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Thread: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

  1. #1
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    Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

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

    Im new to the whole coffee making game and have recently purchased a Sunbeam Cafe Latte (EM5600) and a Breville BCG450 to get me started. However I seem to be having trouble getting decent shots.

    My biggest problem is that the espresso is blonding after about 3 seconds and tastes terrible as you can imagine - how can I control this?

    Finally, I have read a lot of posts that talk about tamp pressure around 10-15kg. How do I calibrate my arm to give 10-15kg of pressure? ::)

    Cheers,

    Steve

  2. #2
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Welcome to Coffee Snobs Steve.

    To answer your last question, get a set of bathroom scales and tamp on that.

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1200704555/0#1 date=1200711084
    Welcome to Coffee Snobs Steve.

    To answer your last question, get a set of bathroom scales and tamp on that.
    Just to clarify, I dont think TG means that you should stand, dance, or jump on the scales, but rather, place the group handle on the scales then tamp to the desired weight. ;)

    Succinct is not always best! ;D

    Welcome from me too stevos. :)

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Dennis,

    If you stand on the scales whilst tamping, they should read 15kg less if you are exerting the right amount of pressure into the portafilter whilst it is resting say, on the bench. ;)

    The added advantage of doing it this way is that you dont have to clean the scales first. ;D

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1200704555/0#3 date=1200719525
    Dennis,

    If you stand on the scales whilst tamping, they should read 15kg less if you are exerting the right amount of pressure into the portafilter whilst it is resting say, on the bench. ;)

    The added advantage of doing it this way is that you dont have to clean the scales first. ;D
    Incorrect. ::) If that were true a weight lifter would not be able to lift more than their body weight before their feet left the ground. :P

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Youve confused me now; I give up. :-?

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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1200704555/0#5 date=1200721321
    Youve confused me now; I give up. :-?
    Thundergod...

    Dont give up.... you are correct!!!

    A 100kg person standing on scales exerting 15kg downward force (to an object not on the scales) will weight 85 KG.... The force of gravity (acting down on their body is 100Kg but 15Kg of that is applied in a downward direction...... reducing the effect of gravity by 15KG.... as the person is assisting gravity.

    A weightlifter fights gravity...... so a 100KG weightlifter lifting a 100KG weight will weigh 200KG on the scales.... the combined force of gravity acting downwards on the weight and the body of the weightlifter.....

    So you are 100% correct!!!

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    youre no fun JavaB - I was enjoying TG being confused! :)

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    My wife and son were out.
    They were better in school with physics and chemistry.
    Biology was my specialty (hence the wife and son).

    Anyway, I checked with the lad and was about to come back from a long roasting session and ask about Newton and some of his laws.
    "Equal and opposite reaction" rings a bell.

    Thanks for sticking up for me JavaB.

    Dennis....... *:P * ;)

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    ....I just scanned this thread and Im lost. Thank god Im not working for NASA...

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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Well after that interesting physics lesson, back to Stevos question! ;D

    Firstly let me add my welcome.

    There are potentially many reasons for what youre experiencing, but one problem is that the EM5600 has pressurised / dual-wall baskets. These are designed to give artificial crema, not real crema that comes from a good extraction. Its possible to get aftermarket baskets that dont have that extra floor, but I suggest you do a subject line search for pressurised baskets to learn more about how they work and why theyre not good for real espresso.

    Other possible reasons for early blonding:
    * stale beans (how many days out of roast are they? If theyre supermarket beans, toss them in the bin and get some fresh ones from a local roaster or friendly site sponsor)
    * grind too coarse - adjust finer, particularly likely if the shot is running fast.
    * machine not warmed up properly - with the portafilter in place, allow it to sit turned on for about an hour before using to see if this makes a noticeable difference to your results

    As a rule of thumb, you should have a delay of at least 3-4 seconds from when you activate the pump to when espresso starts coming out. My Silvia normally goes about 6 seconds before espresso starts exiting which Id aim for, but it may be a bit different in such a different type of machine. The longer it takes the more resistance to water flow and thus the more pressure the pump is generating, and you need a certain amount of pressure otherwise its not espresso!

    Unfortunately the combo youve got doesnt really lend itself that well to good consistent results. However with good beans and technique you can probably get acceptable results until you catch upgraditis! :)

    Greg

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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Well it appears we have come to a consensus about the weight on bench question - and thanks for the tips on tamp pressure. NOw I will need to get bathrood scales or work out a way of using my fishing scales to get the same result! I expect that I am not appying anywhere near enough tamp pressure.

    I have been using Merlo beans which I have had for say 2 weeks now but I seem to have been having the blonding problems since purchase. I also tried a bag of vac sealed grinders coffee that I was given at christmas and it went the same way.

    Also does a pressurised basket mean that the grind should be different from an unpressurised?

    Cheers,

    Steve

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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Sorry I forgot to add:

    If a pressurised basket gives a false crema does that mean that even an otherwise perfect shot will look a little blonde.

    I just tried another cup using the tips suggested (ie. used a small horse to tamp it) and it was a little better. Start-up was about 4 seconds and 30ml took about 15 seconds. I littel quick hey - so I might investigate moding the basket.

    Keep ideas coming

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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Hey Stevos, given that you have a burr grinder Id definitely be trying unpressurised baskets. You can buy baskets to fit from Krupps dealers, or take to the factory ones with an angle-grinder ;) My backup machine is a similar Sunbeam and Ive never been able to produce anything approaching an acceptable espresso from it with the factory baskets!

    Also occurred to me that you didnt mention what tamper youre using - the supplied plastic scoop with tamper on the other end is basically useless unfortunately.

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    Kes
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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Tamp sufficiently so that you can turn the group handle upside down without the coffee falling out. Use 7 grams of coffee only.

  16. #16
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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    7g is for a single basket.

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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Hi guys

    All very technical, which is great. Im a real beginner and we have a Breville 800ES whch weve had for 3 years. Seems to make OK coffee but now seems to have lost pressure as it wont get through even a medium grind which is lightly tamped. Therefor my question is twofold...can it be/is it worth fixing? and also what would be a good entry/mid range machine to replace it with?

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    Senior Member GregJW's Avatar
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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Hi Mickstar and welcome to Coffee Snobs (a bit belatedly).

    Seems like not much knowledge on this forum of your Breville.

    From what Ive seen of it, its a fairly solid unit and has the potential to make a decent brew (if you modify / get rid of the pressurised PF system), but...

    It IS a mass produced consumer item and, if used often, 3 years may be about it. I think most CSers would suggest that throwing more money at it would be throwing good money after bad. Not that its been a waste of money to date - just one step down the road of making good coffee at home.

    The time has, therefore, probably come to move on up the ladder. Depends how much you want to (or are able to) spend, but generally "good entry/mid range" level is seen as an Italian single boiler machine - Rancillio Silvia being the most widely regarded ($750-800). Bear in mind that of equal (if not greater) importance is a good quality grinder (usually $300+). I myself have a Lelit Combi (Italian single boiler machine with built in Lux grinder - good value for money unit - probably fits in with your "good entry/mid range" description). If you have $3,000 + to spend, site sponsors are eagerly awaithing your call ;D.

    It is recommended you spend some time going through posts on this this site (as well as the numerous other sites out there) and/or checking out and contacting site sponsors (on left of this page).

    Enjoy the search.

    Greg

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    Senior Member GregJW's Avatar
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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Hmm...

    Reading back my post it may be inferred that a Lelit is $3,000+. :-[

    My apologies (note to self - preview your posts!).

    Lelit Combis are in the $750-800 range (unfortunately, I dont think available from site sponsors).

    My intimation was that $3,000+ would get you a very nice shiny HX machine and very good grinder, which any sponsor would love to sell to you. ;)

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    Re: Questions getting started - Sunbeam Cafe Latte

    Seems to make OK coffee but now seems to have lost pressure as it wont get through even a medium grind which is lightly tamped. Therefor my question is twofold...can it be/is it worth fixing? and also what would be a good entry/mid range machine to replace it with?

    it is common for the dual wall coffee filters to clog up when being used with a finer coffee.

    does the problem only happen with one of the baskets or both of them.
    if both, does water flow from the group head filter
    can you hear the pump running
    when was the last time you descaled



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