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Thread: Fully manual equivalent of the Sunbeam 6910

  1. #1
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    Fully manual equivalent of the Sunbeam 6910

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi everyone, I've been given an old Breville Cafe Roma that works well but has come with pressurised baskets. Instead of hunting for non pressurised baskets I've been inspired to look at good used alternatives and the SB 6910 comes recommended on CS as great value.

    However, I like the idea of pure manual operation and I was wondering if another manual leaver/dial operated model comes as recommended as the Sunbeam.

    If not, there are a couple of local 6910s on Gumtree which look worth while checking out. Anyone have any tips on how to profile the usage a second hand unit has had?

    Thanks.

    Nick

  2. #2
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    What do you mean by "dial operated"? There's no lever equivalent of a 6910, as they are about as different to a lever as you can get in a coffee machine.

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    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    Non pressurised baskets are only a few $ on eBay, and would get you started.

    Are you asking for a machine that is very simple with just like a rotary switch for steam or brew, rather than volumetrics/timed shots, pre infusion etc?
    If so, the 6910 is probably still the best. It can be configured to be a plain machine. Although it doesn't really get that complicated.

    Usage... How much sludge is under the shower screen, how piddly the steam is, how fast it can pump water out the group, leaks, collar wear... These are the biggest problems and most can be resolved, if the price/motivation is there.

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    @level3ninja Yeah, something with more of an analogue feel and interface. A machine which has dials and levers that allow us to have a more sense of the process of extraction, such as turning a dial that gives us a feel for pressure, flow, because it we are physically engaging the internal mechanisms.

    @Jackstar That's a good answer, thanks. I think I can get a decent 6910 for around $100 and with your pointers on what to look for I have a better chance of making an informed purchase. Is it unreasonable to ask the seller to demonstrate the operation of the machine for what will be a low return?

    There is a local (Brisbane) PU6910 for sale on this forum which the seller says is new in box (unopened). They are asking $400 but was thinking of offering around $200 if it is out of warranty as problems haven't been sorted out and out-of-box state is unknown. Is that reasonable? Thanks.

  5. #5
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickwalt View Post
    @level3ninja Yeah, something with more of an analogue feel and interface. A machine which has dials and levers that allow us to have a more sense of the process of extraction, such as turning a dial that gives us a feel for pressure, flow, because it we are physically engaging the internal mechanisms.

    @Jackstar That's a good answer, thanks. I think I can get a decent 6910 for around $100 and with your pointers on what to look for I have a better chance of making an informed purchase. Is it unreasonable to ask the seller to demonstrate the operation of the machine for what will be a low return?

    There is a local (Brisbane) PU6910 for sale on this forum which the seller says is new in box (unopened). They are asking $400 but was thinking of offering around $200 if it is out of warranty as problems haven't been sorted out and out-of-box state is unknown. Is that reasonable? Thanks.
    PU6910 is a combo that includes a grinder. If it’s brand new then $400 is a fair price as they normally sell this combo on eBay for about $550-600.

    Also the ‘manual’ type machine you want is something with a lever operated e61 group. You’ll need to spend close to $1000 to get into the entry level ones of these. Barring that something like the 6910 is as good a place to start as any.
    nickwalt likes this.

  6. #6
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    This one is a high quality entry to the ‘manual process’ type machine you’re looking for-

    Vibiemme Domobar Piccolo FS (too many machines) $600 [MELB]
    https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?sha...3&share_type=t
    Dimal, Kjarsheim and nickwalt like this.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    Sure is a good idea to see if it heats and pumps water before purchasing, at least...
    Pretty hard to find a seller that can demonstrate the machine (other than those advertised here).
    Because they often are not enthusiasts and are getting rid of machine because the can't/don't use it.
    If serious about testing it, I'd suggest you would need to take your own beans, grinder set to known goodness, and your basket. A tuned package to check any machine..
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    @LeroyC and @Jackster Thank you both.

    @LeroyC Thanks for the link. Looks like just the kind of machine I'd want to use - full of manual dials and levers.

    That Vibiemme Domobar looked strangely familiar so I checked out the machine I spent some time on with a friend in NZ. Sure enough it is the same manufacturer:
    https://www.coffeelab.co.nz/store/vi...mobar-super/12

    It was great fun.

    I've found a Breville BES920 for sale in my suburb and thinking of stretching my budget to get it. The owner says that it has been very well looked after and the condition in the photos looks very clean. There is a cafe on the corner of my street, just literally 30 secs walk from where I live, and have been thinking of asking if they can grind beans for me - until I can get a decent grinder.

    I've been using a little three cup Biallete stovetop and the BES920 is going to be a sweet experience. Even with pre-ground coffee.

  9. #9
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    If you go to look at the 920 remove the shower screen and inspect it for coffee gunk. By the time coffee gunk is visible it's very bad. Will give an indication of maintenance.
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    @level3ninja Nice tip, thanks.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    The 920 is about as far away from 'full of manual dials and levers' as you can get!

    You will need dual wall baskets if you are going to get grounds from the cafe. There is no way that can grind to your required size of you using single wall baskets. There is too much fine tuning for grind size required.
    level3ninja likes this.

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    @Jackster Yeah, I guess something like the Vibiemme Domobar Piccolo in @Leroy's link above would be a great first start with a manual lever machine.

    I've started to pull apart the little Cafe Roma ESP8B and it's filthy BUT I've been thinking that perhaps if I can get the seal around the group head replaced (it is disintegrating) and buy unpressurised baskets from Breville, maybe I should just keep this little thing and instead spend money on a really good grinder. I've got my eye on a Mahlkonig Vario. Perhaps this little combo might be better than me going for the BES920 and delaying the purchase of a good grinder?

    Cheers

  13. #13
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    There are others that say the vario is excellent grinder with the ceramic burrs for espresso. So if it has the ceramic burrs, I'd get it.
    Personally I use a lido E hand grinder that suits me for 1 or 2 people for a couple of drinks a day. These are well regarded and can be had (on here) for around $200.
    I would recommend a lido E (or et), as long as you have reasonable hand and arm strength, and are not afraid of a little work for your reward.

    I'd clean and play with your cafe Roma, and get a lido or that Vario, and move to a better machine in due time.
    Research the 6910 problems and fixes on here, and you will be able to find and clean up a good machine. Or see what is for sale on here when that time comes.
    nickwalt likes this.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    Do you need seals that are compatible with a em4800? I have 2 here that I mistakenly bought, but they will fit nothing I will ever own. You can have one if it suits your machine

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    @Jackster Thanks. I've been looking at hand grinders. Particularly the Lido E. A 45 second grind is easy once or twice per day.

    Thanks for the offer. The machine I have is a Breville ESP8B. I'm happy to order a seal with the unpressurised baskets from Breville. Cheers.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    Oh yeah. Mine are sunbeam. Not much chance...

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    Looking for advice on cleaning the little Cafe Roma. I've uncovered a fair bit of scale which seems to have leaked out of the boiler. I was hoping to open the boiler up along the opening line where the scale has seeped from and clean it out. Please post up recommendations, tips, cautions or feedback.

    café-roma-scale-closeup.jpg

    Here is an overall shot of the internals. The electrical wiring, circuit boards and tubing look fine:

    cafe-roma-with-case.jpg café-roma-internals.jpg

    Here is the group head seal, which Breville can replace for about $13 delivered:

    cafe-roma-group-head-seal.jpg

    I was wondering if I should also replace the ring seals on the steam wand:

    cafe-roma-steam-wand-ring-seals.jpg

    Thanks.

  18. #18
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    That's not a boiler, it's a thermocoil. I'm not sure if you can open it like you're suggesting.

  19. #19
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Don’t waste any more time on that Breville Cafe Roma, it’s rubbish.

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    @level3ninja Thanks. Your comment helped me find videos of people opening up their machines to do repairs. Looking at the state of the little Roma I'm thinking that it could be approaching its due-by date. It's done 3-4 coffees a day for at least seven years.

    @LeroyC Yeah, I'm definitely getting a sense of going-nowhere-fast. Might be better to look for something like a BES920.

    There is a BES920 in my neighbourhood that seems to have been well maintained but it's advertised at $500 and my budget right now is only $300. Something will come up.

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    I ended up with two em6910s (will call them 01 and 02) which I bought for a total of $35 from a local who never got around to working on them as part of a planned project.

    They are in really clean condition and aside from:
    - 01 having a corroded/rusted outer steam pump (haven't run it yet); and
    - 02 with a corroded brass steam dial (seems to run fine).

    I have run 02 and it is successfully generating steam and brew without any obvious problems. Have run a vinegar solution through it many times and it has sat with the solution for a few days now.

    While attempting to open 02 the steam dial screw would not free up and I ended up cutting off the inner plastic dial to expose the brass underneath. The screw was seized in the brass and eventually snapped off as I tried to free it by gripping its head with a pair of pliers (after spraying Inox into it a few days prior), so I'm going to replace the that brass component with the good one from 01.

    Other than the steam pump on 01, and the seized steam screw on 02, they both look very clean with all aluminium thermoblocks, brass piping, plastics and wiring looking to be in excellent condition. Not sure about scale buildup on 01. The lack of material in the captured brew water on 02 seems to indicate a lack of scale buildup so far. The steam thermoblock might be a different matter. I haven't been able to run the pump without heating the thermoblock yet.

    Here is 01 with its corroded steam pump and good steam dial:
    em6910-01-steam-pump-corroded.jpg em6910-01-steam-dial-good.jpg


    Here is 02 with its good steam pump and corroded steam dial:
    em6910-02-steam-pump-clean.jpg em6910-02-steam-dial-corroded.jpg


    I have tried to loosen the brass nuts on the 02 steam dial (the nut attaching the tubing to the dial) but it seems to be quite tight. If anyone has any tips for working on these brass components without twisting them please let me know. Currently using a tiny adjustable wrench that fits the nut ok:
    em6910-tiny-wrench.jpg


    I'm in Brisbane's West End and if there is anyone local who would like to look over these two machines with me and give me some pointers I'd really appreciate it. Alberto's Shot is just five doors down the road and I'd be happy to shout a coffee there


    Thanks to everyone who posted tips and tricks for em6910s in the past and who helped me via PM.


    Cheers, Nick
    Last edited by nickwalt; 1 Day Ago at 11:12 PM.
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  22. #22
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    level3ninja recently converted one of the two brass portafilters that came with these machines and he did amazing work. Thanks to him, I've got a naked portafilter ready to go with a VST:
    em6910-naked-01.jpg em6910-naked-02.jpg em6910-naked-03.jpg em6910-naked-04.jpg em6910-naked-vst.jpg

    Stoked! Thanks!
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