Post By Kalaloulou
Post By TampIt
Silvia to EM7000 via BES840
I have often used the posts here as a resource, so here's some info that might help someone else!
We wore our dear Miss Silvia out over the course of a decade, and I wanted a more automatic machine so I could save a bit of time in the morning. After reading up I decided that a Breville Infuser BES840 would hit the right balance between quality, price, and fiddliness.
I knew it'd feel quite different to our old workhorse, but was surprised by just how plasticky it felt. It seemed like it could fall apart or wear out quickly. For example, having plastic in the portafilter is a weird choice. It made pretty good coffee, but a double shot was really more like a single because of the little portafilter basket, and it was really fiddly--much more difficult to get the amount and tamp right than I'm used to. Nice milk, though it took a while. Overall I felt pretty lukewarm about it, but at less than half the price of a new Silvia I was content to make do for a couple of years.
On day 4 or 5 we found a huge pool of water on the counter--it was coming out of the bottom, above where the drip tray sits. I assumed it was because my partner left it on for too long, but the next day the same thing happened again, so we took it back and paid another ~$150ish to get a Sunbeam Cafe Series EM7000 instead.
What. A. Difference. It's nowhere near as robust as the Rancilio, but feels so much stronger than the Breville. The portafilter feels like it should, and locks into place well. Only took a couple of tries to get the grind right for a 25-30 sec pour and a nice dry puck. Steaming milk still takes significantly longer than with Silvia, but the wand has some sort of finish on it that wipes completely clean really easily--it doesn't bake the milk on like every other machine I've had/used. And I can pull a shot and do the milk at the same time!
There are downsides: some of the grounds seem to be forced up and over the lip of the basket and onto the seal area, which is hard to clean and will need daily scrubs with a toothrush (both the Silvia and the Breville were more easily wiped and flushed clean). The water reservoir opening is tiny and splashes are likely unless pulling it out from the back. The steam wand on the left is weird (though it enables me to have Rocky on the right, which makes sense given where the handle thing is on him). It's still a bit plasticky, but only on the sides where you don't touch so much/where it's unlikely to wear as easily. It's not going to last me a decade, but it feels pretty robust and I could imagine it going for quite a few years.
You'd expect a more expensive machine to be better than a cheaper one, so this comparison isn't really fair, but I hope it's helpful to someone who's wondering if they should splurge a bit. Honestly, as of now I prefer it to our old manual friend--much as I loved her, she commanded quite a lot of attention. This one just does what I ask without needing much supervision.
I bought a 7000 in 2014 to replace the "non domestically acceptable" noise of the 6910 (or my 2 group La Pavoni, or Bo-ema RR45 grinder, or ...). In terms of noise it saved the day. Nowhere near as tough as the 6910, and has a couple of extra quirks to work around. Overall I cannot call it an upgrade.
There is no way it will work grinds into the seal unless you are overdosing. Grind finer and use a lot less coffee - better in the cup (if your grinder is up to it) and less messy.
1) it is almost impossible to get top quality microfoam out of it. Good enough froth unless you are used to the top level. On the positive side, yep, the wand does not clog up, however correct frothing technique would not clog the wand up anyway.
2) it lacks a little of the shot grunt of the earlier (pre 2010) 6910s. About 4 micro settings coarser (Mahlkonig Vario) to get a similar pour to a 6910 / La Pav / Linea.
The benefit - domestic peace. Worth the price of my 2 quibbles.