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Thread: upgrade options

  1. #1
    naomes
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    upgrade options

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    hi guys,

    first post! i have a crappy sunbeam em4800 (i think) and its time to make some better coffee at home. I dont have a grinder, so I know that is my first step. Ive read here that the sunbeam em0480 is a great value grinder and very good quality for its price. So my options are:

    -just a buy the sunbeam grinder
    -buy the sunbeam grinder and a mid-range gaggia (espresso deluxe from ebay)
    -wait like a year and save up to buy a silvia/rocky package

    Any thoughts on what i should do? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: upgrade options

    Hi, Naomes -

    I cant comment on the Gaggia, but I can say that we have been very pleased with our Rocky/Silvia combo. I added PID control right away (which is contrary to the advice of many who believe you should spend time learning the machine first).

    I chose Silvia over Gaggia primarily because the Silvia has a brass boiler. I believe that the Gaggias use aluminum. Whether that was a reasonable basis for making the decision, I have no idea!

    I also became convinced that the Silvia has enough thermal mass to give stable temperatures during a shot (I have found this to be true).

    Biggest disadvantage we have experienced, as with any single boiler machine, is the wait time between the steps in the "brew / steam / cooldown / brew" cycle when making multiple lattes. Im not sure you can solve this problem inexpensively.

    Hope this helps a little. Now I will wait to read the thoughts of the real CS experts :-)

    -- JGG

  3. #3
    naomes
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    Re: upgrade options

    Thanks JGG. Yeah I will probably END UP with a silvia/rocky combo but Im not sure what i will do in the meantime. I cant fork out the cash for that yet so im just thinking about how i will bide my time. Any other ideas? Cheers!

  4. #4
    naomes
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    Re: upgrade options

    i actually own an em3500! much worse...

  5. #5
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    Re: upgrade options

    Namoes,

    I took the third option a while ago. I didnt have any machines or grinders and quickly realised the Silvia/Rocky combo was the only one for me. This meant I had to wait or about a year to save up enough. But the wait was well worthwhile as I knew I wouldnt really be happy with anything else. I saved by putting the pennies I usually spent on my morning coffee from the local shop towards the machine and grinder. Id say wait and avoid upgraditis. 8-)

    Matt

  6. #6
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    Re: upgrade options

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt G link=1149395702/0#4 date=1149405495
    Namoes,

    I took the third option a while ago. I didnt have any machines or grinders and quickly realised the Silvia/Rocky combo was the only one for me. This meant I had to wait or about a year to save up enough. But the wait was well worthwhile as I knew I wouldnt really be happy with anything else. I saved by putting the pennies I usually spent on my morning coffee from the local shop towards the machine and grinder. Id say wait and avoid upgraditis. 8-)

    Matt

    rather than going without as you save I reckon look to buy well second hand then you can upgrade without too much pain at a later date and enjoy reasonable coffee while youre waiting. There have been a couple of VERY good deals on 2nd hand gear listed on this site recently which Im sure would be resalable for at least as much in twelve months time as they are now. Of course there is some risk involved but if you stay away from al boilers the chances of things going too badly would be pretty minimal.


  7. #7
    Senior Member Lovey's Avatar
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    Re: upgrade options

    Quote Originally Posted by naomes link=1149395702/0#0 date=1149395702
    hi guys,
    first post! i have a crappy sunbeam em4800 (i think) and its time to make some better coffee at home. I dont have a grinder, so I know that is my first step. Ive read here that the sunbeam em0480 is a great value grinder and very good quality for its price. So my options are:

    -just a buy the sunbeam grinder
    -buy the sunbeam grinder and a mid-range gaggia (espresso deluxe from ebay)
    -wait like a year and save up to buy a silvia/rocky package
    Any thoughts on what i should do? Thanks in advance.
    Gday Naomes,
    what sort of budget do you have at the moment? *
    If you have enough money to buy a Sunbeam grinder and a Gaggia at the moment, youll certainly have enough to invest in a decent grinder to pair with your current machine.
    A Rocky or Iberital grinder would be a good choice and both would immunise you against upgraditis, at least on the grinder front for a while. Of course if youve got money to burn, you can get some truly fantastic grinders, check out the range that the site sponsors have on offer 8-).
    Once youve got a decent grinder, you can save your pennies for another machine, as you will suffer from at least another attack of upgraditis in the near future ;).
    Another suggestion would be to get hold of some replacement non-pressurised portafilters, or modify your current ones to suit. This will assist you with improving your dosing and tamping techniques.
    All the best.

  8. #8
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: upgrade options

    Quote Originally Posted by jggall01 link=1149395702/0#1 date=1149401275
    Biggest disadvantage we have experienced, as with any single boiler machine, is the wait time between the steps in the "brew / steam / cooldown / brew" cycle when making multiple lattes. Im not sure you can solve this problem inexpensively.

    -- JGG
    Hi guys,

    Actually, since Ive "discovered" the superior method of heating the milk separately, as in the microwave or on the stove, I find I dont use the steam wand anymore whatsoever. Flat whites prepared in this way taste vastly superior to those prepared with "steamed" milk, and that is not just my opinion :o. I guess if you like to have the occasional foamy milk coffee drink such as a Cappa or a Latte, then you have to resort to stretching the milk with steam, but if flavour and intensity are important criteria in a milk coffee drink, then you should try heating your milk more conventionally..... youll be impressed with the improvement [smiley=thumbsup.gif],

    Mal.

  9. #9
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    Re: upgrade options

    I agree with the good grinder now option. I, personally, would always go for the Iberital Challenge over the Sunbeam. Seems to have more or less the same burr set, but the adjustment is a worm drive, which is much more suitable for espresso. I suspect that many of the people who are satisfied with the sunbeam grinders fall into two camps: beginners whose technique has enough variation that it covers up the grinders lack of adjustibility or people who are so competent that they are able to compensate for a grind that is too coarse or fine by adjusting their dose, without thinking about it. But I suspect that once you have a consistent dose down pat you would find the Sunbeams lack of adjustibility irritating.

    As for the actual machine ... well ... to tell you the truth, I think that the HX machines are significantly better than the Silvia ... whether or not you can save for one is another question ...

    Cheers,

    Luca

  10. #10
    naomes
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    Re: upgrade options

    thank you everyone.

    Luca, this question will prove that I am in fact a "beginner whose technique has enough variation that it covers up the grinders lack of adjustibility" - what does HX stand for (im guessing entry level commercial machines??).

    I have never owned a grinder, so im just a newbie to all this. I love my coffee, but ONLY milk drinks. So, Im more into the frothing. I think ive only just got the hang of frothing with my sunbeam machine. But the flavour is terrible so I wanted a short-term solution until I can afford a better setup.

    Q: If I buy an Iberital Challenge now, would I need to upgrade later if I buy a silvia?

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: upgrade options

    Gday Naomes and welcome to CS.

    We were all new to the scene at one point, asking questions is how we learn so feel free to ask away. :)

    HX stands for Heat eXchanger, a method of heating the water for the shot. These are generally seen only on commercial machines and the higher end consumer (sometimes called Prosumer) models.

    The other most commonly seen design for heating the water is a thermoblock, which is what youll find on most consumer machines.

    Java "Still learning" phile

  12. #12
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    Re: upgrade options

    Re : "...Q: If I buy an Iberital Challenge now, would I need to upgrade later if I buy a silvia?...."

    No Naomes, from a technical point of view you would not need to upgrade from the Challenge. It grinds coffee as well as any commercial grinder worth 3 times the price and you would not be able to tell the difference between a well made espresso made with grinds from this grinder, OR an espresso made with the same coffee beans ground by a much more expensive commercial coffee grinder.

    But of course, an individual may wish to upgrade for other reasons.


    Regardz,
    FC.

  13. #13
    naomes
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    Re: upgrade options

    thanks FC, thats very helpful. So Im guessing I WOULD need to upgrade if I bought the sunbeam em0480?

    Thanks.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Lovey's Avatar
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    Re: upgrade options

    Quote Originally Posted by naomes link=1149395702/0#12 date=1149500267
    thanks FC, thats very helpful. So Im guessing I WOULD need to upgrade if I bought the sunbeam em0480?

    Thanks.
    Not neccesarily.
    The EM0480 hasnt been around for that long and as such doesnt have any long term test results available yet. By all accounts it is a good value for money grinder and should serve you well.
    However, some of the criticism of this grinder, so far, centres around distance between the steps, and as such, your skill level may outgrow the grinder long before the grinder itself gives up.
    The iberital on the other hand is a stepless grinder and doesnt suffer from this problem.
    The best analogy that I can give you atm is imagine someone walking up a set of stairs (Sunbeam) and someone walking up a ramp (Iberital). There are more oppurtunities for adjustment on the ramp than the stairs.
    I hope this helps you out.

  15. #15
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    Re: upgrade options

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Hi Naomes,

    Yep, I would think that you would want to upgrade if you went for the Sunbeam ... in fact, I think that it is MORE important to have a good grinder with a cheaper home machine. For example, I have had the good fortune to be able to borrow a few mazzer commercial grinders to use with my Silvia at one point or other and I have to say that there was a significant, tasteable difference. On the other hand, when using my Rocky with commercial machines the difference between it and the mazzers wasnt as huge (but was still noticeable).

    Sorry about the technobabble. This article decodes some espresso machine types: http://www.home-barista.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=368

    Cheers,

    Luca






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