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Thread: Replacing an em6910

  1. #1
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    Replacing an em6910

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    So the front page seems to have a few of these now, but my em6910 has finally decided to die. Sounds like the pump is running whenever I turn it on from the wall, plus the steam knob was broken - likely to cost too much to fix plus I've had it for long enough and bought it second hand.

    What that does mean though, is I'm now in the market for a new machine. I generally only drink milky coffees. I make myself one every morning on weekdays, and two on the weekends. I'm generally the only user but the missus will occasionally want to make one (or just get me to make it).

    My grinder is a BCG800 which I'm sure I'll update eventually, but one purchase at a time.

    I'm looking at the BES920 given I can grab it for $800 easily, but hopefully closer to $700 as EOFY sales come through. I have noticed in most of these threads though, the BES920 is rarely recommended so wondering what it's key flaws are and if anyone can recommend anything that better suits my needs.

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    For such light use, I would probably just get another secondhand 6910 for $200 or so. You know what to check for by now. Be aware, SB changed a lot of things around 2010, and I vastly prefer any "pre 2010" 6910s as they are simply better and more reliable.

    I still have one 6910 on my daily bench. It is a 2006 6910* which I bought about 5 years ago and did a "one off" thorough clean / service. My original 6910 is a 2008 and just stood in for a fellow CS'r's dead E61 for a few weeks and delivered better coffee (his SWMBO'd's opinion) while they awaited his new machine (a DE1). They both still literally run like new - although I do maintain them scrupulously.

    I hope this helps.


    TampIt
    *My 2006 6910 is mainly used as a milk steamer lately. I bought a new DE1 espresso machine recently which - boo hiss - cannot do both "a shot and froth" at once. Of course, if you feel like splashing a lot of cash (say $4K), you can always go for a DE1 - it will make a better cuppa than almost anything else out there today "for a fee".

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    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    The key flaws of the 920 are build quality, longevity etc. It had some great features (auto turn on, volumetric shots) but it's built to a price. It's not going to be able to make better coffee than your 6910 can, but it might be a little nicer to live with. With either machine your grinder will be what is holding you back in terms of shot quality.

    I have a 920 myself paired with a Eureka Atom (along with VST basket and matched tamper) and I now believe the limiting factor is 60% the machine, 30% the beans in using and 10% me.

    For the money you can't beat a 920 on features, but don't count on it lasting past 5 years with regular maintenance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Be aware, SB changed a lot of things around 2010, and I vastly prefer any "pre 2010" 6910s as they are simply better and more reliable.
    Thanks TampIt. I was hoping for a change, but to be honest it's been such a brilliant machine that maybe another 6910 isn't a bad suggestion. How would I determine if it's a pre-2010? Also how does it compare to the em7000?

    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    The key flaws of the 920 are build quality, longevity etc.
    It's not going to be able to make better coffee than your 6910 can, but it might be a little nicer to live with.
    For the money you can't beat a 920 on features, but don't count on it lasting past 5 years with regular maintenance.
    Hmmm interesting, I was actually expecting the dual boiler to provide better coffee and milk texturing than the em6910 so disappointing to hear that it wouldn't.
    In terms of build quality, are the em6910s built better than the Brevilles?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Afroman View Post
    Hmmm interesting, I was actually expecting the dual boiler to provide better coffee and milk texturing than the em6910 so disappointing to hear that it wouldn't.
    In terms of build quality, are the em6910s built better than the Brevilles?
    The 920 can be as little easier to achieve the same level of coffee as the 6910 but the maximum "goodness" you'll get is the same. Pre 2010 6910s (round dot drip tray full indicator instead of straight line) are built better than 920s, the post 2010 ones are about the same.

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    I would suggest that a brand new BES920 is at least incrementally better than any other option from an appliance brand. Itís definitely prettier than an EM6910 and arguably nicer to look at than an EM7000 too, although itís a touch bigger than the Sunbeams (mostly wider). Itís not as noisy either and it will give you slightly better overall performance with both the espresso and milk, but not necessarily longevity. As with anything treat it well and maintain it properly and you increase your chances of a long term of service about ten fold. At $800 itís hard to beat really.
    Yes, there are plenty of other options like a Gaggia Classic, a Silvia, an entry level Lelit, or something second hand, but theyíre all either more expensive or offer a less pleasant user experience. If you can find a BES920 for <$800 and thatís in your budget then itís probably worth a go. Alternatively either a new EM6910 for <$400 or EM7000 for <$600. Itís true that neither of them are quite as good as the pre-2010 EM6910s (itís actually really just the thermoblock thatís inferior), but theyíre still the best thermoblock machines on the market and Iím sure would go better than your EM6910 thatís dying.
    CafeLotta likes this.

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    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    If all it needs is a steam knob and a controlled board it might only cost $250 in parts. If it's only a relay on the control board that's making the pump run cut that down to around $35

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    I recently went from (pre-2010) 6910 to Lelit PL042 combi with PID. Only did that because my old grinder died at about the same time I was looking to upgrade. Love the new machine, small bench footprint, rugged Italian looks etc. Shots aren't massively better than the 6910 (which were good anyway), but are more consistent. Inbuilt grinder is MUCH better than my old BCG800. Steam pressure is WAY better, but if you were typically making more than a couple of milk coffees at a time, this would probably not be the machine for you due to small boiler and the fiddle of refilling.
    JetBlack_Espresso likes this.

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    Just to note the BES920ís are on sale for under $640 (TGG via eBay sale), so thatís probably the best value option!

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shauno View Post
    Just to note the BES920ís are on sale for under $640 (TGG via eBay sale), so thatís probably the best value option!
    Really? I couldnít find any that cheap. Are they still available?

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    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    They're no longer available from what I can tell. Next best is about $711 once you apply a 10% discount code, or if you have eBay plus it's 15% bringing it down to $671

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    The key flaws of the 920 are build quality, longevity etc. It had some great features (auto turn on, volumetric shots) but it's built to a price. It's not going to be able to make better coffee than your 6910 can, but it might be a little nicer to live with. With either machine your grinder will be what is holding you back in terms of shot quality.

    I have a 920 myself paired with a Eureka Atom (along with VST basket and matched tamper) and I now believe the limiting factor is 60% the machine, 30% the beans in using and 10% me.

    For the money you can't beat a 920 on features, but don't count on it lasting past 5 years with regular maintenance.
    G'day level3ninja, Afroman

    Spot on L3N. Having compared various Breville DBs to various 6910s and spending (far) too long optimising them for friends the difference in the quality in the cuppa is zip - assuming both are maintained properly.

    The older 6910s are more solidly built, all the newer ones are about level in likely longevity to their own 7000 or the Breville DBs.

    If you must buy new, I would possibly save some dollars and buy a 6910 for three reasons which may or may not apply in your case.
    1) The Breville DBs take a lot longer to warm up. Even the 3 minutes or so of the DE1 grates after the 6910's 75 seconds. You are already spoilt via your 6910.
    2) The Breville DBs chew up a lot more power. Heating up all the water in a pair of boilers to pull a small number of shots will increase your power bill (unless you have solar on your roof and it is daylight). Not as much as my 2 group La Pavoni's 18 amps at 240 volt for 35 minutes, however the 6910 only heats up a tad more water than is needed. Certainly the DB uses a lot more than any 6910 / 7000.
    3) The 7000 may be way quieter, however it has an "auto milk frother" than means newbies can get OK microfoam but those who already know how to froth milk feel a battle coming on every time you use it. I had a 7000 from august 2014 to earlier this year as the 6910 gave my elderly mother a severe headache every time I fired it up. I sent it to a "CS'r in need" mate gratis within a week or so of the DE1 arriving and was glad to see the rear end of it. The current 6910 is dead quiet as a milk frother and does a way better job than the 7000 without donning body armour and preparing for the titan struggle (yep, on a fuzzy day I reckon it really is that bad...).


    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    I would suggest that a brand new BES920 is at least incrementally better than any other option from an appliance brand. Itís definitely prettier than an EM6910 and arguably nicer to look at than an EM7000 too, although itís a touch bigger than the Sunbeams (mostly wider). Itís not as noisy either and it will give you slightly better overall performance with both the espresso and milk, but not necessarily longevity. As with anything treat it well and maintain it properly and you increase your chances of a long term of service about ten fold. At $800 itís hard to beat really.
    Yes, there are plenty of other options like a Gaggia Classic, a Silvia, an entry level Lelit, or something second hand, but theyíre all either more expensive or offer a less pleasant user experience. If you can find a BES920 for <$800 and thatís in your budget then itís probably worth a go. Alternatively either a new EM6910 for <$400 or EM7000 for <$600. Itís true that neither of them are quite as good as the pre-2010 EM6910s (itís actually really just the thermoblock thatís inferior), but theyíre still the best thermoblock machines on the market and Iím sure would go better than your EM6910 thatís dying.
    G'day LeroyC

    The BES920 DB may be prettier, however nearly double the dollars to increase your power bill and warmup time to get zero improvement in the cuppa does not make any sense to me. Clearly, I am a function first guy (Doh, what does aesthetics mean?). When I bought the 7000 it was purely for noise reasons as I doubted it was better than my (three at the time) older 6910s. It wasn't. Ironically the only thing I miss is the inbuilt milk thermometer on the 7000 - even though it is consistent, it is wildly inaccurate. It took me a month to get into the routine of adding a milk thermo to the jug "post 7000", although having a "rather higher priority" (to put it mildly) of a minor heart attack within the immediate family followed by "more than a few trips" to emergency in the couple of months (other friends and family, plus complications) two days before the DE1 arrived may have affected my concentration in my coffee making duties a tad... Nailed it now the dust has settled.

    Mind you, according to noidle22 (coffee repairer guru extraordinaire) SB are now restricting the availability of their spares and Breville aren't. Another reason I would prefer to buy a "pre 2010" 6910 in preference to any of the new ones at that quality in the cuppa level.

    Luckily here in the West we have an excellent repairer who has a vast stockpile of parts for the 30 or so brands they service so we are pretty safe. Thinks, other than 3 milk thermostats in the 7000 and one collar replacement for one "badly abused" s/h 6910, what spare parts have been needed? - and that is over 20+ 6910s at various friends and rellies houses since 2010. Mind you, they all maintain them properly which is 90% of the longevity battle.

    Enjoy your cuppa

    TampIt
    PS: 6910s - as L3Ninja said - round dot on the drip tray (pre 2010), not a straight line (post 2010).



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