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Thread: How To Get Best Results /w a Cheapo Steam Machine?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    How To Get Best Results /w a Cheapo Steam Machine?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi guys, got tired to bleeding money to my local cafe every morning so i got myself a cheap coffee maker. Got some cheap sunbeam model for AUD99 at kmart. It was terrible. Leaked everywhere. Returned it one day after making my first espresso.

    I got a breville bar italia instead. AUD70... how bad could it be? i thought to myself...

    Thats when i stepped on to the learning curve.

    Its a steam powered machine and the instructions tell me to fill it up with water and turn the dial to the "cup" setting. That turns on the boiler and coffee starts dripping out after a few minutes.

    That is a bad bad bad way to make coffee. The first few ml of coffee is actually cold!

    So what i do now is turn the dial the the steam function first, wait for the water to boil and for steam to be released, then only do i start making my coffee. The coffee comes out instantly and hot.

    I noticed that I cant get a good extraction with only 30ml. this machine needs about 50ml to extract flavour from the grounds (lavazza oro).

    Id advise someone against getting this machine because:

    1) Difficult to fill water without overfilling.
    2) Does not make a real espresso. No crema. Less aroma.
    3) bitter aftertaste. Extraction is too fast (10secs yields like 50ml! ), too hot and it makes the coffee bitter!
    4) No tamper provided.

    That said, it does make a decent coffee once you learn how to use it. With milk it isnt too bad and is actually comparable to the "flat white" coffees at some coffeeshops. I drink my coffee black most of the time and i dont like bitter coffee so that is a problem for me.

  2. #2
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Re: How To Get Best Results /w a Cheapo Steam Mach

    Welcome to Coffee Snobs ezralimm.

    I think youll find the Lavazza oro is stale.

    You need freshly ground beans if you want flavour and a slower pour.

    "comparable to the "flat white" coffees at some coffeeshops" isnt good enough for me any more.
    In fact my first home made flat white was better than that.

    Are you thinking of upgrading yet or persisting with the Breville for a while?

  3. #3
    Kes is offline
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Re: How To Get Best Results /w a Cheapo Steam Mach

    Hi ezralimm

    Firstly, you should know that Sunbeam and Breville are the same company! They largely differ in cosmetics only. They also make some models for a UK brand called Morphy Richards.
    Secondly, Ive found that using a slightly coarser grind than recommended for a machine works best, otherwise the filter baskets on these models get clogged easily, which tends to cause that problem of a large delay before the water comes out. Do make sure the "heating" light has gone out and dont be afraid to pre-heat your group handle and basket before dosing up.

    Im using a Sunbeam 3800m which is a model up from the Bar Italia. Im finding that I get a damned good coffee with a slightly coarser grind, using the 2-cup basket rather than the 1-cup one and steaming the milk before extracting. I also grind my own - that has proved to be one of the best moves Ive made.


  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Re: How To Get Best Results /w a Cheapo Steam Mach

    Thanks for the replies guys.

    I am looking to get a proper setup soon. I just want to make decent espressos. But it looks like I will need to spend considerably more to achieve that.

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