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Thread: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

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    Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have been reading and reading, and speaking to people, and I am no closer to deciding on a machine that I was when I started.

    I am moving up from a Sunbeam EM3800, which has served me very well. I drink lattes (4 a day), as do most of my visitors.

    As far as I can see, the Rancilio will last me for years and make beautiful coffee as long as I treat it nicely and let it warm up properly. This is the only thing stopping me jumping straight in and getting one - I have 5 children so do a lot of running around, and like to walk into the house and switch the machine on and make a coffee in the next 5 minutes! (For safety reasons, I dont like leaving machines that heat stuff switched on when Im out, so I couldnt just leave it on all day.) I also have lots of drop-in visitors who have 5 mins for a quick coffee, which my Sunbeam manages well at the moment.

    Ive read various threads on here, and reviews at a consumer review site, and it seems that opinion varies whether you can get a reasonable coffee from the Rancilio after 10 minutes, 30 mins, 60 mins of heating.

    I suppose at this stage Im leaning towards the Sunbeam for the instant satisfaction factor. But Im very open to having my mind changed about the Rancilio. I would love to have a clear winner in my mind, but it seems both of them have different good points in terms of what would suit me, so I cant compare them!!!

    Of course, if there is another machine that would blow those two out of the water, in a similar price range, I am happy to hear about that too!

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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    Hello linden,

    If youre looking at a grinder as well, Id be saving just a tad more and getting a Breville Dual boiler (BES900) and a Smart grinder.

    They wont cost you a whole heap more, but will better match your requirements.

    There are a few CS threads for you to gain futher information.

    Chris

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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    Hello Linden,

    and welcome to CS!

    Unfortunately what you have read is the "down side" with these otherwise great special interest sites. Too many posts / posters giving too many ***opinions*** on stuff that they might not yet have fully understood* :)

    Re your quotes then:

    a)* "..As far as I can see, the Rancilio will last me for years and make beautiful coffee as long as I......let it warm up properly.* This is the only thing stopping me jumping straight in and getting one..."

    and
    b) "...Ive read various threads on here, and reviews at a consumer review site, and it seems that opinion varies whether you can get a reasonable coffee from the Rancilio after 10 minutes, 30 mins, 60 mins of heating...."

    and
    c) "...like to walk into the house and switch the machine on and make a coffee in the next 5 minutes!* (For safety reasons, I dont like leaving machines that heat stuff switched on when Im out, so I couldnt just leave it on all day.)..."

    An educated explanation is:
    Silvia warm up time need not be any more than 10 minutes during or after which you flow water through the group a few times over the next minute or two to make sure all of the brew water path is well and truly heated to a proper operating temp. Total time should be less than 15 minutes, including having had the group handle attached to the group during the warm uo and while the water was flowed through, and also having your two cups under the spouts to collect the hot water and warm up as well.

    5 minutes wont cut it with any machine not just Silvia, and you are correct in not wanting to leave your machine on all day for the sake of convenience where, convenience will one day turn around and bite you on the proverbial* ;) If you are not at home or if you dont want coffee again for a few hours, turn it OFF.

    Hope that helps.

    By far the most importamt thing is to purchase from a vendor where you can get good before and after sales service. Your local espresso machine shop would be a great start, and while my company is a direct importer of Silvia and Rocky (amongst other things), I am not a great believer in "mail order" coffee machines because when / if something goes wrong, where do you send it back to for your warranty claim and repair????? Back to "mail order" I am afraid with all the usual risks associated with damage in transport.

    On the other hand if you are quite comfortable with mail order, I will be happy to talk off forum.

    Hope that helps.

    Rgdz,
    Attilio
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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    The Silvia is a great machine but it is a difficult mistress to master. That being said you dont need to master her to make good coffee, especially if you are making milk drinks.

    You can "cheat" the warm up time on the Silvia. The boiler heats the water quite quickly it is the other components that take longer to get hot. So if you run water through the group handle and even flick the steam switch to get things even hotter faster you can reduce the warm up time, at the expense of using a lot of water.

    The Breville 900 that is yet to be released has an element in the group head so that will heat up quicker than a Silvia would without cheating.

    The real advantage of the Breville is that you can steam your milk and pour espresso at the same time. With the Silvia you need to wait a couple of minutes after you have poured espresso for the boiler to get to steam temperature.

    However RRP for the Breville is said to be about $1500 where as the slivia is a little over $700.

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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    Arhhh yes but....... :)

    It isnt as difficult as many reviews in all of these esteemed sites make it out to be....there are only a small number of things to know about Silvia that will help an operator get to the bottom of it quickly enough....as any operator would have to do to get to the bottom of any serious coffee machine not just Silvia;

    Is it really...."cheating"?* Its just what you do if you want to get it ready as soon as it possibly can be owing to the operators need on any particular occasion to get a coffee and get out quick, rather than just flicking it on and coming back any time later at the operators leisure......

    Selecting steam mode to get the coffee machine hotter more quickly is a furphy, as the machine first has to reach brew temp before it can go past the brew set point to get to the steam set point. By the time it will have gone to steam set point the operator will already have done the job by simply leaving it in brew mode & flowing water through the group and into the cups as described.....OR...if you do this with the machine in steam mode, the operator then has to make sure the brew temp is equalised back down to where it should be for coffee making before brewing the first cups of coffee for fear of having overheated and then burning the coffee.....an understanding of this stuff is too much to expect a novice owner to know / learn, and could be how the "silvia is difficult to master" stuff comes about.* :)*

    Ability to steam milk and brew coffee at the same time in home use is *overrated* I am afraid. Clients use it as another thing to tick off on their list of dos and donts when they are investigating the purchase of a machine when in reality, very many people that really do have machines that steam and brew at the same time at home....never use the ability to do so.....myself amongst them.

    Trying to keep it real no matter what machine Linden eventually decides to buy * :)

    Rgdz,
    Attilio
    very first CS site sponsor


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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    All you say is true Attilio, as usual 8-)

    I put cheating in "" because that is what the interwebs refer to when they try and get Silvia up to temp quickly.

    I had a Lucy for 5 or 6 years and now I have a GPP Plus I do steam and pull espresso at the same time. The main reason that led me to upgrade was the ability to steam as soon as if not before I finished the pour. The more forgiving e61 group head didnt hurt :)

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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    I agree that the Silvia gets to much tricky to master hype but I do think that it makes much better espresso when warmed up for an hour rather then 10 or 15 minutes. If you spend 10 minutes flushing water through the group that is different to leaving the machine idle for ten minutes. Em6910 and Silvia need heating for optimum performance, it is not a big issue really.

    Quote Originally Posted by 484D4A40414A534B4B40240 link=1309126725/0#0 date=1309126725
    opinion varies whether you can get a reasonable coffee from the Rancilio after 10 minutes, 30 mins, 60 mins of heating.
    The Silvia can make reasonable coffee after 10 minutes of warm up, but I wouldnt want to spend $1000 on a machine and grinder and then strive for reasonable coffee.

    At a mates place the other day and he made a couple of lattes on his em6910 and hardly used its dual steaming/brewing capabilities. It took way longer to steam the milk then my Silvia, which makes the dual steaming/brewing a smaller issue IMO. You can only do one thing at a time anyway and its not like your running a cafe.


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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    Having owned a Silvia for five years and then an EM6910 I can honestly say I get great coffee from the SB consistently and rarely got great coffee from Sylvia even after I installed a PID* :(

    My EM6910 plus the Breville Smart grinder are a very economical combination for making great coffee without cheating or temp surfing and they do it much much quicker than SDilvia ever did* ;)

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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 7A5D5B5C51280 link=1309126725/7#7 date=1309154397
    Having owned a Silvia for five years and then an EM6910 I can honestly say I get great coffee from the SB consistently and rarely got great coffee from Sylvia even after I installed a PID
    I wish my Silvia had a PID :(

    I think a preference for a em6910 over a PID Silvia would be an exception. I would rather one PID Silvia then a lifetimes worth of em6910s. Probably says more about how much you like your Sunbeam then anything else.

    I make an ordinary coffee now and then, and I know it has nothing to do with my Silvia or grinder, it is all my fault because the variable lies with me. I find it pretty easy to repeat good shots on the Silvia, it comes down to grind, dose an tamp.

    Dual wall baskets and preground coffee is the most consistent, it is very repeatable and very quick.

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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 1F222626324B0 link=1309126725/8#8 date=1309157618
    Dual wall baskets and preground coffee is the most consistent, it is very repeatable and very quick.
    :o Let me suggest kindly that you are NOT making good coffee ::) Either one - dual walled basket or preground coffee will not deliver the goods!

    I dont prefer Sunbeam per se, but I do prefer the EM6910 over Silvia for the reasons I mentioned.


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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 4A6D6B6C61180 link=1309126725/9#9 date=1309158293
    Dual wall baskets and preground coffee is the most consistent, it is very repeatable and very quick.

    Let me suggest kindly that you are NOT making good coffee Either one - dual walled basket or preground coffee will not deliver the goods!
    I dont use either, it was a kinda joke with a ring of truth. I never said dual wall and preground made good coffee, I said it was easy, quick and consistent which is kinda true. (consistently s#*thouse). I was trying to emphasize that good coffee takes time and effort.

    Bad attempt at humour. Anyway, im off for a quick cup of Blend 43, it is very consistent and the easiest of all coffee brewing methods to master.

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    Senior Member Rusty's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 49747070641D0 link=1309126725/10#10 date=1309159048
    Anyway, im off for a quick cup of Blend 43, it is very consistent and the easiest of all coffee brewing methods to master.
    Cant disagree with that ;)

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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    From memory the Sunbeam was very quick to heat up, 5 minutes then a quick flush of hot water. The steam on the Sunbeam is a little under pressure compared to the Silvia when it comes to steaming milk. Making the coffee though, the Sumbeam is childs play and it does a great job for the price and you wont have a pond around your machine after a couple of cups. The Breville BES900 will be a great machine but the cost is well over double and you can not buy it now. >:(

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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    The EM6910 makes a better coffee if you let it warm up for longer than 5 minutes.

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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    Thanks so much for all the input!

    I think I just need to buy the Silvia so I can stop second guessing myself.

    I agree that the ability to brew and steam at the same time is not something I particularly covet, so that feature of the EM6910 at least is not a selling point for me.

    Which leans me back again to the Silvia...! Time to go shopping.

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 534F56494554200 link=1309126725/12#12 date=1309175245
    you wont have a pond around your machine after a couple of cups.

    What do you mean by this? :-?

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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 6C6A7D766C6B7371180 link=1309126725/15#15 date=1309220722
    Quote Originally Posted by 534F56494554200 link=1309126725/12#12 date=1309175245
    you wont have a pond around your machine after a couple of cups.

    What do you mean by this? :-?

    that silvias drip dray is less then ideal, a few shots pulled results in a flooded bench. having used both a silvia which i owned for 3 years and a 6910 i currently own i can honestly say the silvia was never able to produce as good as a shot as i have with the 6910

  18. #18
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    Quote Originally Posted by 4E435E5E4549141A152C0 link=1309126725/16#16 date=1309224693
    that silvias drip dray is less then ideal, a few shots pulled results in a flooded bench.

    Did you try putting a cup under the spouts? ;D

    Sounds like operator error to me ;)

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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    No, the Silvia tray is so very small.* You need steady hands when emptying the thing, something coffee drinkers dont have* :)

    Saying that the machine once mastered will make you a fantastic coffee.

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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    I like what ive read, I can buy an EM6910 a little easier now... a lot easier to find a cheap 2nd hand 6910 than a silvia too! ... or should i save for the BES900?... hmmm
    nah ill never be able to spend that much on a coffee machine.

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    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 vs Rancilio Silvia vs ???

    gmeddy, I would never buy a second hand EM6910. The reliabilty problems seem to kick in around the 1 year old mark. The main issue is the steam pump failing, and new ones are like rocking horse poo.

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    I've been browsing the forums trying to find whether a 2nd hand EM6910 is worth buying. So far this is the first time I have heard what people have actually had an issue with. I have a recent thread where I queried the type and availability of a pump for a cheap Grimac (advert on Gumtree with a broken pump - missed out on it) so I'm wondering, for the EM6910, what type of pump it has if it is going to be a hassle. I know what rocking horse poo means but, for example, although I could not find Grimac pump info, members here knew the type and availability of them.

    Owner says it's hardly been used, about 2 years old, but may need to have anti-calcium cartridge changed - not sure what that is but I figure given that all the water going through it will be from a Reverse Osmosis system, once changed it will be a long time before I need another.

    So does anyone know type and avail of the pump in the EM6910? (cost also perhaps?)

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    I have also owned both.

    Like many people, my Sunbeam died after 6 months .....while it was working it was quite good but the steam pressure is pathetic.

    I have the Silvia now....work-horse....keeps going and going....not sure why everyone is saying its hard to master or it takes a long time to warm up. I what mine while I am having a shower in the morning thens its good to go. Occasionally I have to sacrifice a shot of coffee to adjust the grind but so what. And the steam in the Silvia is awesome - almost too powerful at times.

    After my EM6910 I swore I'd never buy another Sunbeam product - the matching SB grinder that came with it was an absolute piece of junk - that also broke after only a few weeks. Now have a Rocky.

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    Just to address the drip tray comments about the silvia, yes the tray isn't huge, but it's meant for catching the errent drip not running your hot water into when heating the group head or flushing grinds out after a shot. I have a small square tupperware container I store on my drip tray whihc I use for catching hot water. I never getr much more than a small puddle in my drip tray.

    Having come from an EM3600 to the silvia I was concerned about stuff I read here on warm up times etc, and to be honest the Silvia is no worse on warm up times than the old EM3600. The difference in in-the-cup flavor between a 10 min warm up shot and a 60 minute warm up, especially if drinking a milked coffee is going to be near impossible to pick up for any but those with the best of palates. I struggle to tell the difference on a short black between if I temp surf my silvia or just pull the shot without doing it, providing I got my dos and tamp correct.

    If the basics of getting a decent shot are used with the Silvia (grind, dose, tamp, consistency) you will get a good to great shot every time. It's really no harder than any other unpressuirised basket machine. The machine is a tank and you know by using it that it will last for a long long time. There is a reason it is a long time favorite with many coffee snobs.

  25. #25
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Lindenwood,

    If you're still interested in the Silvia, your situation can be easily fixed by using a power point timer bought from any hardware store or electrical department in a major retailer.

    I wake up at 5 am every morning. The timer is set to turn on the Silvia on at 4.30.
    Presto! Machine is heated and ready to go.

    All you have to do is to make sure the power switch is turned on, and the timer set to come on anywhere from half hour to an hour before you're ready to make coffee.
    At a pinch, it is warm enough to make reasonable coffee at 15 minutes, but 30 minutes or more is recommended for better coffee.
    Group handle should be locked in lightly while warming up so that it gets heated up. Simple as that.

    I have currently the EM 6910 and the Silvia. Having lived with both of them, I am happier with the Silvia. Gives me a better cup than the Sunbeam.
    It is built like a tank, looks and feels like you're using a quality coffee machine. In it's second year and it has not given any problems whatsoever.
    Issues, just the need to empty the drip tray every time you make coffee. Not a big deal.

    In your case, if you're happy with just reasonable coffee and you're happy with that together with the need to make multiple coffees in social situations, the EM6910 should keep you going for a while before it succumbs to niggling problems of various kinds.
    pokerstar likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Dog View Post
    gmeddy, I would never buy a second hand EM6910. The reliabilty problems seem to kick in around the 1 year old mark. The main issue is the steam pump failing, and new ones are like rocking horse poo.
    With that in mind, why would you even buy a new one knowing they are going to fail?
    I've done my time with the EM6900 - Silvia all the way now.

  27. #27
    Senior Member C-man's Avatar
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    I would rather buy a second hand HX some really good ones around the 1K mark from time to time.

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    A couple of points - if some Sunbeam EM6910's DO have a fail point around a year, then logically it would make sense to buy a 2nd hand one older than that - if it has passed the fail point it is a good one. I have zero issues with steam on my machine - certainly I wouldn't want more pressure and there is a nice timing for making perfect milk - I have yet to miss the point where I have the right amount of textured milk and the right temp. In a week or more of using the machine I would have emptied maybe 60ml down the sink after making lattés, macchiatos and chai lattés.

    If I had one that didn't do decent steam I'd be talking to Sunbeam - at least one of the threads I read suggests they know some machines just don't do steam well.

    *grins* About the only thing I want for my EM6910 is more bench space... And some nice coffee cups... And another group head... And some latté glasses... (and to get the missus to read this... )

    Also, (see quote below) if a machine fails at 6 months it is under warranty - one thing I have noticed is Sunbeam seem good with fulfilling warranty obligations and I have seen a couple of threads where they have replaced machines even after warranty was up, in one case 3 times.

    I disagree with the policy as outlined below, (if that is what they are doing and the evidence suggests so) but the killer would be if they also neglected their warranty obligations and that doesn't seem to be the case.

    I posted this on My New Machine thread and thought it appropriate to put here...
    Something I was thinking about yesterday - I got asked what I thought of the EM6910 because this person had heard they were junk machines. I then thought about the people on here who have had issues and how some of them, after 1, 2, or 3 complaints to Sunbeam had finally got a working machine. It occurs to me we are seeing the end result of the LG policy re: Quality Control. LG do not bother with a QA Dept, they just make and ship. If things don't work they ship a new one. Apparently they looked at the situation and decided it is a lot cheaper to just replace ones that fail the process than it is to have an internal system - public QA staff are free and they don't have to provide office space.

    What's to bet we will see a lot more of such things happening?

    I wonder if their PR Depts know what effect so many people having faulty equipment has on the company reputation?

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    Been lurking for a few months, first post...

    I've got an EM6910 that was given to me by an exasperated (and generous) friend. He didn't look after it and got bitten by a bad case of over-calcification between (procrastinated) descalings. He busted a few balls at Sunbeam and got it fixed under warranty, but never really got back into using/caring for a machine.

    The logic of buying one second hand if it's older than a year is absurd. People sell stuff when they've had problems (fixed enough to sell on) or don't use them any more (possibly due to not wanting to run into more problems). With the EM6910, it's a great machine that produces great coffee, but you will have problems if it's not maintained properly. If you're looking for a second hand machine, see if you can get one that's had problems and has recently returned from repair.

    From where I'm standing, it seems many people have been bitten badly by the EM6900 and have written off Sunbeam as a result. However the Silvia has its reputation for a reason. If I was trying to choose a sub-$1000 machine I'd have a really tough time choosing too. I love the user-friendliness of my EM6910, and it consistently produces great coffee and can do so quickly for large numbers of people. However the Silvia is a quality product that demands more attention to your coffee making process but less to maintenance.



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