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Thread: which machine to buy?

  1. #1
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    which machine to buy?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,
    Im new to this forum but have been reading it extensively for the past few days.
    Am researching which machine to purchase - currently own a simple stovetop moka/espresso machine, and would like to upgrade to a real machine!! Have been tossing off between the Sunbeam EM6910 and the Silvia or Lelit but:
    -live in rural area, so am concerned about lack of servicability if the Silvia/Lelit breaks down
    -have a local retravision here which will take back a Sunbeam if it needed repairs etc
    -make only 1-2 lattes a day - so am not looking for a machine with a huge boiler capacity.
    -am concerned about aluminium in the Sunbeam - ??but is it in the external thermoblock and hence not actually in contact with the water?

    I use australian coffee beans from a brand called auswana - dont know how freshly roasted. But, I do grind my beans approximately 3 seconds before brewing!!
    And using a DeLonghi roaster - I believe has Solis internals.

    Anyone out there with advice/similar situation -would be appreciated!!

    Also - Pressurized vs Non pressurized portafilters/baskets - which one comes as standard in the Sunbeam EM6910, and why is it my general impression when reading through the forum, that the NON-pressurized variety is the best? ie....what is the difference??
    (please excuse my ignorance - am only new to this game!!).

    have a new baby and hence have been off coffee for the past 1year or so, and now regaining my enthusiasm and love of coffee!

    Thanks,

  2. #2
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2F223737262E362E2E3A430 link=1268632174/0#0 date=1268632174
    ....
    -live in rural area, so am concerned about lack of servicability if the Silvia/Lelit breaks down
    Id be more concerned about a Sunbeam breaking than a well manitained Silvia...

    -have a local retravision here which will take back a Sunbeam if it needed repairs etc
    and the a wait of month/s without a machine when/if repairs are required?

    -make only 1-2 lattes a day - so am not looking for a machine with a huge boiler capacity.
    -am concerned about aluminium in the Sunbeam - ??but is it in the external thermoblock and hence not actually in contact with the water?
    correct...

    I use australian coffee beans from a brand called auswana - dont know how freshly roasted. But, I do grind my beans approximately 3 seconds before brewing!!
    I suspect that if theyre not prepared to disclose a roast date, its because they dont want you to know!

    And using a DeLonghi roaster - I believe has Solis internals.
    Good plunger grinder, not up to the task IMHO for real espresso with non pressurised baskets. It will be fine for pressurised baskets, but the coffee will be uuuugly!

    Anyone out there with advice/similar situation -would be appreciated!!

    Also - Pressurized vs Non pressurized portafilters/baskets - which one comes as standard in the Sunbeam EM6910, and why is it my general impression when reading through the forum, that the NON-pressurized variety is the best? ie....what is the difference??
    (please excuse my ignorance - am only new to this game!!).

    have a new baby and hence have been off coffee for the past 1year or so, and now regaining my enthusiasm and love of coffee!

    Thanks,
    Good luck!

    I think you should revisit either the Lelit or the Silva with a good grinder. Look after them and your offspring will be using them long after you are gone ;)

    As for the Sunbeam....some work, many break...

    Caveat emptor and good luck- with machine and bub ;)

    2mcm

  3. #3
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    If the silva is superior to the sunbeam why are the prices similar?

  4. #4
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 515C49495850485050443D0 link=1268632174/2#2 date=1268633281
    If the silva is superior to the sunbeam why are the prices similar?
    Theyre not....The Silvia retails at well over $900...

    Best do some research in this section of the forum. There are a multitude of threads. A thermoblock appliance is a very different beast to a dual purpose single boiler machine ;)

    2mcm

  5. #5
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Hi LM. I own an EM6910 and am about to ship off my Napoletana (same machine as Lelit Combi under a different name) to another CS member. You ask some good questions and Ill try to give you the benefit of my experience, which is nowhere near as in depth as many others on here.

    Firstly the Lelit and the Silvia are pretty similar machines in their design. Theyre what are referred to as a dual purpose/single boiler machines. In simple terms the boiler runs at 2 temperatures Ė one for brewing coffee and one for steaming milk. The basic process is you first pour your shot, then flick the switch to steam which further heats up the boiler, wait for the boiler to reach temperature, steam your milk, reprime the boiler (the boiler refills automatically when brewing but not when steaming).

    I guess the advantages the Sunbeam has are that you can brew and steam at the same time, there is more steam available if you are making multiple coffees, you do not have to wait for the reheating of a boiler, and there is no manual re-filling required. The Sunbeam has 2 thermoblocks, one for brewing and one for steaming. They heat the water as it runs through them. The Lelit/Silvia have boilers i.e. a small brass vessel almost like a miniature hot water system.

    Both types of machines are capable of making excellent coffee. I may have made the Lelit/Silvia sound laborious to use, but itís not if youíre only making 1-2 coffees.

    The biggest issue with the Sunbeam is reliability. As 2mcm points out, repairs, whether under warranty or not, could end up in lengthy waits for your machine. My machine was M.I.A. last year for around 7 weeks over 2 separate occasions waiting for the Sunbeam service centre to get to it.

    On the other hand, the Lelit/Silvia machines have a simple and proven design. Both machines have been around for many years and have an excellent reputation for reliability. I believe any good coffee machine technician would be able to repair/service these machines. When my Sunbeam broke down, no one but the Sunbeam service centre would touch it.

    In answer to some of your questions Ė

    I believe the water does come in direct contact with the thermoblock. Iíve posted a picture of a typical thermoblock below, although Iím not sure which machine it came from.

    To get the best out of any the machines youíre considering youíd definitely want to upgrade your grinder also. I guess thatís one great advantage of the Lelit Ė for around the same money you get a pretty good grinder.

    The Sunbeam comes with both pressurised and unpressurised baskets. Pressurised baskets force the coffee out of a tiny hole which creates pseudo-crema. Theyíre designed to use with stale, pre-ground coffee. Iíve never used the pressurised baskets. The other 2 machines only ship with unpressurised baskets.

    Am not familiar with the brand of coffee you use. Most of us on this site either roast our own coffee or use a specialised roaster Ė most of whom would deliver anywhere in Australia. You can also look at the Brown Bay Ė top left hand corner of the page. I sometimes purchase from Coffee Craft who do not charge postage on roasted coffee.


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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 356A72646F6468616162626A6669070 link=1268632174/3#3 date=1268633669
    lattemummy wrote on --Today *at 17:08:01:
    If the silva is superior to the sunbeam why are the prices similar?


    Theyre not....The Silvia retails at well over $900...
    No reason two very different designs with very different trade-offs cant achieve (approximately) the same end result for the same initial outlay.

    To summarise slightly differently to the above...

    The Silvia is agricultural, finicky, metal and tedious for more than a few milk drinks. *But that suits many snobs - more technical, reliable, more involvement in the process.

    The Sunbeam is the modern solution, easy to use, plastic and can steam while brewing. *And that suits many snobs - its whats in the cup that counts.

    They both have downsides - if you are not careful/precise with Ms Sivlia a blown element will be a painful reminder while many will note the wear and reliability issues of the Sunbeam.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Hi S,
    thanks for the concise summary - has been helpful.
    I think I will go with the sunbeam.
    It will certainly be easier to use if i have screaming bub in the background etc, and safer when toddler tries to reach out and touch etc (as I think the sunbeam cools down faster - doesnt have as much thermal battery as the 300mL Silvia boiler).

    as for pressurized vs unpressurized baskets - any special way to use them, or just use the unpressurized one as it will produce better results?

    Thanks.

    Whcih one do you have btw?


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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4D405555444C544C4C58210 link=1268632174/6#6 date=1268709270
    Hi S,
    thanks for the concise summary - has been helpful.
    I think I will go with the sunbeam.
    It will certainly be easier to use if i have screaming bub in the background etc, and safer when toddler tries to reach out and touch etc (as I think the sunbeam cools down faster - doesnt have as much thermal battery as the 300mL Silvia boiler).

    as for pressurized vs unpressurized baskets - any special way to use them, or just use the unpressurized one as it will produce better results?

    Thanks.

    Whcih one do you have btw?
    Treat it correctly and it will support you well. Miss treat it and it will bit rather quickly..

    Depending on ya grinder.. I would suggest you may end up with teh pressurized baskets.. As they will manage a courser grind and assist you in getting something that LOOKS OK.

    Once you have been using for a while and or get a better grinder; then I can highly recommend that you go to the un-pressurized baskets.

    Note: Fresh beans and not from the supermarket/ GJ or other fast serve places.

    And do lots of reading on the many EM6910 topics.

  9. #9
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Good luck LM. I would very highly recommend an extended warranty and dont be afraid to haggle.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    I love a good haggle so dont worry will do my darndest.
    however, does anyone have suggestions where to look other than the standard Myer/DJ/Retravision/clivepeters etc??

  11. #11
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 55584D4D5C544C545440390 link=1268632174/9#9 date=1268710381
    I love a good haggle so dont worry will do my darndest.
    however, does anyone have suggestions where to look other than the standard Myer/DJ/Retravision/clivepeters etc??
    NO.. The other on-line places and and some discount shops have SIGNIFICANT RISKS.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    risks??? ie- do you mean not supplying quality goods, or not coughing up on warrantee when /if needed??

    thanks,

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5855404051594159594D340 link=1268632174/11#11 date=1268711244
    risks??? ie- do you mean not supplying quality goods, or not coughing up on warrantee when /if needed??

    thanks,
    Possible all of the above.. Warranty is two fold.. Manufactures warranty and the sellers warranty. Dont assume what warranty is or might cover..

    Then try and get after sales support.. Opps page not found, e-mail bounce etc etc.

    For a few dollars more; deal with the big guys who can support the warranty that they offer.

  14. #14
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    thanks,
    all your info and advice has been great!
    i will go forth and purchase!

    LM

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7875606071796179796D140 link=1268632174/13#13 date=1268785797
    thanks,
    all your info and advice has been great!
    i will go forth and purchase!

    LM
    Good luck LM. Let us know if its still working in a year from now.


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    Re: which machine to buy?

    id like to know, just out of interest, how many CSers actually own a sunbeam EM6910 - i wonder if one can do a mini poll or something.
    just musing....

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    I have owned one for about 12 months now.

    So far..... excellent!!!!

    Only problem is that I can only see my next upgrade being a dual boiler or HX...$$$

  18. #18
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Iíve had a 6910/0480 combo for around 10 months, purchased at 6 months of age from another CSer. It certainly gave me a taste for decent coffee and after around 5 months I upgraded to an ECM Giotto.

    In protest over being replaced by a flashy Italian the 6910 broke down just when another CSer was about to hand over cash for her. After 2 months of messing around with the local Sunbeam service centre she finally got fixed by has only been used occasionally since then when one of my other machines was being serviced. From memory the repairs cost me ~$140. Has worked perfectly since the repair but am apprehensive about selling in case of another break down.

    I sold the 0480 grinder but have since bought another one to use as decaf grinder.

    In summary it has been a fairly typical relationship with the 6910 for me i.e. not reliable but has set my on my path of coffee snobbery-ism.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7E656C7A79740D0 link=1268632174/16#16 date=1268885507
    I have owned one for about 12 months now.

    So far..... excellent!!!!

    Only problem is that I can only see my next upgrade being a dual boiler or HX...$$$
    giggled like a schoolgirl..

    Ya the EM6910; when used correctly and treated with TLC, does tend to spoil one and thus teh upgrade path is STEEP... Very Steep :o

    I went to a Great machine (about to go up for sale) and while I loved it..... Peer pressure and access to a few $$$ was unable to resist the urge for dual boiler in a small footprint and now have a DCM 8-)

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7F50595B4C735F505F595B535B504A3E0 link=1268632174/18#18 date=1268886252
    Peer pressure and access to a few $$$ was unable to resist the urge for dual boiler in a small footprint and now have a DCM

    Data Center Manager? Debt Capital Markets? Distinguished Conduct Medal?


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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 52554E46415354200 link=1268632174/19#19 date=1268892804
    Quote Originally Posted by 7F50595B4C735F505F595B535B504A3E0 link=1268632174/18#18 date=1268886252
    Peer pressure and access to a few $$$ was unable to resist the urge for dual boiler in a small footprint and now have a DCM

    Data Center Manager? *Debt Capital Markets? Distinguished Conduct Medal?
    Dont Come Monday ;)

    Della Corte Mini; hence the FS post that just went up :( :( :( :(

  22. #22
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    I had one, until it died recently. I have no regrets, because before my Sunbeam I was very naive and had no idea about anything. My wife bought it for me 2 christmas ago and thats when I joined Coffeesnobs. Without my Sunbeam I wouldnt be here today enjoying great coffee - but you must beware of its limitations.

    Along with the em0480 grinder, I was able to make really good coffee and great milk texture.

    I really looked after it, with regular cleaning, backflushing and descaling.

    i was in the habit of overdosing my basket so 6 months ago my collar and seal needed changing. Cost $150.

    Then 6 months later one day it wouldnt turn on from standby mode and it got diagnosed as a PCB (control board) fault and the quote to fix it was just over $200. Thats when I decided to jump ship and buy a proper Hx machine and new grinder.

    I still am thinking about getting it fixed as a backup or so I can sell it possibly.

    Anyway, as has been said on numerous occasions, it makes great coffee, *and is not terribly difficult to master.

    However it will eventually die on you whether 14 months or 2-3 years it will develop costly problems.

    You can choose to have it fixed, but as a percentage of purchase price the repair costs are way too high.

    PS I have a friend with a 3-4 year old Sunbeam going strong, but he has 2-4 coffees on weekends only, so it depends on how much use its going to get.

    I have another non-coffeesnob friend with a Silvia/Rocky combo and he finds it too fiddly and he hasnt bothered mastering it yet.

    My point is The Silvia is a great option, but if youre one of those people who wont persevere with trying to master its imperfections then dont buy it. On the other hand if youre willing to hang in there and get your technique down pat then it will repay you with great coffee and will probably last you much longer than the Sunbeam.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Got a sunbeam in the end.
    arrived yesterday and am very excited to try it.
    !!!!

  24. #24
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    i run a 6910 with the 0480 grinder

    bit of fiddling with the grind, but you get there. aim for a grind setting on the 0480 of about 15.5 -16. grind, settle, grind, level and tamp.

    Aim for the basket to be tamped to the point where the silver of the tamp is just visible -any more and you will kill shower seals.

    Also, pay the $40 to a sunbeam agent and buy a replacement seal and anti-calc filter.


    I use the tablets in the tank to clean it every couple months and cafetto about the same frequency. I pull around 10-15 shots a week.

    On that, I use Homebrand Lite Milk so texturing is not spot on and you wont get the best rosetta. I am too much of a tight-wad to spend over $4 for a 2 litre full cream Pauls.

    Good luck - PM me if you need help. Once you get confident, start fudging with the steam "wetness" - i about to dry mine up a little

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 767E77796E6E69751B0 link=1268632174/23#23 date=1270101663
    silver of the tamp is just visible
    ? what does silver of the tamp mean - Do all tamps have the same depth silver? i only have the tamp supplied by sunbeam-came in the box.

    dont know what 15.5 setting is equivalent to on my grinder - it doesnt have numerical settings, just size of dots!!!! im currently just using the finest grind possible - as this is what the consensus opinion seems to be - ie, push the burr grinder all the way to the left. smallest dot.
    sorry if i seem naive or silly!!!!!

    LM

  26. #26
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 252D242A3D3D3A26480 link=1268632174/23#23 date=1270101663
    i run a 6910 with the 0480 grinder

    bit of fiddling with the grind, but you get there. *aim for a grind setting on the 0480 of about 15.5 *-16. *grind, settle, grind, level and tamp.

    Aim for the basket to be tamped to the point where the silver of the tamp is just visible *-any more and you will kill shower seals.

    Also, pay the $40 to a sunbeam agent and buy a replacement seal and anti-calc filter. *


    I use the tablets in the tank to clean it every couple months and cafetto about the same frequency. *I pull around 10-15 shots a week.

    On that, I use Homebrand Lite Milk so texturing is not spot on and you wont get the best rosetta. *I am too much of a tight-wad to spend over $4 for a 2 litre full cream Pauls.

    Good luck - PM me if you need help. *Once you get confident, start fudging with the steam "wetness" - i about to dry mine up a little
    Every grinder will vary a little bit despite being calibrated at the factory.

    My grinder hovers between 10-14 depending on the freshness of the beans (14 just after roasting, 10 when about three weeks post roast and a little stale).

    Every grinder is different. Even if you disassemble and put it together again, it will be different again because of the minute tolerances involved.

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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0D001515040C140C0C18610 link=1268632174/24#24 date=1270179640
    Quote Originally Posted by 767E77796E6E69751B0 link=1268632174/23#23 date=1270101663
    silver of the tamp is just visible
    ? what does silver of the tamp mean - Do all tamps have the same depth silver? i only have the tamp supplied by sunbeam-came in the box.

    dont know what 15.5 setting is equivalent to on my grinder - it doesnt have numerical settings, just size of dots!!!! im currently just using the finest grind possible - as this is what the consensus opinion seems to be - ie, push the burr grinder all the way to the left. smallest dot.
    sorry if i seem naive or silly!!!!!

    LM
    Start at the setting that clogs your machine. Ie. Only a few drops of black goo comes out after 30s.

    Then work your way one step up until you get a nice crema that drips like heavy cream.

  28. #28
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3A372222333B233B3B2F560 link=1268632174/24#24 date=1270179640
    what does silver of the tamp mean
    The tamper that comes with the Sunbeam has a metal (silver looking) part glued to a plastic handle.

    Aim to consistently have no more than 3mm showing above the top of the basket.

  29. #29
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    thanks TG, will try that.
    The idea by EL to start at the gooey end and work up is good too, will try that too.

  30. #30
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    Re: which machine to buy?

    [split] [link=http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1270373304/0#0][splithere][/link][splithere_end]



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