the grind, and plug the extra hole in the portafilter.

  26. #26
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    OR you could take a hole saw to your portafilter and make it naked!

    Cheers

  27. #27
    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 25363029252A440 link=1319415620/25#25 date=1321276547
    OR you could take a hole saw to your portafilter and make it naked!

    Cheers

    Thats what I did to a spare em2300 PF. But it doesnt fit the best, its waaayy too loose around the group seal, hopefully that will sort itself out when I get the new seal.

    David

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Ok so I thought I had sorted my problems out, turns out maybe not.
    Im getting reasonable extraction times, ~25-30sec consistently, and a reasonable crema, however the coffee is still extremely bitter.

    The espresso out of my pressurised basket still tastes better :(

  29. #29
    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E27283D490 link=1319415620/27#27 date=1321573218
    The espresso out of my pressurised basket still tastes better :(
    Such a shame isnt it... My new group seal hasnt arrived yet unfortunately...

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    I found that the Krups basket works pretty well on my Sunbeam cheapie machine, but it fits much better if I use the matching krups seal (Krups part MS-620342) rather than the Sunbeam one - its a bit loose with the Sunbeam seal. I went through about three Sunbeam seals in six months (they tore as I had to wind the portafilter in rather tight to stop the seal leaking), while the Krups one which I bought on ebay (still available if you do a search) fits better with the krups basket and wears much better.


    With my machine there is a very fine line between choking it and getting a decent pour. But given it does at least three doubles a day and twice as many on weekends, its done pretty well for a $400 total outlay including grinder.

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    As an update on this, ive been getting consistent 25 sec pours from my EM4800 now, decent crema.
    However, the espresso is still slightly sour. I can grind slightly finer for a 35-40sec pour, but then it is both sour and bitter.
    Would I be correct in saying that the water temperature is too low, resulting in the slightly sour taste?

    If so, is there a way to mod my EM4800 to get hotter water out of it, or am I looking at an upgrade now? Thanks.

  32. #32
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Sounds like its a bit cold to me, how long do you leave it to warm up? 20 minutes?

    Im not familiar with the machine but could you trick it to use hotter water? maybe flick it to steam for a second or two before pulling the shot or something?

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Its a thermoblock, I leave it to warm up for ~5mins, run some water through it, run some steam through it, let it warm up a bit more, then use it. The warming light flicks off after about 3 mins after a cold start, but I doubt that it would be ready that early.
    In the mornings I dont really have a lot of time to wait around for 20 mins for it to warm up, hence I try to run steam to get it to warm up faster.

    Even after making a few cups (and steaming milk for each one) I get a sour taste to the espresso. If I dont do a cooling flush after steaming the milk, it might be slightly less sour, but not a big difference.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention that im still using some supermarket beans. That could explain it. When I finish this lot ill try find some fresher beans somewhere

  34. #34
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 4F66697C080 link=1319415620/32#32 date=1325640150
    I forgot to mention that im still using some supermarket beans

    That could be part of the issue and sometimes I take it for granted that people are using freshly roasted and ground beans.

    Your grinder will need to be adjusted for the fresh beans.

    If you can give the machine more time to get the group handle a bit hotter that would help reduce the sour notes, its amazing how much heat a cold handle will pull out of the espresso. 3 minutes may be enough to warm up the thermoblock but nothing else in the water chain is warm let alone hot.

    I turn my machine on when I get up and by the time I am dressed and washed etc it is hot and ready to go.

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 072E2134400 link=1319415620/32#32 date=1325640150
    EDIT: I forgot to mention that im still using some supermarket beans. That could explain it. When I finish this lot ill try find some fresher beans somewhere

    Yeah, thatd be the staleness youre tasting in that there bitterness. :D

    Dont worry about adjusting anything else or fiddling with much until you can get hold of some proper beans, Then come back and let us know what the result is!

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    Re: Sunbeam EM3600 Issues

    Another update, ive started waking up a bit earlier to flip the coffee machine on. After about 10-15 mins of warming up most of the sourness has gone from the shot. Still a tiny hint of sour, and now also a bit more bitter, but definitely better than what I was getting before.
    Still have a bit more supermarket bean to work through, then ill grab some off BeanBay here :)

    Thanks for the help guys!



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