Post By leograyson
Is a Sunbeam em4820 (with breville single wall basket) decent as a starter machine?
I had a look at this machine today and it seems pretty reasonable for the price ($198 at big double-you). I swapped out the basket with one from a Breville bes250 (which I was also considering, but the portafilter seems really light and cheap compared to the sunbeam) and it fit perfectly, so I'm assuming the single wall ones you can buy from breville will also work.
Has anyone tried this machine with proper baskets? I have a semi decent grinder (em0480) and access to fresh beans so there's no problems there. I'm not looking to pull god-shots, I just want something that I can learn on and will make decent shot for a few years until I can afford a better setup.
I'm sure it will work well for what you need, but would you consider going 2nd hand? I just picked up a gaggia baby class for $90. It needed one hell of a descale (originally was in the UK), but works great now. 2nd hand em6910's also go cheap but its a little more risky due to the likelyhood of electronics failing over time. You can normally tell a machine hasn't been given much use when its called an 'expresso' machine :P
If you want a single walled basket check out the thread in pay it forward, Greg has been kind in helping many of us before.
I picked up a second hand EM4820 and blade grinder (which I'm not using) for $50 off Gumtree. Got a Krups unpressurised double shot single wall basket on eBay for $13 + shipping.
Am yet to try the single wall filter yet though.
Absolutely, I've been scouring ebay and gumtree every day looking for something good to pop up, but I live in a regional area (Mildura) and 95% of used machines on ebay are local pickup only (which is understandable given the size and weight of the damn things), and I haven't seen anything of worth at all on gumtree. Maybe one day I'll get lucky, but unless I do I'm going to work on the assumption that I'll need to buy new. That being said, my Aeropress finally showed up today (I'm drinking the first cup from it right now as a matter of fact), so I'm in no rush.
Originally Posted by burr
How are you liking it so far? Would you put the shots on par or above a decent cafe?
Originally Posted by lordsnipe
I'm no coffee connoisseur, I would say with the double walled basket it makes an OK brew, as I said .. am yet to try the single walled ones that I received yesterday.
I have come from moka pots which make a decent brew, but nothing compared to espresso. With my coffee making skills, at $50, I can't complain much about the coffee it puts out.
I had one of these ( well two actually ) for a short while a few years ago, but they both had the same problems and when I took the second one back, I demanded a refund instead of replacement.
Originally Posted by MonkeyCrumpets
To answer your questions though, the breville baskets do fit, and you can pull a fairly decent shot with them. At that time I was using an EM480 and it ground fine enough for the non - pressurised baskets.
However, you may be lucky to get a 4820 that will last "for a few years". The group head collar has a plastic cam insert with which the portafilter lugs engage to lock it in place. The first machine was uneven - it had too little surface overlap on one side, and the plastic insert on that side crushed, and leaked within the first few months. The replacement was bit more even, but still had insufficient surface engagement and it wore down within a few more months, so while it was still under warranty I gave up on it, and got my money back.
I would suggest staying with the aeropress for a while longer and trying to find a S/H Silvia or a Gaggia Classic seller who will ship it to you.
If you do buy the Sunbeam, be VERY gentle when you lock the P/F in as both the plastic cam and the seals are quite flimsy compared to the Italian made units. Try not to grind too fine and choke the pour, and if the flow doesn't start within 4 or 5 seconds max, flick the brew switch back to off, so that the pressure is relieved quickly.
My partner uses one of these with the double shot filter from the Breville 51mm BSWF100 single wall filter set. I notice the Sunbeam site mentions both single and double wall filters for the EM4820 but hers only came with double wall filters. We bought if for $60 2nd hand and it was in good nick and hasn't had any issues. Much better quality than the EM3800 she had previously. It has a stainless steel lined thermocoil and brass portafilter. The downside is you rely on the machine to brew at the right temperature as there is no adjustment. The plastic cam to lock in the portafilter hasn't given any trouble and only costs around $13 for the part if you do need to change it. The more expensive Sunbeam models give you control over temperature but as usual you get what you pay for. She seems happy with the EM4820 and doesn't seem to want to learn to use my Silvia. We bought it 2nd hand and found it had a damaged heating element which I had to replace. I stressed the importance of priming the boiler when using the machine which seemed to have put her off!
Another option is to look for something like a Gaggia Classic or maybe a Saeco Via Venezia if you don't mind a single boiler machine. You just need to take a little care to ensure the boiler is always primed (has water in it), so as not to burn out the heating element. The Gaggia has a 58mm portafilter and a 3 way valve like the more expensive Silvia and is probably a good starting point if you intend to pursue the coffee thing further. 2nd hand Gaggias sell from $150-$200. You need to be sure that everything is working fine though by checking it out in person if you can or pay using PayPal to protect yourself if the machine is a dud.Testing the steam function especially will give you an idea of the health of the heating element.
i have em5900 and breville baskets fit perfectly and make heaps of diference in quality of shots. you may need to shim your grinder in order to produce finer grinds. I came across almost new em5900 for $50 and another $50 for em0480. baskets are around $30 delivered.
dont rush and wait for the right deal....