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  • Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

    Hello all,

    Im a newbie to the snob world. Brand spankin new in fact. I bought my first espresso machine today!! I bought a "Sunbeam Cafe Latte" machine. I wasnt sure what my budget was, however heard from my sister that this machine won the Choice award for best machine under $500 and then was offered a deal I could not pass up ($90 for floor stock machine, milk jug, steel tamper, and 250g ground Illy coffee) Plus the machine has all the features Im after!

    I have a fair bit of experience in making coffees (commercially), so I have no troubles in making coffees or stretching milk. However I do have a few questions:

    1. As it was floor stock, turns out that the only group filter I have is a double shot. It appears to be a 51mm group. Does anyone know if theres a store in Sydney where I can buy a single shot filter from (Illy is too good to waste after all)?

    2. Turns out the tamper that was thrown in (Branded Sunbeam) is too big (58mm). Again, does anyone know of a store where I can buy a 51mm one? (By the way, does a 51mm vs. 52mm tamper make much of a difference? If so, what?).

    3. Im used to the coffee grinder at work extracting the correct amount of ground coffee (one flick for a single shot, two flicks for a double). So, Im not sure how much coffee I should be putting into my group. I have the scoop that came with the machine, do I use this as a guide (e.g. one heaped/flat scoop)? Ive heard that if you run your finger over the top of the group (so that its not a heap) produces the correct amount of coffee. Is this so?

    4. This relates to the previous question as well as tamping pressure. How much space should there be from the top of the group filter to the top of the coffee cake (e.g. 5mm)?

    5. Where can i buy a cool knock box from? I realise that Ill be able to find most of these things at the same shop.

    I think thats all my questions for now! Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Also anyones opinions of the "Cafe Latte" are welcome too!

    So far Ive found usability, coffee shots, steam and hot water function to be exceptional! Although, its a bit of a pain how you have to wait for the temperature to regulate every time you switch from espresso/hot water setting to the steamer setting (that said, its only about a minute, if that) and that the espresso function is manual (i.e. you have to stop it yourself) which can be tricky especially with a mug where its hard to see how much coffee is in there (great that a mug fits under the group head though!). Im surprised at how fast the machine warms up from having no power (a minute tops!).

  • #2
    Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

    I cant answer all your questions, so Ill start with welcome to Coffee Snobs.

    Re tamper size - GO to the Pullman Tampers website (link on the left) and there youll find info on the difference a good fitting tamper can make.

    Start with a level basket full of coffee and see what you think. It really is about finding the right grind size, amount of coffee and possibly other variables, that work for your particular machine.

    Try Coffee Parts or DiBartoli for the knock box - see the links on the side.

    Now some qustions from me.

    Have you got a good grinder yet?
    Im going to assume no because you want to use the pre-ground Illy rather than freshly roasted beans.

    Do you realise pre-ground coffee is stale?
    Have you tasted freshly ground freshly roasted coffee?

    What coffee were you using commercially?

    What makes you think the machine is warm in under 60 seconds?

    This is the start of a loooong journey. Have fun.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

      looks from the web site like a dual walled basket...if I am right I would see if you can get normal single walled baskets for the PF handle otherwise you will never achive the goal of great espresso...I had the same problem with my Sunbeam Ristretto. You can then get a tamper made by Greg Pullman - see the sponsers to the right - to fit your baskets perfectly.
      Cheers

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

        your hot of the press tonight Thundergod!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

          One of the best and most inexpensive knock boxes is the Sunbeam Bang Bang - go check it out.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

            Thanks for your quick responses!

            No, I dont have a grinder, although I have regular (tri-weekly) access to the grinder at work which I can use at will. I will grinding beans there regularly. I am using pre-ground Illy as it came with the machine and also I wanted to try my machine out asap and could not access the grinder so soon.

            At my work we use Vittoria coffee, not a favourite of mine, I find it can be quite bitter.
            I have never tried freshly roasted coffee before. That said, I dont think my palate is delicate enough (at this stage) to taste the difference. Although, I could be completely wrong!

            The machine has an LED screen which shows a thermometer and says "ready" when the machine is warmed up. Thats how I know its ready

            Yes it is a dual walled basket. Im not sure where Id go about getting a single walled basket.

            I will check out the links, thanks for your help!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

              Youll need the single walled baskets before you use the fresh coffee.
              The dual walled ones are made for less than fresh coffee.

              I too find the Vittoria a little too bitter.

              Your palate will notice the difference immediately and then slowly become more refined over time.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

                Welcome to CS mandarounious,

                After looking at the instruction manual for the sunbeam it shows the same filter baskets that come with the breville (dual wall). These are no good. I have been on the hunt for a standard filter basket (non pressurised) and have so far only came up with one place. The filter baskets are approx 52mm internally. I have a S/S tamper of 51mm and this does not fit perfectly leaving a small gap around the edge.

                Tampers should fit snug and as soon as I get the standard filter I too will invest in a Pullman which will fit exactly. You might want to shop around for a standard filter that fits, which Sunbeam and Breville are generally the same size of 53mm.

                I can vouch for the Sunbeam Bang Bang as I have one. These are cheap approx $30 attractive and relatively easy to keep clean. Will also match well with your coffee machine.

                As for heating up quickly, this is the same for the Breville 800ES which I have, Thermoblock heats up quick but the rest of the machine isnt preheated. The PF, cup heater and cups and other elements the the machine is not preheated. It is recommended to turn the machine of for 20min - 30min before pulling the first shot, this will allow all equipment of the machine to preheat and thus prevent cooling of the espresso during the shot and getting the right temp throughout the event of pulling the shot.

                There is no use of getting the liquid hot through the thermoblock then is cools down immediately leaving the thermoblock going through a cool PF and entering into a cool cup.

                Good luck with all
                The Goodies


                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

                  its worth letting your machine heat up for at least 20 min to reach thermal stability also getting a good grinder is a must as your beans should be ground just before use and last but not least i second the pullman tamper a must for any Coffeesnob.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

                    Well, Ill start off by saying welcome, and tempering that with "Youre Screwed!" - now that the bugs bit you, youll never be the same again....

                    Ive got a similar machine, and Ill echo what ozscott & tg said about the baskets - have a look at this thread (http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1128380756) for more info on replacing the pressurised ones with the non-pressurised kind (which will give you much nicer extractions, assuming you use fresh, non-preground coffee. any of the sunbeam/krups service centres will have them, and the part numbers (and probably some phone numbers) are in that link.

                    and on the fresh coffee: Yep, it really does make a huge difference, whether you think youve got the refined palate or not. I definitely dont have a refined enough palate for all the little subtle nuances that people talk about in their individual roasts, but trust me (and everyone else that mentions it) - you will notice the difference between something fresh, and something thats been sitting in a can on a shelf for who knows how long (whether its Illy, Vittoria, or whatever) - so, the most common piece of advice youll hear is "get yourself a good grinder". (edit: I forgot to add - I do have to grind in the morning for the plunger at work, so it isnt exactly ideal - maybe 4 or 5 hours old by the time I drink it. But someone gave me some pre-packed, pre-ground coffee at work the other day, from a well-known roaster. While this was a kind gesture, it was definitely older than that. maybe 4 or 5 months. my crappy palate is definitely sensitive enough to not want to do that again....)

                    As for the warmup, even if it says its warm, it aint necessarily warm enough - theres a few people whove used these machines that are advocates of the "run steam for thirty seconds, then flush the group before you pull a shot" method, which helps a bit with temperature.

                    You can get very decent results out of the machine you have - it just takes a little tweaking, and a bit of perseverance, and theres enough people on here that have used this or a similar machine to help you out if you strike any problems....


                    good luck!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

                      Originally posted by The Goodies link=1174477597/0#7 date=1174480828
                      Welcome to CS mandarounious,

                      After looking at the instruction manual for the sunbeam it shows the same filter baskets that come with the breville (dual wall). These are no good. I have been on the hunt for a standard filter basket (non pressurised) and have so far only came up with one place. The filter baskets are approx 52mm internally. I have a S/S tamper of 51mm and this does not fit perfectly leaving a small gap around the edge.

                      The Goodies,
                      you beat me to the punch there - what state are you in? have a look at the thread I linked as it has the part numbers for the Krups baskets. These are 52mm - so they fit beautifully into the sunbeam/brevilles BUT theyre missing the little lip around the rim - which Ive found can result in a little leakage, but Ive got a very loose pf handle. Not sure which state youre in, but the Krups ones are easy to pick up down in Melbourne - that thread should have the answers.

                      After reading some other posts a few weeks back (maybe from Mal?) I decided to try out the Saeco equivalents. These do have the lip around the rim, but the only ones I could get were 51mm. Two upsides there: they dont cause so much of a leakage issue (again, maybe its just my machine), and they fit the crappy sunbeam tamper quite well, as long as theyre really packed with coffee (otherwise, because they taper, even the little 51mm tamper wont squeeze into them). One slight(!) downside is that they dont fit snugly into the pf handle, so when you dump the puck, the whole basket just plops out.....
                      Again, very easy to get - I just rocked up at a Saeco service centre in Caulfield with my pf, and the bloke pulled out a double basket ($7).

                      I think that the best bet is to just bite the bullet and get a decent tamper - thatll be my next investment. Well, apart from more beans of course.....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

                        Hi Varanid99,

                        I live in Perth and wnt into the Saeco service agent here and tested their PF Baskets. It was 1mm too big. They measured my basket at 52.3mm and their basket at 53.4mm. so close yet so far.
                        I will probably have to order the Krups baskets which the only one so far I can find is in Adelaide I have received a quote for both single and double baskets and will take a couple of week to get here.

                        Still a bit wary of doing this just in case it doesnt fit and I have wasted a few dollars. Would ideally like to take my PF in to see if fit in person.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

                          Originally posted by The Goodies link=1174477597/0#11 date=1174521253
                          Hi Varanid99,

                          I live in Perth and wnt into the Saeco service agent here and tested their PF Baskets.
                          maybe a silly question, but have you tried out the non-Saeco service centres? Breville, Krups, Sunbeam et al all seem to have pretty interchangeable parts, so if youre after a Krups basket (#0907163 for the double), maybe have a look at the list of Perth service centres on the Sunbeam website - that was how I tracked my bits down in Melbourne.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

                            The Sunbeam "Bang Bang" knock box is nice...around $30 or like $50 for the brushed steel "cafe series" one. I have the cafe series knock box and it is very nice and solid. Does a better job than many knock boxes out there.

                            As you can see in the photo, I have put a plastic bag in mine so its easy to change over and not have to worry about cleaning it other than wiping the rubber bar and any coffee off the sides.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Sunbeam Latte: Espresso Machine

                              Originally posted by mandarounious link=1174477597/0#5 date=1174479842
                              Thanks for your quick responses!

                              I have never tried freshly roasted coffee before. That said, I dont think my palate is delicate enough (at this stage) to taste the difference. Although, I could be completely wrong!
                              Mandarounious, I too will start with welcomeing you to an awesome sight to help you through your journey to coffee nirvana. [smiley=beer.gif]

                              You mentioned you didnt think your palate was delicate enough. I am a smoker so mine is definitely not sensitive. I have been roasting my own now for a few months. The other day I ran out of roasted coffee (due to my time being needed elsewhere, I didnt get a chance to roast), I poped into a shop and bought a some coffee beans from a local roaster that are supposed to be fresh. I was amazed that as soon as I took my first mouthful I could tell the coffee was stale.

                              Never underestimate the taste of that freshly roasted coffee, and for very little outlay you can roast your own easily. I was scared of stuffing things up but so far have only had one bad roast and from other threads, it looks like it was the beans rather than the roast.

                              Originally posted by Wushoes link=1174477597/0#13 date=1174543012
                              I have put a plastic bag in mine so its easy to change over and not have to worry about cleaning it other than wiping the rubber bar and any coffee off the sides.
                              What a brilliant idea. Im going to steal it but wont take credit ;D

                              Comment

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