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EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...HELP

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  • EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...HELP

    Hi folks, I have just gone from a Saeco Via Venezia (?) to the Sunbeam EM6900 and am having some serious milk problems. Purchased from Myer 2 weeks ago for $499.

    The Saeco gave me over 4 years of faultless coffee pleasure (esp. after I went to a non-pressurised PF and propper grinder/tamper,removed plastic cover on the steam wand etc.) and I could microfoam like crazy (it would pour like a fine Guinness), but the 6900 its just hot flat milk or at best a bunch of bubbles on hot milk.

    I need some EXPERT help here and I fear it may infact be a machine fault (but just as likely be me). I am going to a Sunbeam course at the Novatel in a few weeks, but really cant go that long without my latte!


    Ok, first some facts...
    1) I have read widely (this and other forums) as well as watched videos and people at caffes
    ie. http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1152302832
    http://www.cremamagazine.com.au/forums/YaBB.cgi?board=Technical;action=display;num=111655 5453;start=60
    coffeegeek, lattelove, google video etc...
    2) I use cold mik
    3) I have a milk thermometer (and it still stuffs up if i do it by feel and sound).
    4) I let the machine warm up and run the steam for 10-30 sec. before steaming (no diff. how long its run)
    5) Ive practiced with water
    6) Ive gone through 6 litres of milk in one session trying to get it right trying various techniques and wand positions (varying one item at a time and making notes).
    7) I have tried various temps for plunging the tip (around 40 degrees) and final temp. (and 55-70 degrees final temp.).
    8) I have tried various brands/types of milk.
    9) Various levels of milk and size of jug (500ml and 800ml), half and 3/4 full

    So, what am I doing ?
    I place the wand at the base of the jug, turn on the steam fully, lift it up so that the tip is just below the surface and the milk begins to swirl and a small slurp is heard. (I also tried big golps of air and tiny or big slups and various combinations). The milk heat to 40 degrees in about 35ish seconds, but does not appear to stretch no matter what (what the?).

    Now its ~40 degrees, I plunge the tip (tried various levels and positions/inclinations of the tip and jug) and (try) and create a whirlpool (no more air gets in at this phase). I guess there is some whirling but nothing that Id call a real whirlpool...more a swirlpool. Ive even tried to roll the milk over itself rather than in a whirlpool. No joy.

    All up, a bit over 1 minute 30 seconds....and net result, hot milk and a crap rapidly fading froth (not microfoam...not realy foam at all).

    Strangely, despite the steam seeming to be quite strong when I hold my hand infront of it... I think the swirl is not as big as it was with the Saeco...so perhaps there is a prob. with the steamer ?....but then it does heat up the milk...arghhh....

    Perhaps someone in Melbourne who has one of these machines or knows their stuff would be able to show me the way or confirm that the EM6900 steamer is infact at fault or if its me. Happy to bring the machine to you. (it was bought at Myer and as we all know they dont know anything about coffee, but they do price match and accept returns ).

    So, please help me...I miss my latte!

    PS. I have a video of one of the "failed" attempts, not the best example but it will at least give something to talk to....Ill post it on one of the vid. sites in the next day.

  • #2
    Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...HELP

    Latte, firstly jug size is important- you will need a 300 ml jug for one cup and a 600 ml jug for two. You cannot just 1/2 fill a jug.

    Fill the jug to a few mm under the cutout for the spout...then:

    When you apply steam pressure, have the tip just below the surface- you will know youre in the right place if you hear a gentle hissing sound- you then want to create a "swirl" or whirlpool...once this is established, "stretch" the milk by lowering the jug to create the required amount of milk foam....the swirl continues throughout the event. If you hear that screaming jet engine type sound, the wand tip is too deep in the milk....

    There is no need to plunge the wand...ever

    If the machine is not capable of texturing in this manner, you should take it back. I cannot understand why people get so excited with this machine when most of them seem to break and its so challenging to get it to do the job well. 90 seconds is ridiculous as a texture event and unacceptable.

    A silvia would do the job in 15 seconds. The bottom line is that thermoblocks still dont cut it when it comes to quality milk texture IMHO....I really wonder whats going to happen to Sumbeam owners as the warranty period expires and these sweat-shop built contraptions continue to break....

    2mcm

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...

      2muchcoffeeman, thanks for the reply.

      I have 2 jugs, a "small" one (600ml that I fill with 300ml - milk to the base of the spout - hence the half full comment) and a 800ml that came with the machine that I do not use much.

      I do fill to the base of the spout, and have also tried it with the non-plunging method as you described as well. Same result. Hot milk.

      Seems increasingly likely that this has a broken steamer (as it seems many have had).

      Thanks again.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...HELP

        Hi Lattelover.   I was/am in a similar situation.  However, after much tweaking I have found the best option for me is to use 2% milk (Im in NZ so cant offer brand info) plus some nonfat milk powder.  Results are not always consistent, but it is the closest Ive come so far ...

        On the Bassett DVD you only get a side shot of him steaming the milk - one really needs a top shot to see his technique !!!

        Cheers,
        CJ

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...

          Thanks guys.

          Just called Sunbeam 1800 #.

          Its going back by courier to Sydney tomorrow. Theyll check it out and Ill let you know the result.

          Comment was, oh no, it should not take one and a half mins to texture 300ml of milk...Wet steam, oh, not good...


          CJ, Sounds like too much stuffing around to get a good milk drink to me...Id consider returning it too if I was you. btw...I count not get anything near microfoam with this machine, so its not even close to being acceptable and I do not think it was me or the milk.

          BTW...serial number was in the 08000 range,,,so not sure if this was new or old stock....be interested to know serials of problematic/goo machines.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...

            Lattelover,
            I have just pensioned off the previous model sunbeam (single thermoblock)
            so i know what you are going through. Check the steam hole as i found that
            it would block up regularly,no matter how i cleaned it soaking, wire pullthrough
            etc. I found that by holding the steam nozzle tip almost ON the surface of the
            milk and letting the steam move the milk around the jug was the best way
            to get some sort of microfoam. The process will take around 2 mins at least.
            Happy to show you how if you would like.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...

              Dennis, thanks matey. A very kind offer. Its away getting fixed I hope. Ill let you know how it works when I get it back.

              Odd thing is that I can create absolutely stunning (well I think it is anyway) microfoam when I use my little Saeco VV, but the sunbeam was a complete write off. Hot milk, thats it. Hot milk...after 6 litres of milk....it was buggered I am sure of that and if by some rare chance it is meant to be like that...itll be going back to the store and Ill be getting a boiler machine instead - at a much greater cost.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...

                lattelover, good luck. Ive upgraded to a commercial hx machine,and have enough steam to drive a train. No more thermoblocks for me now. Let me know how it goes or if you want help.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...HELP

                  I only half fill the jug. I put the steam nozzle pipe on the pouring lip of the jug, with the tip just on the surface of the milk (sometimes slightly above, sometimes slightly under the surface depending on how quickly the foam is forming) so it blows the milk around the jug creating a whirlpool. Volume doubles in a few seconds and I lower the nozzle into the milk to heat it to appropriate temp. (Book suggests its hot enough when you cant hold your hand on the base of the jug for less than 3 seconds. It burns your hand but you learn!)

                  My daughter showed me how to do this. The EM6900 instruction book is completely wrong. Talks about keeping the nozzle under the surface of the milk. All you get is hot milk, no foam. I took my first EM6900 back after wasting quite a few litres of cow and soy milk. They gave me another one (no questions asked) but the new one did the same. Then my daughter started experimenting and got some reasonable foam. I really like this machine now :-)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...

                    Hi guys, a quick update.

                    I got a call from Sunbeam on Thursday, they have replaced the steam pump and the steam thermoblock (and the seal for some reason) and itll be back on my bench on Monday. Ill let you know how it goes.

                    I also attended the Sunbeam training couse (1 1/2 hours) at the Novatel today and so got to try a few diff. 6900s...all had MUCH better steam than mine and I could easily texture milk to a silky/cramy thick goo, so it was definitely a problem with my machine.

                    The course was great and they tought you all the things that one needs to know to make a great espresso and milk drink. I highly recomend it to those who have bought a Sunbeam recently.

                    Oh, and this machine really does make an amazing shot.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...

                      Originally posted by lattelover link=1154345163/0#9 date=1155989820

                      I got a call from Sunbeam on Thursday, they have replaced the steam pump and the steam thermoblock (and the seal for some reason) and itll be back on my bench on Monday. Ill let you know how it goes.

                      Yep, last Friday I got mine back for the 3rd time being in Sunbeams hands - They changed my Steam Pump and Thermblock unit - operates a little different and takes a while to shut off - I think they reprogrammed the unit a little - Produces awesome steam though and Im happy with it. They also replaced the group coller (Not sure why, perhaps as a collective improvements over time they have been implimenting - but it has improved the seal between the portafiller/\/basket and group seal and). I already had the blue seal :-)

                      Originally posted by lattelover link=1154345163/0#9 date=1155989820

                      I also attended the Sunbeam training couse (1 1/2 hours) at the Novatel today and so got to try a few diff. 6900s...all had MUCH better steam than mine and I could easily texture milk to a silky/cramy thick goo, so it was definitely a problem with my machine.

                      The course was great and they tought you all the things that one needs to know to make a great espresso and milk drink. I highly recomend it to those who have bought a Sunbeam recently.

                      Oh, and this machine really does make an amazing shot.
                      Yes, the course was excellent for a freebe and comes highly recommended. And yes, this Machine does produce a fantastic shot. Ive just added the Sunbeam grinder EM0480 to the mix on Saturday and that was a very wise idea!!! - My Delonghi KG100 just wasnt cutting it. I now use that grinder for Decaf grinding which is holding up for that purpose at the moment according to my Wife who drinks Decaf.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...HELP

                        Hi! Im new here. Am just a home user.

                        My Gaggia Carezza died last week so I bought a Sunbeam EM6900. Took me two goes to perfect the milk frothing. Having done it completely differently with the Carezza. For me the trick now is never to submerge the steam wand! I found that the Sunbeam steamed the milk too fast, and it ended up too hot and relatively flat. So I experimented and found that if I can see the tip of the wand... the little bit in the middle on the end, then Ive got the wand in at the right place - almost not in, really. And run the steam a bit before you put it into the milk. You want to get rid of that first few seconds of just water spurting out.

                        I must say that so far, I dont much like the Sunbeam. After less than a week, Ive had the whole group head come away twice - with wet coffee grinds going everywhere - becasue clearly I hadnt excerted brute force when Id screwed it in to brew a cup. Taste is also an issue. Same coffee I used before, so Ill have to experiment with grind and amount.

                        Cheers...
                        Sue

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...

                          Originally posted by byronss link=1154345163/0#11 date=1157253401
                          Hi! Im new here. Am just a home user.

                          My Gaggia Carezza died last week so I bought a Sunbeam EM6900. Took me two goes to perfect the milk frothing. Having done it completely differently with the Carezza. For me the trick now is never to submerge the steam wand! I found that the Sunbeam steamed the milk too fast, and it ended up too hot and relatively flat. So I experimented and found that if I can see the tip of the wand... the little bit in the middle on the end, then Ive got the wand in at the right place - almost not in, really. And run the steam a bit before you put it into the milk. You want to get rid of that first few seconds of just water spurting out.

                          I must say that so far, I dont much like the Sunbeam. After less than a week, Ive had the whole group head come away twice - with wet coffee grinds going everywhere - becasue clearly I hadnt excerted brute force when Id screwed it in to brew a cup. Taste is also an issue. Same coffee I used before, so Ill have to experiment with grind and amount.

                          Cheers...
                          Sue
                          Hi Sue, What grinder are you using? You do need to use some little force (shouldnt be all that different than the Gaggia) to insert the Portafiller to the group head. Perhaps just experiment with the grind and tamp. Youll get there. The Sunbeam does make a great shot when you have the all the elements sorted etc.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...

                            Marc and I are both on our third machine, and at the moment mine is working well although Chriss comments are firmly embedded in my sub conscious. I have not had any trouble with frothing with my trio of machines, that is the one aspect which has been constantly reliable. Since my Vensuvio stove top espresso days, I have found that the sound is an important indicator of foam quality. No shrieking, just a regular hiss, and that final delightful rumble as the build up of microfoam sound insulation lets me know I have got it right.

                            Incidentally, I dont know if Marc is aware that the Sunbeam cooks a mean batch of scrambled eggs. I saw a commercial machine used to cook a jug of beaten eggs with the steam wand in a cafe one morning, and I thought "what one fool can do, another can emulate", so I tried it at home. Perhaps it would be debasing a pedigreed domestic machine to use it for such a purpose, but what the heck! its only a Sunbeam,.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: EM6900  milk - just cant get it right...

                              Yeh, its been 3 straight weeks and wonderful coffee making - Im confident that my current machine will now be the goods (I hope).

                              What Chris says is correct, but sadly, the Silvia is out of my price range and it cant steam and extract at the same time - Something that I needed as I do a fair bit of entertaining at home and a Giotto is just off limits $$$ wise anyway, otherwise there would be one on my kitchen bench now! :-), with a Mini Mazzer :-).. And a HotTop to finish things off nicely.

                              I am interested in this talked about EM6910 and what changes are on it compared with the EM6900.

                              Feathers, did you enjoy your scrambled eggs ?? :-)

                              Marc

                              Comment

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