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Thread: Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

  1. #1
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    Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi from New Zealand.

    A chance has come up for me to buy a second hand Sunbeam 69xx for $300. The retail price in NZ is $800 and street pricing is slightly lower at the right time and place. However I am not sure if Kiwis get access to the free Sunbeam grinder offer that you over the ditch get.

    First a bit of background. Im a "coffee geek" in so much as I take the science seriously. However my budget hasnt allowed me to stretch far, and for a few years Ive had what I would consider a reasonable coffee from the Breville ESP8 (I can hear you all gagging simultaneously!!).

    Anyway from my point of view the Breville did the job, and with the right (supermarket pre-ground) coffee, I got results that I (and many guests) found better than *some* commercial cafes. Ive always used pre-ground not because I believe it to be a good choice, but because a DECENT grinder was out of my financial reach and I thought this better than using a bad grinder.

    Im not sure if me thinking that my coffee from an ESP8 is "good" puts me into a naughty corner at CoffeeSnobs (you might care to comment?).

    Anyway thats where I have come FROM.

    Now where I might get TO - is getting the second hand Sunbeam a good idea? Im not sure if it is the 6900 or 6910, but from reports here I will PASS if it is the 6900.

    At $300 (to be confirmed), I feel this would be an ok price. The history of the machine that Ive been told is that they are selling because the Mrs. gave up smoking and found she didnt drink coffee any more. She quit a year ago, so the machine may not have had a lot of use since then. Out of warranty period of course, and I see that even the 5 year pump warranty will not apply as it has to be registered.

    Is it a problem buying this model second hand from "non-CoffeeSnobs"? Im not sure how much care its had in its life - non-CoffeeSnobs tend not to clean their machines (yuck!).

    Finally, in order to use this machine am I going to be forced to buy a decent grinder? This would add to the cost for me, and without specials happening in NZ for grinders, I would be looking at $240 for the Sunbeam EM0480.

    Or should I be looking at another grinder?

    Thanks everyone.

  2. #2
    A_M
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    Re: Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

    In the first instance the EM0480 will provide a reasonable job on fresh beans to suit the EM6910... I agree be careful as to the EM6900.

    As per many other things... Second-hand goods have pros and cons. If your budget is as tight as I am reading into you post; then try to get a hand on test and ask lots of questions.

    If possible get the Serial # and in addition there should be another 3 digit number stamped into the label ( Open the rear door and look at the label and Bar code - Lower L/H side of the machine.)

    This 3 digit is a DOM and will assist in working out just how old the unit is.

  3. #3
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    Re: Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

    If it is a 6910, then the warranty thing may be less of an issue, as the problems with the 6900 series were fixed with the upgraded model (you may need to google what the problems were, I cant recall specifically).

    IIRC, Harvey Normans recently had the 6910 on special for around $680 or thereabouts, and, they normally have specials on the grinders too, you should be able to get both for around the $850 - 900 mark, and most probably with a "barista pack" and bang bang thrown in for good measure. This is $300 or so above what you would be spending 2nd hand and only you can judge if it is a worthwhile saving. And yes, you absolutely should get a grinder, infact, spend the money on just that and stick with your current machine and your coffee will go from being better than "some" cafes to better than "most" cafes.

    Ive had my 6910 for a year now and it is still going as well as the day I got it (touch wood) with no hiccups or operational worries, thats making about 20 coffees or so a week, so it is by no means stressed.

    I also have the 480 grinder, and think it is a capable grinder for the machine, am getting repeatable shots on the 6910 consistently hitting the same spot on the pressure gauge and at the 25 sec mark for about 50ml double (cut short just as it gets watery).

    As for "non coffee snob", it doesnt take much to clean it, quick backflush with some caffetto, or take the shower screen off and clean with soapy water etc.

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    Re: Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

    Im new to the site - what is a backflush and is it easy to do?

    I downloaded the Sunbeam PDF manual and I couldnt find anything about the backflush although in my research someone here mentioned that it was capable of doing it.

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

    I would think that provided it is not more than say 12-24 months old and looks in excellent condition, and has been backflushed regularly then $300 is a goer. Simply ask them how they look after and clean it inside and out and if they are not aware of backflushing or cannot tell you how and when they do it, I would tend to pass.

    Backflushing is covered in the manual for the machine. Sunbeam use a piece of rubber in the basket to force water with a cleaning tablet dissolved back through the 3 way valve to clean it of coffee residue and oils. I use Caffetto machine cleaner instead of the tablets - probably a lot cheaper.

    The 6910 is a nice machine but dont expect to have it still in good working order in the long term because its full of electronics and is made to a price. Still, while they are going strong they do very well...particularly for milk coffees for a group of people.

    Cheers

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    Re: Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

    Im going to hazard a guess and say that MOST non-CoffeeSnobs dont regularly clean their machines (if ever).

    Thats why Im a little reluctant and asking the question - Im guessing that people here could enlighten me as to what damage is potentially done by NOT cleaning machines?

    By the way - in this price range what are the Breville "Professional series" machines like?

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    Re: Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

    The word "Professional" is to suck you in.

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    Re: Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

    Ive been an avid fan of the Sunbeam EM6900/6910 machine and you will be hard pressed to get a stauncher supporter of Sunbeams warranty service than me.

    However, having said that, your machine will already be out of warranty, and you have no clear indication of how well it has been looked after.

    I had the original EM6900 and suffered twice from the infamous "steam wand failure" that was suffered by many owners. On each occasion, Sunbeam arranged courier pick-up/return and on the second occasion, provided a complete brand new replacement machine.

    The new machine developed leaks around the group-head and when I inquired with Sunbeam about me replacing the Seal, they offered to do it free of charge. (You can imagine my surprise when instead of receiving my machine back, they supplied a replacement EM6910 machine).

    This new EM6910 machine eventually failed outside the warranty period (complete failure with the pump I suspect) and I took it for repairs to an authorised Sunbeam repairer. Again, I was "gob-smacked" when another brand new EM6910 machine was delivered to my house (now complete with the upgraded Steam wand tip)....no questions, no charges...and like I said, this was outside the Warranty period.

    So, you can look at this and suggest that the Sunbeam machines are crap and break down too easily. You would probably have a fair case but this can be the case for any appliance from any manufacturer. But a company that is prepared to support its product and stand by the warranty claims gets my support any day.

    So I would have no hesitation in recommending Sunbeam and in particular the EM6910 if you were purchasing one brand new.

    Unfortunately, you are considering a 2nd hand machine, which may or may not have been neglected. I cant get myself as enthused in this situation sorry.

  9. #9
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

    Gaza Ive been in the same situation as you with Sunbeam.

    When I got to my new workplace their was an old 6900 there.
    It eventually had seal problems and the steam pump died.
    I suspect the leaks were due to the known problem with sheared head bolts.
    The machine came back working but within 5 working days the steam pump stopped again and they offered me a new 6910.

    I drove to Alexandria and picked it up just before Christmas last year.

    Since then theyve replaced the tamper twice and sent me two free seals.

    The 6910 is now almost 12 months old but it does get a lot of use.
    Probably 12 cups a day.

    The collar is now worn and needs replacing.
    In the meantime Ive had to buy a new seal and a spacer to get it going again.
    Sunbeam didnt offer me a free seal this time.

    Ill hopefully be putting the 6910 in for a warranty collar replacement in a few weeks as Ill be going on leave and wont miss it while its a away for its repair.

    In case you arent aware, Im a quality auditor and while I have appreciated Sunbeams efforts at customer service, they would not have had to work so hard at it if the build quality was there in the first place.

    All the times Ive had to wait for a replacement part or a repair could have been avoided.
    All that time on the phone too.

    I still say they are a good machine for their price providing you know what you are getting yourself into.
    But I know longer recommend them, as Ive weighed up the pros and cons and for me the cons outweigh the pros.

    Compare the Sunbeam to my Expobar and its chalk and cheese.
    In the two years Ive had the Expobar Ive changed two group seals.
    Total down time = 10 minutes.
    Total cost <$10

    Sunbeam cant go on forever giving away free 6910s.
    Then the customers will be left with a sour taste in their mouths and it wont be from the coffee.

    Having said all that, if ahmadnz knew someone who knew the 6910 that could inspect it and run a few coffees through it it may turn out to be a bargain.

    Heck, Id be tempted to show them the muck under the shower screen (I bet its filthy) and try bargain the price even lower.


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    Re: Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

    Yes, I think we agree....it needs a real good "viewing" before purchase, and a price drop to match the "out of warranty risk".

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    Re: Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

    Thank you for all the replies. I am a CoffeeSn00b but rapidly absorbing information from the site. Some more thoughts:

    1. In New Zealand the 2nd hand market is a little scarce, which is ultimately why I felt a sense of urgency to try and snap up this machine for $300 (advertised as $350 ono which I thought I could get down to $300). It seems that even though $300 is an incredible price to pay where I live, it might serve me poorly in the long run based on the following:

    2. Grinder - No point in having a "good" machine without a grinder. As mentioned I currently use pre-grind in a Cafe Roma ESP8. Ive since decided that the GRINDER is where I should focus my buying energy first - the machine can wait and if the Sunbeam is still available later, I can always go back to it.

    3. Thats the correct decision, right? Can I make a "decent" coffee using my Cafe Roma with a GOOD grinder that will outlast the machine? I need to investigate getting non-pressurised PF though I see... Not so easy in NZ.

    4. Any thoughts? Can a great grinder turn my basic machine into a significantly better one?

    5. Is there a glossary on the site? Im having trouble with some of the terms and abbreviations used here. I couldnt find one but Im sure one exists.

  12. #12
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

    I would spend the dough on a decent grinder and use non-pressurised baskets and keep the Aroma...say a Rocky or Mazzer Mini or similar Compac etc.

    Cheers

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    Re: Buying Sunbeam 69xx second hand - good idea??

    best bet for 2nd hand gear in NZ is going to be trademe, each and every time.

    There is currently an "as new" asaco (close to that in spelling anyway) grinder in the coffee grinders section (home/kitchen equipment/tea & coffee / grinders) which has a start res of $350 (or buy now of $400) which I reckon looks fairly good value for money, otherwise its the brevilles, delonghis etc that come up all the time at +/- $100 and occasionally a SB 450/480.

    You really need to decide how much $ you are prepared to throw at a decent cup of coffee and how long you would expect to have the equipment with the money you have spent. For example, a Minimazzer which you can get for about $8 - 900 retail in NZ may very well last for 10 years or so, versus the Sunbeam EM0480 which you should be able to get for under $200, but I would doubt it will last 10 years (1 - 3 at a guess), so whilst the mazzer may have a lower overall annual cost, the initial cost may be more than you are prepared to part with in one hit. Same goes I guess for a machine.

    I have the 6910 / 480 combo and am very happy with it. Could a better grinder give me better results, probably, but would it be cost efficient, who knows. If I had the money, I would probably look at that asaco on trademe myself, but cant afford anything at the moment, so for now its just curiousity that I keep an eye on whats available.

    Fresh ground will always give better results than pre-packaged, and even if you cant get non-pressurised baskets for your machine (perhaps a quick ph call to Breville NZ may aide you there), I would still hazzard a guess that you will be better off with your own grinder

    Sen



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