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Thread: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

  1. #1
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    Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

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

    A few months ago Robusto posted Silvia eye cast over Sunbeam. This is in many respects my own version, but coupled with a little practical experience. Its not intended to be an in-depth comparison of the two machines but going through the normal operations does lend itself to comparison with ones personal experiences here and there.

    Since I started at Epic Ive seen the 6910s they use for the Sunbeam training sitting out the back, and last weekend I had the opportunity to use one at a friends place. Im a Silvia owner so I was interested to see how it stacked up compared to what Im used to.

    Aesthetically, my impressions have always been that the Sunbeam is an impressive machine. It looks sturdy, the group area has a big surround around it which heats up quite quickly, it has separate knobs for the separate hot water and steam wands, both of which are ball-jointed and noticeably thicker than Silvias, it has a brew pressure gauge which the Silvia also lacks (albeit with no numeric scale), the portafilter is unoffensive though not as solid as Silvias and the baskets are big and without any curious profiles. I also liked the visible water tank level.

    So I was very much looking forward to giving the machine a workout when I stopped at my friends place (the machine it should be noted was still on the factory settings, but this is probably the fairest way to evaluate a factory machine). When you start the brew pump you get a few pulses of the pump which squirts a bit of water from the group, which is their version of pre-infusion (not great but better than nothing), and the volumetric pump takes care of the rest. Or you can run it in full manual mode.

    I then moved to the impressive steam wand, still feeling like it was a decent machine. Opened the knob to bleed the wand expecting the flood of steam Im used to from Silvia, and ... nothing. Then a sound which was horribly reminiscent of a $150 Breville - dnk ... dnk ... dnk ... dnk as water was pulsed into the steam thermoblock. There seemed to be a microswitch on the knob which clicked to engage the pump - obviously trying to give a boiler full of steam feel by having the knob, but unfortunately without the boiler full of steam. The steam which eventually came out was fairly dry but the volume was atrocious! I stretched all the way to 65 degrees with a reasonable whirlpool and still only got just passable latte milk. The volume didnt feel that much more, if any more, than what Ive experienced with other thermoblock machines in the past. The knob may as well have been a switch, as flat out isnt nearly enough. The same happened with the hot water knob and the start of the brew cycle - dnk dnk dnk dnk.

    So that side of the machine was a thorough disappointment - it felt like popping the bonnet of a Ferrari and finding a lawnmower engine inside.

    Interestingly my friend pointed out that some rust had started appearing on his machine, not the first report Ive heard of this. He showed that a magnet would stick to the side and front stainless panels but not to the jug. This indicates a high component of ferrous metal in the supposedly stainless steel panels, and he also noted that the undersides of all panels including the drip tray were polished surfaces. This means polished is the normal finish for this rust-prone stuff and the brushed finish simply provides more areas for water to collect and start eating it away. Tried the magnet on the Silvia and it dropped straight off, indicating true stainless panels.


    So my thoughts? It certainly has potential; there are some things I prefer to the Silvia, particularly the thick ball-jointed steam wand, the espresso quality was good and I reckon itll take larger cups under the group. But there are some areas where corners have been cut, and it shows - as far as assembly materials and performance goes (especially on steam), the Silvia is streets ahead. The Sunbeam looks more modern than the Silvia in its aesthetics, i.e. having some shape and not just a rectangular box, but the Silvia would in my mind be more the no-fuss workhorse.

    The Silvia fits into a well-established niche in the market - it makes no pretentions about what it can do. It claims to be a commercial quality single boiler machine and its exactly that. The Sunbeam is not as simple. For $600, the features it sports are normally seen on machines three times its price, so its a bargain for the features, but it doesnt execute those features nearly as well, though nor should it be expected to. The Silvias been around for a long time, Id guess it was designed in the early 90s, and Rancilio could do with giving it more of an overhaul than just a new drip tray pattern, e.g. visible water tank level, improved steam arm and a steam wand that doesnt drip.

    All up, I still think the Silvias the winner, but only because the Silvia will give you a better chance of producing commercial quality drinks than the Sunbeam, particularly when it comes to milk texturing. It may take a bit longer, but at least it can be done. Personally Id rather pay $700 for a Silvia and get a HX later, than try to get one machine to do both, but not quite achieve either.

    Final note: Everyone has their own priorities, so there is no one perfect machine. These are just the observations which led me to ultimately form my personal opinion.

  2. #2
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Thats quite a well-rounded, thorough and objective review, Greg. Unlike me, youve used both to do your evaluation.

    Ive seen but have never used the Sunbeam.

    However, I nonetheles had formed my opinions, and your post has confirmed my suspicions and doubts.

    -Robusto

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Greg did you use the default steam settings or was it cranked up using the programmable features of the 6910?

    There is another thread describing this tweak and the improvement it makes.

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Quote Originally Posted by barri link=1176805558/0#2 date=1176807229
    Greg did you use the default steam settings or was it cranked up using the programmable features of the 6910?
    In the opening post I mentioned "the machine it should be noted was still on the factory settings, but this is probably the fairest way to evaluate a factory machine." I realise it can be tweaked, but so can the Silvia, albeit not as easily.

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Hi Greg - I cant leave this alone. The fairest way of comparing the machines is to crank up the steam as per many on this forum. It is not a tweak as such because the machine is programmable. I dare say starting off with weak steam is not a bad way to learn and then to progress from there. To use the Ferrari analogy, a number of high performance motor vehicles have a valet swith which allows users of the vehicle to access only half power or therabouts. In effect the factory setting is valet mode - not necessarily for any particular purpose though. Please go back and program the steam for full power and then test again...you will be surprised with the difference. My steaming times posted on this site prove the speed and others have remarked at how well it steams when turned up - for eg Wushoes who had a Silvia before and was dissapointed with the steaming on the EM6910 before he adjusted it up.

    If the machine had a manual knob allowing only half steam power or full, you would have turned it up to full, so why not use the electronic version which takes 5 seconds to program and crank it up. The steam can be made wetter or dryer also.

    I would respect your opinion on the difference between the 2 machines steaming power once you test the two with the Ems choke/restrictor removed. For now, with respect the test is simply not fair, nor a proper representation of what the machine can do out of the box.

    Look forward to the next installment.

    Oz

    PS. I dont think that rust has been a problem with the EM with the only person who has noted it from memory was someone who put it in an office where commercial cleaners had access to the machine....there was no definitive answer to all that. I dont know anyone else with the problem.

    As to built quality, the Silvia has to have somthing on the EM for the price difference :)

  6. #6
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    ...its not a tweak Greg - please see above

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Ozscott,

    No worries will give that a try. I take your point about the definition of a mod, its just a pity they didnt have that as the default setting so people who may not be bothered to change it could get the full benefit on offer.

    Time will tell regarding the rust on the stainless steel, but my concerns arent allayed by its magnetic qualities. This quality in itself suggests its a cheaper ferritic or martensitic stainless steel with a lower nickel content and lower corrosion resistance (400 grade), rather than an austenitic grade in the 300 range, such as 304.

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Mate - your are the metalurgy specialist. I have no doubt that you are right about the quality issue of the steel...but in the end once the steam is cranked up there is no wait time between pulling shots and you can steam jug after jug...so your getting almost a HX for a fraction...somthing has to miss out. Its probably long term service/finish, although it would have to be a bit abused to rust up generally speaking I would have thought, but again I would be guided by you about those matters Greg.

    Cheers

    PS. First time the steam is used in a session a purge of 20-30 seconds really gets is going hard. After that you can do jug after jug etc

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    steam temp to max...pump to recovery to -.2

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Hardly! :) My friend suggested that and I confirmed it on http://www.azom.com/details.asp?ArticleID=470 (thanks Google!)

    As you say, time will tell on that. As I mentioned at the conclusion of my article, Im not saying the Sunbeams no good - at that price its hard to beat with its features. Its just that my feelings are, as a Silvia owner, there are a few areas that really let it down that should be understood before people presume they do the same quality stuff but the Sunbeam does more of it.

    Anecdotally, several other very well-trained Sunbeam users who will remain nameless find the steam even when tweaked a letdown on this machine in comparison to a Silvia, which is in turn dismal compared to top commercial machines. Its hard to give a fair relative rating of the steam on x machine compared to y machine when one has only used x. Its a good exercise if you have the opportunity to use the machines everyones discussing, and Id certainly be interested for someone else who has used the Sunbeam (modded and unmodded) AND the Silvia to offer their comparative opinion.

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Yep - that why I said I would respect your opinion once you test with the steam turned up - I dont have a Silvia to test against, and youve been around machines much more than I, I would have thought.

    Cheers

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Ill see what I can do.... ;)

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    yeah dont drag me in to it ozscott...no offence mate. Agree with Greg re: steam. Even tweaked it still shits me. Very wet and hard to control.

    Nice write up Greg.

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    I think the flow of steam from my Sunny compared to my Giotto is like comparing a dinghy to The World

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    I also cant get over the noise of the thing. Gregs description of "dnk...dnk...dnk...dnk." sums it up well enough for me! The Silvia makes a far more pleasant noise when brewing and I cant hear anything except for the sound of the steam when steaming!


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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Wushoes - I thought that you were happy with it after the tweak. On that basis given your experience, then it must not be as good as the Silvia. Frankly I am happy with it and I produce multiple coffees for people on a regular basis, but I havnt driven that metaphorical Ferrari, so for me obviously not knowing what Im missing is not a problem. OK then steaming is not as good as Silvia when tweaked...how longs a piece of string.

    The simultaneous steaming ability and abosolutely zero recovery time between shots and between steaming must be taken into account when comparing machines and their abilities to make millk coffees for a number of guests etc.

    Scootagirl - Noise, Smoise...its a great machine at the price! Noise adds character!

    Cheers

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Quote Originally Posted by Wushoes link=1176805558/0#12 date=1176809688
    yeah dont drag me in to it ozscott...no offence mate. Agree with Greg re: steam. Even tweaked it still shits me. Very wet and hard to control.

    Nice write up Greg.
    Was a good write up.. even as a EM6910 owner, the steam also frustrates me a bit... but hey, maybe because Im ready for the next level... HX or Minore II :-) (If I had the cash, Id already have one) It is, in my opinion still a little too wet, but once you "master" it, you can get microfoam easy enough... I do agree though that Greg you should maximise the steam (however Pump Recovery should be at .01 not .02 as ozscott suggested for a dryer steam) and perhaps up the brew temp also... these are nessesary for advanced users like us... :-) then make the comparison..

    In regards to the panels, Ive got no rust on mine... although it could very well be a cheaper form of SS...

    I think, at the end of all the comparisons, reality is both the Silvia and Em6900/\/6910 can make a quality coffee in the right hands... peoples personal preferences aside...

    Cheers, Marc

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    -0.2 s makes the steam overly wet IMO. But there is a marked drop is steaming performance when you go from -0.2s to -0.1s

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott link=1176805558/15#15 date=1176836341
    Wushoes - I thought that you were happy with it after the tweak. On that basis given your experience, then it must not be as good as the Silvia. Frankly I am happy with it and I produce multiple coffees for people on a regular basis, but I havnt driven that metaphorical Ferrari, so for me obviously not knowing what Im missing is not a problem. OK then steaming is not as good as Silvia when tweaked...how longs a piece of string.

    The simultaneous steaming ability and abosolutely zero recovery time between shots and between steaming must be taken into account when comparing machines and their abilities to make millk coffees for a number of guests etc.

    Scootagirl - Noise, Smoise...its a great machine at the price! Noise adds character!

    Cheers
    I understand where you are coming from mate. Shot to shot ability...silvia cannot keep up. Theres no comparison, the Sunbeam wins hands down in that department. My initial observations also tell me that the intra-shot stability is also impressive. But steaming performance is still woeful compared to boiler machines. Steam is too wet and not conducive to making microfoam. It is possible to make very good microfoam however.....all technique here.

    Id be happy with a thermoblock - boiler machine. Boiler for steam...that would be kick ass on the Sunbeam. Do you really think Paul Bassett wanted dual thermoblocks...more like dual boiler.

    GS/3 here I come?

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Agreed Wushoes, TB for Brew and Boiler for Steam... perfect!!!

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    I got a copy of a respectable consumer review report which tested a bunch of espresso and coffee magazine. *The article was written a while ago and amongst the models compared, the Rancilio Silvia and the Sunbeam EM6900 were tested.

    The testers were from a couple of important sounding companies, but due to ruthless compliance with this forums posting rules about mentioning other commercial interests, I will defer to mention any names. *Suffice to say that the barristas they used knew what they are talking about.

    The summary of their report, which is not sponsored by any vendor or external funding reveals the following about the two products:

    <start quote>

    RANCILIO Miss Silvia:

    Good points:
    Cup warming plate
    Easy to use group handle with large filter basket
    Very good for frothing milk

    Bad points:
    The water level cannot be seen in the tank
    Inconsistent temperature when making consecutive cups

    Sunbeam Cafe Series EM6900

    Good points:
    Its twin thermoblock and pump mean you can make coffee and froth milk at the same time
    Has a light that indicates when the water tank is empty
    The large filter is easy to clean and empty
    Temperature fairly consistent when making consecutive cups
    Programmable coffee quantity
    Has a cord storage facility
    Easy to keep exterior clean
    Automatic turn off

    Bad points:
    Control lights are harder to see and pushbutton switches are more difficult than on some other machines

    <end quote>

    I learnt a couple of things from that review.

    I didnt know that the Sunbeam had auto power off, and a place to hide the powercord! :D

    The testers didnt seem to think that the steam output from the Sunbeam was a problem enough to mention...

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    I will admit that I wasnt expecting to see how the Sunbeams hot water wand delivers water. *The boiling water comes out in pulsed quantities, as the pump goes brr, brr, brr, brr. *I guess Ive got no experience with other thermoblock designs so I dont know if this is "normal" for this category or not.

    However, Id imagine that Sunbeams steam and water delivery would be commensurate with the target market segment from a safety point of view. *If instant forceful amounts of steam spewed from the steam wand to an unsuspecting newbie home user, and caused burns, this product could become a class action liability to Sunbeam. *The pulsing noises that start when the steam or hot water knobs are turned could be an audible warning to the uninitiated that something is about to happen! * ;D



    What I REALLY do like about the Sunbeam is the excellent fit and finish. *There is a precision and fine finish which I did NOT expect out of a product made in China. * :o

    But I am happy that it is a good looking machine and stand up to close scrutiny. *No cheap looking knobs anywhere in sight. * ;) *And as mentioned before, the smooth action ball jointed steam wand and hot water wand just feel great. * :)



    I did the magnet test on the stainless body, and true enough, the fridge magnet stuck to the stainless steel. *I tested the same fridge magnet on my stainless steel refrigerator/range hood/oven/cooktop/dishwasher or even the s/s sink.

    Oops, so its not good quality s/s then. * :-/



    p.s. Good first review, Greg. I found it well balanced and first impressions are often what lasts.




  23. #23
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    tempestv8 the report you are refering to is the Choice one I believe.
    It has been discussed here several times and its shortcomings pointed out.

    Heres the most recent thread:
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1173669662/

    And the one before:
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1166398601/15#15

    As an auditor I wasnt happy with the lack of information provided as to the "going in" criteria.
    I also disliked the inconsistancy with their findings.

    Heres some of what I had to say:

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1173669662/15#17 date=1173744887
    One of our testers swears by using
    local beans over the major players, which he believes to be fresher than those available in supermarkets.
    Only one of three?

    Why is the ECM Botticelli II "expensive" at $995 but the ASCASO Dream M.F at $999 not?
    Is it because they couldnt find a bad point?

    This shows a lack of consistency in the appraisal and a definite subjectivity rather than objectivity.
    Why select such a broad price range if they are going to punish the ones at the top of the bracket with comments like that?

    I have subscribed to Choice for many years but do not respect their opinion at all on espresso machines.

    As an example, in the report there is a "Coffee Making Tips" section.
    One of those tips is "Always use fresh water straight from the tap or bottled water that doesn’t have a chlorine flavour".
    I think the members from Perth would all cringe at that one.





  24. #24
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    At the risk of raking over old coals, that test didnt address the fundamentals of coffee machines and coffee making.

    Many of the conclusions reached--- good or bad -- are totally irrelevant to the machines potential for making coffee or steaming milk.

    A retractable cord for instance. *Silvias cup warmer (make that tepid). *

    It was Choice which once reached the conclusion that one of the better machines was not *up to scratch because its portafilter was too heavy (compared to those nice, neat, light, cute pressed aluminium ones presumably).

    -Robusto

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Yes, TG is correct... Choice are useless at doing Espresso Machine reviews.. in fact, theyre pathetic at it... As you travel further along your coffee journey tempestv8, you will see this more clearly.

    :-)

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Quote Originally Posted by marcstolk link=1176805558/15#24 date=1176878439
    Yes, TG is correct... Choice are useless at doing Espresso Machine reviews.. in fact, theyre pathetic at it... *As you travel further along your coffee journey tempestv8, you will see this more clearly.

    :-)

    <in the best possble Yoda voice>

    Mmm! *Much to learn, I have! * *;)

    OK, Im only going on what Ive read.

    Every "expert" has an opinion, and in following the opinions of the most respectable experts on this and various other forums, I have always taken the approach of listening (reading) what knowledgeable people say, and then going out there to check it out for myself. *Then I draw my own conclusions.

    If I put all the "experts" into one room, Id doubt it very much that everyone will agree on any one particular subjective matter.

    I need to evaluate all sides of the story and weigh up everything before I form my own opinion. *As you can all see, this is the process that Im going through right now (in my quest for a grinder).

    p.s. Mind you, I didnt really agree with what the testers said about the Sunbeams control lights being hard to see - its right in your face, so how can that be hard to see? *But thats their opinion and they are entitled to it.


    - Lawrance


  27. #27
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    As 10 "experts" for an opinion, and you will get 11 answers. Many of which may not be "correct"

    -Robusto

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Quote Originally Posted by robusto link=1176805558/15#23 date=1176878082
    It was Choice which once reached the conclusion that one of the better machines was not up to scratch because its portafilter was too heavy
    -Robusto
    Tempestv8,

    This comment from Choice settled it for me... where are the "experts" in this comment? It was written after the event of actual testing and was probably never discussed with the so call experts, whoever they me be, as to "WHY" the portafilter was heavy (my 22month old Son picks up my heavy" PF all the time with no trouble - and its solid brass!)... so again, a lack of Espresso knowledge will ALWAYS give you "inaccurate" advise/\/recommendations.

    Marc

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Hi Marc,

    Ive looked up and down through this review (updated Dec 2006), and can find no mention about the weight of the PF being an issue for any of the machines.

    Just so that everybody knows what the reviewers are testing for, its not simply the quality of the espresso that comes out, but a weighted review of the following areas:

    Coffee making - 60%
    Ease of use - 30%
    Milk frothing - 10%

    Coffee making:

    The coffee was rated by 3 industry professionals for crema colour and thickness, the aroma, flavour, etc and they assessed how hot the coffee was and temperature consistency when making consecutive cups.

    Ease of use:

    Testers were looking at water container access and convenience, filter convenience, controls, ease of cleaning and coffee making operation and and handling.

    Milk frothing:

    (test did not say what the criteria is)




    Seems like pretty well rounded set of criteria.

    Kinda like if they were testing a bunch of cars and the "experts" proclaim that the Toyota Corolla won the review, all the passionate Alfa Romeo owners will kick up a storm. *And the Nissan folk will disagree, and the Hyundai folks will still be happy with their value conscious purchases no matter who says what.

    In the end, we all make our choices and are happiest consumers are the ones where theyve made an informed choice based on the available data about a product and how it fits in with their needs at the time.

    Choice is good for those who dont have the time to do any research, but are willing to pay someone to make that informed choice for them.

    Of course, what may ultimately be right for someone else, may only be OK or so so for you or me as an individual. Personally speaking, Ive made no informed decision on the Sunbeam Espresso machine and it was only through post purchase research that I realise its not a bad machine at all.

    I am happy with the Sunbeam because it meets MY needs, and no doubt the needs of a lot of people. *No product will meet the needs of all people, so Im glad that we all have the chance to make our choices.

    Thats why I love these forums - I get to hear everyones opinions! * :D






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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Greg,
    A very interesting and fair report. *No machine can be perfect especially in the $1000 and less zone.
    You were very brave to write it. *The EM6910 fans are really cornering the website. *It is nice to hear something nice about Sylvia.
    Just like to thank you
    David

  31. #31
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Lawrence I do the same when researching and agree that the industry professional tasters should have the cred to be believed.

    But as marcstolk suggested some comments would appear to have been written without regard to the actual tests.

    Id forgotten about the cord storage comment. Who cares?
    My cord was plugged in day one and has only been removed once to add a timer.

    The comment Robusto made was "once reached the conclusion".
    I took that to mean a previous report.
    They have reviewed espresso machines before.

    I started auditing testing back in 1997.
    My personal opinion is that Choice, going by what theyve published, fall well short of accepted worlds best practice testing and reporting, when it comes to espresso equipment.

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1176805558/15#22 date=1176877178

    As an example, in the report there is a "Coffee Making Tips" section.
    One of those tips is "Always use fresh water straight from the tap or bottled water that doesn’t have a chlorine flavour".
    I think the members from Perth would all cringe at that one.

    You betcha.... use tap water here in Perth (or in Adelaide) in any coffee machine and you will wreck it in very short order..... and most bottled waters are also very high in calcium.... which will also wreck any coffee machine..... so anyone who knows anything about coffee machines would NEVER make such a stupid statement......

    Mind you its in line with other statements in that "review" which are equally correct.... I suggest that Choice stay with evaluating normal "whitegoods" (which they do excellently) and stay well away from Coffee Machines - their expertise just isnt there!!

  33. #33
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    I had a laugh...I chuck tap water in my machine...Melbourne water isnt too shabby. But its filtered from the fridge

  34. #34
    TC
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Yeppers...There are only a few problems with Choices review...

    -The "industry professionals" are not held in particularly high regard for a whole host of reasons I wont go into...
    -No info on coffee used, whether it was fresh or not, ground correctly or not...
    -No info nor discussion on the fact that 1/2 of em use pressurised portafilters and the associated issues...

    and thats only a start...

    Most here would agree that Choice know about as much about coffee as I know about publishing magazines....

    We wait for the day that they actually produce something of value when it comes to coffee....

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1176805558/30#30 date=1176881859

    The comment Robusto made was "once reached the conclusion".
    I took that to mean a previous report.
    They have reviewed espresso machines before.

    I started auditing testing back in 1997.
    My personal opinion is that Choice, going by what theyve published, fall well short of accepted worlds best practice testing and reporting, when it comes to espresso equipment.

    Thundergod
    Id certainly agree re your comments on not following "best practice".....

    They also rehash previous testing results.... without necessarily updating them...

    For example the EM6900 was a real lemon.... it failed more often than it worked.... it was an embarrassment to Sunbeam (and thats a "good" machine?????)

    It has now been replaced by the EM6910 - which performs well and appears to be reliable.....

    I rest my case.... Choice, either use a better testing methodology for Coffee Machines or stay to areas where you do have the expertise.

  36. #36
    chris002200
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    I think that the original post that Greg made was a good one as a "comparison" between a machine that he uses and a machine that is very heavily discussed in the coffeesnobs forum. Sure there may have been a few things that 6910 users would disagree on and would want changed etc. . .

    Choice is choice... thats all there is to it.

    A commercially paid outfit that supports commercial companies.

    I am sure that they have their place in the market. It helps the average Joe Bloggs to have a little in sight as to what is there.

    Not all people purchasing a coffee machine are coffee snobs. I personally know a lot of people that have purchased coffee machines because they simply want to make a coffee in their own kitchen without having to go out to a professional establishment.

    Some people even spend thousands on a super auto because they want the ease of use.

    I guess this is where choice comes into their own niche

    When people are serious about making coffee and have the passion, that is when they will look into the more expertise machines etc.


    I think that Gregs original post has been taken off topic a fair way.


  37. #37
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Quote Originally Posted by tempestv8 link=1176805558/15#28 date=1176881095
    Hi Marc,

    Ive looked up and down through this review (updated Dec 2006), and can find no mention about the weight of the PF being an issue for any of the machines.
    No, you wont find it in that review. I said " it was Choice which once reached the conclusion....." Meaning it was a previous review.

    That result stuck in my mind -- as it would -- and Ive mentioned it at every opportnunity since to deride Choices coffee machine reviews. They are laughable ;D ;D If the subject were not serious >:(

    I subscribe to Choice -- I dont know why, certainly not for their coffee machine reviews... but I agree with JavaB: let them stick to white goods and the like and steer clear of coffee machines at least.

    -Robusto

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Hehe, yes its almost turned into a third thread on the Choice article review, and the 6910 didnt even feature in that review so go figure.

    Anyway the good news is that while this started off based on about 45 minutes of playing with the Sunbeam its soon to change. Thanks to my very good friends at Epic, Ive managed to snaffle a 6910 and now have it alongside my Silvia in the kitchen. So the gloves will really come off now! Ill put them through their paces as best I can within the budgetory constraints of paying for my own milk, beans, filtered water and electricity (anyone want to sponsor a sponsor?! ::)) and post a more detailed review when its finished.

    Greg


  39. #39
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    I have just got back from a day in the boat - didnt have any coffee!!!!

    Ok, David, this site is hardly cornered by EM users - the Silvia quite rightly gets a lot of press. Until the Sunbeam EM series came along, it even more heavily discussed.

    There are a numner of bits on the machine - the top section for example that looks like heavy guage alloy (as per my new Wok from Toledo - so it can be made tough).

    Choice have no idea about coffee machines - I have read some of their tests and agree with the criticisms expressed here.

    Gregs test was good - he is going to re-test with the steam up and that will be an even better test.

    Well done to Greg for doing it.

    Cheers

  40. #40
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    hey greg are you using standard baskets in the silvia?

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Quote Originally Posted by chris002200 link=1176805558/30#35 date=1176883959


    A commercially paid outfit that supports commercial companies.

    Gday Chris,

    I dont believe that Choice is sponsored by any commercial company. Thats what they say, so I have to take them at face value. I have no reason to doubt their claim.

    << Info about Choices Credentials & Resource Base ......
    Mal.
    >>

    Re their comments about Sylvia, to all the pro Sylvia people out there, my question is:

    are the Choice testers wrong? Everyone seems to be trying to discredit them, but have they said anything wrong about Sylvia? Please bear in mind that Im not trying to bash Miss Sylvia, Im just reading what people are writing and verifying if it is true or not.

    Just to reiterate their review:

    Good points:

    Cup warming plate
    Easy to use group handle with large filter basket
    Very good for frothing milk

    Bad points:

    The water level cannot be seen in the tank
    Inconsistent temperature when making consecutive cups

    True or false?




    p.s. Greg, I look forward to your test! :)

  42. #42
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    tempestv8

    The companies have to pay choice to test their machines - and that is a fact....

    And they recommended the 6900 not the 6910.... ask any 6900 owner what they thought of the 6900 ...... and they wont be favourable comments.... steaming on the 6900 was pathetic- but is much better on the 6910....

    The 6900 was even an embarrassment to Sunbeam - and yet Choice recommended it????

    Slight credibility problem wouldnt you say?

    BTW - The 6910 is a far different and much better machine.

  43. #43
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Silvias "good" points

    Cup warming tray. *False . Its a good place to store cups, but the heat output is nowhere near hot enough.

    Ease of use of portafilter handle. *Doesnt seem to make sense: *how is a portafilter hard or easy to use.

    Very good for frothing milk. *Absolutely true. *Exceptional microfoam.


    "Bad" points :

    Invisible water level. *True. *Have to lift the lid to see it.

    Inconsistent temperature when making consecutive cups. True. For one cup or many. *-- its *a single-boiler *machine with a wide deadband thermostat. To be expected. *

    -Robusto

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    I expect if I pay $600 + for a kitchen gadget it is going to last a long long time. This is not in the league of a popcorn machine that if you get 5 years out of und it stops you are happy to throw it and get another. I have a Sylvia and the toughness of it gives me a lot of confidence that it will still be frothing milk in 7-10 years time. I have used a Sunbeam 6900 and I would not put money on it lasting like that. Of course this is just speculation as they have not been around that long. If a Sunbeam packs up after say 4 years it does not work out to be a cheap machine.

    Just my second crack.

    Chris

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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    I agree.. the EM6900 was under engineered - simple as that....cant hide from that... the Group to TB screws just didnt have a good "grip" on things...I went through 3 of them... but the EM6910 has settled... :)

    But to Sunbeams credit, they upgraded me to the EM6910 (delivered in 1 day) which is a major setup from the 6900... But Id love to get my hands on a Silvia though :) Its reputation is awesome :)

    Greg, Bravo mate.... let the games begin :)

    Marc

  46. #46
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    You make a good point Chris...everyone though has different ideas about these things. I tow a 2 ton boat. I opted for a Land Rover with a 4 tonn tow capacity. Its a truck - its does not handle or look as flash as some of the soft roaders or a Pajero for example, but I know from experience of owning another one and from family and friends with them, that they just keep on going. You cannot beat a full box chassis and beam rear axle for towing. But for my coffee machine my requirments and desires for performance, aesthetics etc differ. One thing that I reckon is good value even if the Sunbeam only lasts 5 yearsi is that ability to make multiple milk coffees in very quick time. I have people over and that is an essential - I doubt that for me the Silvia could keep up the same way...as such the value is there...what else apart from a 1500 gorilla HX machine is going to do that. One day I will probably get that HX machine, but in the meantime I see value in the Sunbeam.

    Each to their own though - the one thing that this site does for people looking to buy a new machine is provoke healthy debate and different expression of views and perspectives, and that can only assist the coffeesnob aspirant.

    Cheers again.

  47. #47
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Exactly. I dont think anyone has ever or will ever say there is one absolutely better machine than the other. Even in the few hours Ive played with them both thus far, I can see distinct benefits of each (and have seen exactly the same with grinders), so there will always be different decisions based on whats important to the end user.

    What I hope the shootout will do is to pick up the main features, benefits and disadvantages of each machine with which people can then decide for themselves in a more informed manner. Ill no doubt draw a conclusion at the end but, as with the opening post, that will be my conclusion based on what I need it to do, and others may have different priorities.

    Greg

  48. #48
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    I think someone put it best when they said that if the 6910 had a boiler for steam then it would be a hands down favourite at that price point.

    The main thing that hampers the potential longevity of the 6910 is the electronics.

    The big thing that hampers the Silvia is the need to temperature surf.

    Out of the box, both are good at what they were designed to do.


  49. #49
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1176805558/45#47 date=1176902461
    I think someone put it best when they said that if the 6910 had a boiler for steam then it would be a hands down favourite at that price point.
    The problem is that at all price points all machines are a compromise - yes even the large commercial multi groups.

    Some compromises are made to contain cost (more so at the lower price points) whilst others are "design features" (like running the commercial hot for faster recovery) which will suit some users and not others.....

    So in every case its really what best suits your needs and expectations.... and that will be different for most of us - with an occasional common thread which will make a given machine appear to be better (just based on the sheer weight of numbers who have - and are happy with - that particular machine).

    Things like the importance of longevity, ease of use compared to flexibility etc, etc will be viewed differently by most of us and prioritised differently as well.....

    Java "You pays your money and you takes your choice" B

  50. #50
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    Re: Silvia eye and hand cast over Sunbeam EM6910

    Might we come to the conclusion that thermoblocks arent well suited to steam applications?



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