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Thread: Ive given up with the Sunbeam EM4800

  1. #1
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    Ive given up with the Sunbeam EM4800

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    As the topic title says, Ive given up trying to make a decent coffee with the EM4800.

    The coffee is inconsistent in flavour (we use it mainly for cappucinos). I cant say Ive managed to make a decent coffee with it in over 12 months of playing around with it. Thats why my wife wants a Saeco automatic. At least the coffee will be consistently mediocre without the hassle of cleaning a portafilter, etc.

    Currently, we make most coffee with a press (plunger) - the wife has it white, I prefer black. Occasionally I use a Moka pot for myself but the coffee made with it needs sugar (I dont usually have sugar in my coffee).

    Perhaps I just dont have the patience to learn to make coffee by trial and error. I thought of doing a course but thought it may be a waste of time when one only has a Sunbeam machine.

    We go out for coffee every day - its easier to get someone else to make it and it usually tastes better. Cripes, even the McDonalds auto machine coffee is better (their McCafe stuff is usually bad).

    Ron






  2. #2
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    Re: Ive given up with the Sunbeam EM4800

    Hi p38arover!
    My first espresso machine was such a Sunbeam. It had a few inherent faults.... such as a grouphead that dislocated itself mid-pour and a pump that occasionally was noisy...but it didnt make too bad a shot....with a bit of patience.

    I know that the size of the grind made a big difference to the resulting shots, as did the quality and purity of the water used. I used to fill the water reservoir with filtered water from a jug filter. The machine needed a de-scale occasionally too.

    But persevere... the quality and consistency of brews that I poured from this little machine was nearly always better than any of the fast food places and most of the cafes that I frequented.

    I only realised what coffee really SHOULD taste like when I started to roast my own beans and when I moved on to a better machine.

    And be careful what you wish for. My search for Coffee Nirvana has been frought with serious side effects...now I really have trouble scoring what I consider to be a fine cup of coffee produced by ANY cafe!

    Cheers,
    Paolo.

  3. #3
    TC
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    Re: Ive given up with the Sunbeam EM4800

    For Gods sake, dont go down that route.....the super autos can be a nightmare in service costs and you will never get better than mediocre espresso out of one....best case scenario is dog average...

    I recommend that you find some quality training and "roll your own"....the pages of evilbay are full of super auto heartbreak....

    CAVEAT EMPTOR :-/

  4. #4
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    Re: Ive given up with the Sunbeam EM4800

    Dont give up Ron,
    Id look into a doing a course if I were you. The money you spend on that might seem a bit much at the time, but as the ad says, the results will be priceless *;)
    Besides that, the money you spend on a course will pale into insignificance next to the money youll spend on a super auto. *If you buy an auto, youll be doubly angry, because you would have spent heaps of cash to get a poor result *:P
    Stick with it CS brother.

  5. #5
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    Re: Ive given up with the Sunbeam EM4800

    Ron,

    firstly the disclaimer. Everyone here knows I am not a fan of electric appliance brand name coffee machines. Everyone here knows I am not a fan of aluminium thermoblock (or any aluminium gutted) machines.

    Now that we have that out of the way...........

    Over the years I have generally found that the "older" or "conventional" style domestic BOILER machines produce a "sweeter" brew. If I mention "sweeter", it has to be taken in the context of coffee which by definition, really cant be "sweet" as in "sugary".

    This is always considering, that good and consistent technique & understanding must be employed no matter what machine is being operated.

    In any case it is my feeling that good quality conventional domestic boiler machines are shall we say, "more forgiving" in the brew than electrical appliance thermoblock machines.

    We then introduce the other very important variable which is I am afraid...you! You as an individual have a certain expectation I guess from
    a) your machine and
    b) of your coffee and in addition, have
    c) a certain technique or capability.

    Over the years we really have had quite a number of individuals that started with electric appliance coffee machines which for one reason or another over a period nolonger satisfied....they came to us and purchased the kind of conventional domestic machines we like to sell and *believe in* and whalla.........happy clients. Who knows why, maybe its not really the difference in the machines at all but the before and after sales service and advice that helps to instill a better operator technique... ;)

    In any case if you like what "super autos" do and the coffee they produce then thats ok, you just have to accept that the coffee they produce is not the same as the coffee you get from manual type machines. So if that is what you like and want, great. Just make sure you buy one that is known to have the lowest breakdown rate, and this also means whatever you buy has to have been around long enough to have that kind of histroy. Your biggest enemy in so called super autos, are johhnycomelately brand/models that dont have the history.............and price. Dont buy cheap!

    Just think however that you should be able to get great and consistent coffee out of a good domestic manual machine if you choose carefully and take the time to develop good technique.

    Some things to think about.

    Regardz,
    FC.

  6. #6
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    Re: Ive given up with the Sunbeam EM4800

    ooh YUCK superautos are my enemy.. we have one here in the office. Jura I think it is, from memory it was about $2.5k and it breaks down all the time.. I guess it gets a lot more use here than it would in someones kitchen but still.. my company has spent more in repairs in the last year than it would cost for an entirely new machine..

    The coffee it produces is drinkable but does not compare in flavour depth and smoothness that even I (I consider myself ametuer) can produce with my Silvia. Having said that, when I purchased it, I had all sorts of trouble getting used to it.. just over 6 months down the track, I havent looked back..

    Good luck Ron..
    Dont go auto!!

    Paulie

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    Re: Ive given up with the Sunbeam EM4800

    Hi Ron,

    I think that you need the following to go with your machine:

    *GOOD grinder
    *Fresh beans
    *Tamper that fits baskets
    *Unpressurised baskets

    If you have all of those things, then you will probably benefit greatly from a course. Or even from just sitting down for an afternoon and burning through 500g of beans.

    If youre reluctant to expend more money and you have a decent cafe nearby (ie. one of the maybe ten in Australia), you might ask them if you could pull some shots on their machine when its not busy. That will give you some exposure to the easiest that its going to get with semi auto machines and if thats too much, then its probably worth considering other alternatives.

    Hope that helps,

    Luca

    PS. Hey FC:

    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee link=1147083723/0#4 date=1147088400
    If I mention "sweeter", it has to be taken in the context of coffee which by definition, really cant be "sweet" as in "sugary".
    If youre ever down in Melbourne, drop me a PM and Ill see if I can meet you at Maling Room to pull you a few shots on Andrews Synesso. We were actually getting some really sugary sweetness in some shots ... but we preferred the normal ones; more balanced. Still, incredible flavours ...

  8. #8
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    Re: Ive given up with the Sunbeam EM4800

    Quote Originally Posted by p38arover link=1147083723/0#0 date=1147083723

    The coffee is inconsistent in flavour (we use it mainly for cappucinos). I cant say Ive managed to make a decent coffee with it in over 12 months of playing around with it. Thats why my wife wants a Saeco automatic. At least the coffee will be consistently mediocre without the hassle of cleaning a portafilter, etc.

    Quite simply it aint the coffee machines fault. If the machine is good or bad, it will still give a consistent shot, either a good one or a bad one :P its what you are doing that is not consistant.
    Spend 3k on a machine and youll most likely get the same inconsistency.

  9. #9
    A_M
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    Re: Ive given up with the Sunbeam EM4800

    Quote Originally Posted by p38arover link=1147083723/0#0 date=1147083723
    As the topic title says, Ive given up trying to make a decent coffee with the EM4800.

    The coffee is inconsistent in flavour (we use it mainly for cappucinos). I cant say Ive managed to make a decent coffee with it in over 12 months of playing around with it. Thats why my wife wants a Saeco automatic. At least the coffee will be consistently mediocre without the hassle of cleaning a portafilter, etc.

    Currently, we make most coffee with a press (plunger) - the wife has it white, I prefer black. Occasionally I use a Moka pot for myself but the coffee made with it needs sugar (I dont usually have sugar in my coffee).

    Perhaps I just dont have the patience to learn to make coffee by trial and error. I thought of doing a course but thought it may be a waste of time when one only has a Sunbeam machine.

    We go out for coffee every day - its easier to get someone else to make it and it usually tastes better. Cripes, even the McDonalds auto machine coffee is better (their McCafe stuff is usually bad).

    Ron
    Dont go the AUTo....

    I have 2 sunbeams :-) (I hear lots of laughing) as they arrived at diferent times for diferent reasons.... A EM4800 and a EM3600. To boot one of the guys at work has just purchased two more EM2300 for himself. One for work and one at home :-) and as he said, at $58 on special how could he go wrong...

    With fresh coffee beans and a cheep KG100 grinder and a Krups #0907163 coffee basket I am able to get 25 to 30 sec shots and the output beats many of the coffies I have had a many a shop.

    The Krups #0907163 coffee basket fits the EM range 4800, 3600 and the 2300 as well as a number of other cheep machines and I bought 6 from my local supplier at $12 each. A great buy.

    Now I am not going to get into a debate that other machines dont make a better coffee, but at the end of the day it is the taste that matters and I am more than happy for the small dollars I have had to spend.

    If you are on the North side of Brisbane I am more that happy to drop in and assist.

    NOTE: I doubt that a coffee traing session will be of much assistance unless the trainer has had plent of experience with these types of units. I went on one and the trainer refused to even talk about HOME machines and turned green when some one mentioned a thermo block :-)

    1: FRESH BEANS
    2: The right grind
    3: Consistant Tamp
    4: Pre flush the head (switch to coffee mode but do not put the handle in - collect in a mug for 2-3 sec)
    5: grouphead with the double basket ( KRUPS is the best)
    6: Switch to coffee mode
    7: Without the Krups basket you may only need it to run for 8 - 10 seconds at most. DO NOT half fill you coffee cups!!!! With the Krups filter and the right grind you have to work out the best time to stop..
    8: Switch to steam mode - may take a couple of seconds or two to get a good head up. Note: Get rid of the rubber frother crap thing.
    9: Froth your milk.
    10: Place the mug with the few mls of water from step 4 under the steam head and switch the steam back on for a second and then wipe. Helps with the cleaning.

    Sit back and enjoy.

    After about 20 minutes or so remove teh grouphead and if using the Krups basket a tap or two and a nice firm (almost dry) puck drops into the bin :-)

    PERSIST... Spending lots of money and chasing Autos do not mean great coffee and less work.

    AM



  10. #10
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    Re: Ive given up with the Sunbeam EM4800

    Hi P38arover, I too thought just like you a couple of months back but the secret is in knowing what makes a good brew and then knowing what your machine does and is capable of.

    You can produce a very fine brew from your machine once you know how. See my post on How not to use your coffee machine...theres a story there.

    I see Angar Management has come to your aid if you live northside of Brisbane well I am offering to get you started if you live on the south side.

    LUCA says it all. You DO NOT NEED A AUTO MACHINE TO MAKE A GREAT BREW. I also have the elcheepo Sunbeam now on sale at Mitre 10 stores for $69 and I can produce a better brew from this than from the 480 sunbeam.

    There are some mods to make like what Anger Management says and this will improve your brew. We can help you here toget started I warn you its a journey from which you might not return but i guarantee you that you will make a fine brew at about half way down the road.

    I have just received my roaster and have finally taken that next step. I have only carried out one roast, my first, was it worth it you ask? Well I think so my coffee is more mellow and like a fine liquer. Hence very enjoyable. So you see you have much to expect along the road.

    So first things first...do you grind your own beans or do you purchase your coffee preground? Theres nothing wrong with pre ground but like i said you are talking a journey and next to the coffee making machine is a good grinder. The KG100 by Delonghi is great value for money although the New Sunbeam EM0480 is a real treat. More on this later we must get you making a acceptable brew.

    Fill your machine up with water remove the portafilter, the device that holds the ground coffee. And once the temp light goes out run some water through the machine into your milk jug. Stop and check the water in the jug and check to see if there are any signs of old coffee grounds in the water. This is an indicator to tell you that you have a dirty showerhead and that it needs cleaning. You should in any case wipe the shower head with a soft cloth to make sure that there are no old grinds left on the shower head and around the seal.

    Next turn the steam on and place a jug under the frother. You probably have a rubber end on it to help with the frothing of the milk. My advice is throw it away its more trouble than its worth and it is something extra one hasto clean. Remember we are trying to make a coffee here.

    Now watch the steam outlet and listen to the pump. The pump should be running slower than it was when making hot water. So does it sound different? Hows the quality of the steam coming from the frother? Mine is very wet and although it works after a fashion if there is a lot of condensate coming from the frother you will not be able to make good milk froth. I mean you will be able to froth your milk but not as good as if you had some hot dry steam.

    I have this trouble with my machine and it is now in pieces awaiting a modification so that i can increase the steam temperature. More on this later. My elcheepo machine however doesnt suffer from this and produces very acceptable steam.

    I have recently bought a Bellman stove top and it makes the greatest micro bubbles in the milk foam. You see the secret is that in the Bellman one can control the heat source whereas in the Sunbeam you cannot.

    So we need to know what happens when you open the steam valve. Based on the above info we can then tell you how to make an acceptable brew.

    Even if you buy an automatic machine the fact that you have bought an automatic does NOT mean you will get great coffee. Thats a figment of someones imagination!!! You do need some basic understanding of what is required to make a brew BEFORE you operate ANY machine if you want to make acceptable coffee.


    You are a fine example of my thread on How not to use your coffee machine and its having been in your situation that drove me to create the post. Like I say buying a machine and an instruction book will not make great coffee. The instructions tell you how the get water and where to put the ground coffee. Then they say this is how you froth the milk and then leave you to it. Absolute crap. making a good coffee is like driving a car. First you learn what the controls are for, then off you go trying to syncronise everything so that the car eventually goes down the road. Then and only then you learn to steer. Making great coffee is exactly the same.

    You mention you are using a lot of sugar. This is indicating to me that you are filling your cup under the portafilter and then adding your frothed milk. Am i right? First things first you need to remember that you are not , I repeat NOT trying to fill a cup with coffee at this time. rather that you should let the machine run for only 15 to 20 seconds. Yes thats right seconds. You are making an essence. If you require more volume then add hot water. Not boiling only hot.

    So for now you have something to achieve. Go give it a go and get back to us and well iron out the other issues as we go along.

    Im a cappachino man myself and the target here is to get great Crema.
    Now there is one mod to make on the portafilter and that is as stated by Anger Management. But not yet. You need to produce a great brew first and then improve on it.

    see next post
    Kualityman

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    Re: Ive given up with the Sunbeam EM4800


    Last post continued.

    Believe me in a weee while you will laugh at yourself when you see that armed with some knowledge you can make even the worst machine turn out an acceptable brew and once you understand where you have been going wrong you will enjoy a great moment in time with a brew in your hands and a magic moment to contend with....yes its very addictive.

    Me? I started out with the 43 bean brew and wondered what all the fuss was about. My wife thinks im completely barmy and my coffee "factory" is relegated to the verandah.

    Go catch up on Scoot Gal here story is a great one also.

    Let us know what you find and then more to come.

    Above all have fun
    kualityman.

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    Re: Ive given up with the Sunbeam EM4800

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Fresh coffee says:
    Just think however that you should be able to get great and consistent coffee out of a good domestic manual machine if you choose carefully and take the time to develop good technique.

    Some things to think about.

    Regardz,
    FC.

    he is right. I have friends who spent $2,000 plus on a auto machine didnt like the brew ans spent another $2,000--------upgrading to yet another at over $4,000. This is absolute nonsense and not necessary at all in the home environment. Last Sunday i had to make 6 coffees all at the same time and this I did with ease because I had learnt how to use my machine to get the greatest coffee.

    You can do it P38arover.

    We are here to help you.

    No go have some fun
    kualityman
    Its past my bed time ...AGAIN.



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