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Thread: Watery shots

  1. #1
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    Watery shots

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I bought the Sunbeam 6910 and grinder combo. I grind the beans on finest, tamp to about 1/8" from top of SB basket, and the shot pours through and the gauge hardly gets off the stop, let alone to the midway point. I have tried progressive tamping, fiddled a bit with the grind, but still only get brown coffee flavoured water. No crema. Nothing like the honey-dripping quality I see in the instruction video. Obviously I must be doing something wrong. Anyone kind enough to suggest what?

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    What beans are you using?

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    Senior Member shapeshifter's Avatar
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    I'm not really into blowing my own trumpet but I've been told my website has been handy.

    » SUNBEAM EM6910 Nic's Stuff

    I have three pages on the 6910 when I had it, taking you through all the steps.

    Beans are really important especially in the lower end machines.

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    It sounds like you need some shims on your grinder to get it to a useable range. From what I've heard you can call up sunbeam and they will send em for free?

    Using fresh quality coffee is important, but even crap old vittoria will produce a 'shot', you just need to grind it a couple of notches finer.

    Stupid question, but the ground coffee looks right? If dismantled and put back together incorrectly you will end up with chuncks of fractured beans from the grinder (very obvious).

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    Senior Member Journeyman's Avatar
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    The logical place to start is the grinder. EM0480's are notorious for having issues with fineness of grind, but it is also very easy to fix. I'd bet your grinder needs to have shim(s) fitted. A shim is a thin washer that sits directly under the bottom burr and lifts it towards the top burr. Each shim adds about 7 notches to your grind setting so it sounds like you need 2 of them. Sunbeam will send you out some if you phone them.

    Note that a normal washer, even of the right size, is about 3 shims thick, so it's good to get the right shims. You can get them on ebay also.

    Once you have some adjustment to play with, you will soon sort your coffee issues, no matter what kind of beans you have. I even got better coffee than you can get in most cafés using Vittoria from Coles beans. Get fresh roasted from a roaster and you'll knock your socks off with flavour using the 480 and the 6910.

    EDIT: Burr beat me to it. Check http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...w-machine.html for a step-by-step process I went through trying to get my 480 working.

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    hahah beat you to it journeyman

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    Senior Member Journeyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burr View Post
    hahah beat you to it journeyman
    *looks suspiciously at Burr* You been reading my mind...?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    The logical place to start is the grinder.
    No, the logical place to start is with the beans.

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    I agree with journeyman,
    fresh beans or old store-bought-vac-packed-junk is only a few notches at best on a shimmed 0480.

    Also make sure the top burr is in the housing properly

    or toss the 0480 and buy a Rocky 2nd hand.
    just the reduction in noise levels is enough to justify the upgrade
    chokkidog likes this.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    No, the logical place to start is with the beans.
    Then we agree to disagree? The OP wasn't complaining about thin shots without crema, it is about not being able to create a shot with enough pressure behind it. You could grind breadcrumbs fine enough to create >=9 bar of backpressure, it says nothing of the quality coming out.

    If the finest setting doesn't bump the pressure gauge up, the problem is with the grinder not being in the range for espresso.

  11. #11
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    It might be 'logical', in a sense, to begin with the bean but the traditional

    logic of the Italian barista is the best way to approach most pour issues:

    "Italians say that espresso requires perfection in the four "M"s - macinazione (grinding), miscela (blend), macchina (espresso machine) and mano (the hand of the operator).
    ......... the fourth M, the operator's skill, accounts for 50 per cent of success." *

    *From an article in 'The Independent' ; Coffee at its best is a daily grind - Arts and Entertainment - The Independent

    Essentially; if the operator ( first place to look ) knows what they are doing then the next place to look is the grind. (+ dose/tamp)

  12. #12
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    I think a lot of people would describe a "thin shot without crema" as "watery".

    Well aware of the four Ms. I think part of the mano is knowing that fresh beans are essential. Also, the Italian who wrote that wasn't trying to diagnose a problem on a web forum.

    "If the finest setting doesn't bump the pressure gauge up, the problem is with the grinder not being in the range for espresso."

    So it couldn't possibly be that the pressure gauge is dud, or that the pump can't provide sufficient pressure?

    The OP seems to be new at the espresso game - he/she has already tried "fiddling" with grind, and tried "progressive tamping" (probably the last thing that would help). So I think the most helpful approach is to try and ensure that the OP gets what they want (honey-dripping like pours) without the risk of getting confused by red-herrings. I have seen exactly this problem with the same gear. Took some fresh beans, dial in, all ok. Don't know what beans were being used, but they smelt and looked old. Produced nasty, thin stuff no matter what we did. Point is, it was just the beans.

    To the OP, if you want to avoid going down a heap of rabbit holes, make sure you have good beans first.

  13. #13
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    Well aware of the four Ms.
    But the OP and others may not be and it's useful in prioritising.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    I think part of the mano is knowing that fresh beans are essential.
    Correct

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    Also, the Italian who wrote that wasn't trying to diagnose a problem on a web forum.
    Moot point.



    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    tried "progressive tamping" (probably the last thing that would help). To the OP, make sure you have good beans first.
    Agreed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by burr View Post
    Then we agree to disagree? The OP wasn't complaining about thin shots without crema, it is about not being able to create a shot with enough pressure behind it. You could grind breadcrumbs fine enough to create >=9 bar of backpressure, it says nothing of the quality coming out.

    If the finest setting doesn't bump the pressure gauge up, the problem is with the grinder not being in the range for espresso.
    If you conveniently ignore that bean freshness affects the resistance experienced at a given grind fineness, maybe.

    Fresh beans = more viscous espresso = slower pour.

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    hmm in my first post I said "Using fresh quality coffee is important, but even crap old vittoria will produce a 'shot', you just need to grind it a couple of notches finer."

    Fresh coffee *might* just make a shot on the finest setting of his grinder, but then you are left with no wiggle room. Its far more likely the grinder needs shims (a very common problem), rather than a broken pump or pressure gauge. Saliorman will need good beans to make good coffee, but he also needs an espresso grinder

  16. #16
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    Thanks to you all. I will look at the grinder issue, but FWIW I was using Aldi beans, then Lavazza, then Vittoria. Even 5 Senses. So progressive tamping is a no-no (?) and I do put a bit of effort pressing it down.

    As an aside, my EM6910 was connected to the power but not switched on at the machine (wall switch on though) when it started making a distinct buzz noise. Since then it make the noise every now and then after a shot or hot water pour. Any comments?



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