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  • What to buy - your opinion please!

    Hi,  am a total novice at coffee machines and we are about to embark on our first.  Have looked at the following and would like your opinion as to which you would recommend (or stay clear of):
    Breville Cafe Roma ESP8C
    Sunbeam Cafe Latte EM5600
    Breville Ikon  BES400
    Breville Pro 800ES
    I suppose priorities (besides the actual coffee) would be ease of operation, reliability, and good milk frothing (babycino/fluffies for the kids ).  

    Advice?

  • #2
    Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

    Hi there,

    Out of all of those, the Breville Ikon with its 200mil Stainless Steel Boiler and Electronic Temp Control..

    Please dont forget about a grinder... which the minimum would be the Sunbeam EM0450/\/EM0480...

    And I would get some Krups "real" coffee baskets...

    Cheers,
    Marc

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

      jimjam,

      Hi and welcome to CoffeeSnobs...

      Yep, Id second everything Marc said above....

      Ikon with normal baskets is the best of that group.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

        Hi I have just purchased the Breville bes400. good price atm ($299).
        Was just wondering if anyone could tell me which krups non-pressurized baskets Id need.
        I found some part numbers from a thread about the sunbeam em5800.

        Part number for the Krups non-pressurised double basket is MS0907163, $11.12+GST.
        Number for the non-pressurised single basket is MS0925592, $13.84+GST


        Does anyone know if these are the correct baskets to use for the breville?

        thanks in advance!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

          Hi,

          My Mum just bought a EM6910 newin the box with full warranty from the Sunbeam clearance shop, she paid $425. I think normal retail is about $699 for this model, have not had a chance to have a good play with it yet but according to you guys its a great machine.

          The machine was in new condition, only the box had been damaged.

          Enjoy

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

            Originally posted by ktime link=1180165483/0#3 date=1180187528
            Hi I have just purchased the Breville bes400. good price atm ($299).
            Was just wondering if anyone could tell me which krups non-pressurized baskets Id need.
            I found some part numbers from a thread about the sunbeam em5800.

            Part number for the Krups non-pressurised double basket is MS0907163, $11.12+GST.
            Number for the non-pressurised single basket is MS0925592, $13.84+GST


            Does anyone know if these are the correct baskets to use for the breville?

            thanks in advance!
            Hi ktime

            How long ago did you buy this Breville Ikon coffee machine?

            There was an offer on this machine with a free Breville grinder a few weeks ago just before mothers day. I am Just wondering if this offer is still on as I am considering either this machine or the Sunbeam 5600 for my wife birthday coming up in a couple of weeks time.

            Thanks
            Stephen

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

              Hi sschen,

              I bought it about 3 weeks ago in Melbourne. I did get the bonus grinder. It was advertised here in all the major catelouges (harvey norman, myer, good guys, retravision). As far as I know the myer and good guys catalouges have expired but the retravision offer stands until the end of May. So retravision would probably be your best bet. If you dont have the paper catelouge its also on their website www.retravision.com.au

              Regards,

              K

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

                Originally posted by ktime link=1180165483/0#6 date=1180326496
                Hi sschen,

                 I bought it about 3 weeks ago in Melbourne. I did get the bonus grinder. It was advertised here in all the major catelouges (harvey norman, myer, good guys, retravision). As far as I know the myer and good guys catalouges have expired but the retravision offer stands until the end of May. So retravision would probably be your best bet. If you dont have the paper catelouge its also on their website www.retravision.com.au

                Regards,

                K
                ktime

                Thanks for this.  I cant find any retravision paper catalogue at home but I checked the retravision website and sure enough their WA catalogue shows the machine and grinder @$299.  This is the same price that I saw at Myer a couple of weeks ago during Mothers day.

                With the free grinder, is it via redemption or do they give you the grinder on the spot.  Did you pay $299 or is there still room to haggle?

                I know a lot of members have high praise for the Sunbeam EM0480 for its value for money.  Is there any point buying the Sunbeam grinder since the Breville grinder is bundled with the Breville Expresso machine?

                Thanks again
                Stephen

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

                  Stephen,

                  Are you planning to use the pressurised baskets on the Ikon, if so the packaged grinder would be just adequate.... but you would have real trouble grinding for normal baskets (the ones you need for good coffee).... There is a reason why it is free - and, as the saying goes, "you get what you pay for!!!"

                  The EM0480 is much better.... but most here would say it also is just adequate for normal baskets.

                  One thing which you will rapidly discover.... A good grinder is FAR more important than the machine itself..... to make great coffee.... listed in order

                  1. Barista skills (which can be learnt)
                  2. Freshly roasted quality beans
                  3. Quality grinder
                  4. Machine

                  And yep, the machine is the lowest on the list. Dont settle for a free grinder because you can - not unless you need another door stop!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

                    Originally posted by JavaB link=1180165483/0#8 date=1180360276
                    Stephen,

                    Are you planning to use the pressurised baskets on the Ikon, if so the packaged grinder would be just adequate.... but you would have real trouble grinding for normal baskets (the ones you need for good coffee).... There is a reason why it is free - and, as the saying goes, "you get what you pay for!!!"

                    The EM0480 is much better.... but most here would say it also is just adequate for normal baskets.

                    One thing which you will rapidly discover.... A good grinder is FAR more important than the machine itself..... to make great coffee.... listed in order

                    1. Barista skills (which can be learnt)
                    2. Freshly roasted quality beans
                    3. Quality grinder
                    4. Machine

                    And yep, the machine is the lowest on the list. Dont settle for a free grinder because you can - not unless you need another door stop!
                    JavaB

                    I hear what you are saying.  We are complete newbies at making coffee.  Put it this way, I dont even know what you meant when you said "pressurised" baskets and normal (un-pressurised?) baskets.  So Barista skills is practically nil at the moment.  I will have to start somewhere and learn I guess.

                    This Breville IKON retails for around the same price as the Sunbeam EM5600 and it seems you guys think this Breville machine is better.  I guess the free grinder is better than no grinder?  If I was to buy the Sunbeam EM5600, I wont be able to afford a grinder for a good couple of months.  This means I will be buying pre-ground coffee.  Would you say I am better off trying to ground my own coffee beans with this Breville coffee grinder even though it is a free/cheap grinder.  Mind you, this grinder retails for about the same price as the Sunbeam EM0450 so it cant be all that nasty?

                    I also noticed people suggesting that because this grinder is labelled as a general purpose grinder, people "automatically" assumes it is crap.  Surely just because the manufacturer labels the grinder as general purpose to appeal to a greater audience, it is no reason to suggest its capability is less than adequate?  You get what I mean?  Just a feeling I got, no offense intended.

                    Funny you mention door stop, I am using the kids shoes as my kitchen door stop.  This grinder might be a better alternative albeit an expensive one if it is not up to the task of grinding coffee beans.  

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

                      Stephen,

                      Some explanations are required.

                      OK pressurised (crema enhancing) baskets Vs normal...

                      To extract the oils from the grinds they need to be placed under pressure (of about 9 Bars).... there are 2 ways of doing this:

                      Normal.... you fill the basket with coffee grinds of the correct size and you tamp down with about 15Kg pressure to compact them into a solid mass. The basket has lots of small holes in the bottom so the coffee would rapidly flow out.... but because the puck is so solid.... it holds the pressure and the coffee flows out slowly.... and the 9 Bar of pressure is held in the basket (by the coffee). The coffee comes out at a rate of 30 ml (60 ml from a double basket) in 30 seconds.... and has a nice tasting natural crema as the oils and carbon dioxide in the grinds are extracted.

                      Pressurised..... you fill the basket with any old coffee (including supermarket stale coffee).... and the grind size doesnt matter much- neither does how hard you tamp ( normally just a light tamp would do)..... so you would expect the coffee to pour through very fast.... but it cant as instead of the lots of small holes it has one tiny pin hole in the base..... and the coffee must pass through that.... and that produces the 9 bar pressure. The contents of the basket stew rather than get extracted.... and as the resultant liquid is squeezed through the pinhole it froths up and produces false crema... even from stale coffee which would normally produce none. As a result the taste suffers badly... and even fresh beans which are ground just before brewing dont produce great coffee.

                      So why pressurised baskets.... and they are on just about all machines at the lower price points. Well bean freshness doesnt matter (supermarket preground works OK) grind size doesnt matter much (one size fits all) and tamp force doesnt matter much... and you get a liquid out which has lots of "crema"... looks and even tastes a bit like coffee.... and you can impress friends who dont understand what is happening and how good the coffee could be.

                      The Ikon is potentially a great machine- but is handicapped by the pressurised baskets. However you can buy normal baskets (Krups make some which fit) and then enjoy great tasting coffee.... but you will need to develop some technique to do it. (not hard to do)

                      Grinders come in various quality levels. The cheap ones produce coffee where the grind size varies (bits of different size at the same time).... no problem for a pressurised baskets.... but no good for a normal one. When beans age you need to grind a bit finer each day (to maintain the correct flow). This is a small adjustment... and the cheaper grinders - even the EM0480 - cant be adjusted fine enough. A general purpose grinder (because it is general purpose) will have large steps by definition.... and so wont have adequate adjustment.

                      So for an easy start the combo will work... and you will get OK coffee if you use the supplied baskets..... but it will never be really good, certainly not great - but it could be..... and the Ikon is capable of that (with normal baskets and a good grinder).

                      Hope that helps a bit. If you have any other queries.... I and the other members here will be happy to help.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

                        Originally posted by JavaB link=1180165483/0#10 date=1180363565
                        Stephen,

                        Some explanations are required.

                        OK pressurised (crema enhancing) baskets Vs normal...

                        To extract the oils from the grinds they need to be placed under pressure (of about 9 Bars).... there are 2 ways of doing this:

                        Normal.... you fill the basket with coffee grinds of the correct size and you tamp down with about 15Kg pressure to compact them into a solid mass. The basket has lots of small holes in the bottom so the coffee would rapidly flow out.... but because the puck is so solid.... it holds the pressure and the coffee flows out slowly.... and the 9 Bar of pressure is held in the basket (by the coffee). The coffee comes out at a rate of 30 ml (60 ml from a double basket) in 30 seconds.... and has a nice tasting natural crema as the oils and carbon dioxide in the grinds are extracted.

                        Pressurised..... you fill the basket with any old coffee (including supermarket stale coffee).... and the grind size doesnt matter much- neither does how hard you tamp ( normally just a light tamp would do)..... so you would expect the coffee to pour through very fast.... but it cant as instead of the lots of small holes it has one tiny pin hole in the base..... and the coffee must pass through that.... and that produces the 9 bar pressure. The contents of the basket stew rather than get extracted.... and as the resultant liquid is squeezed through the pinhole it froths up and produces false crema... even from stale coffee which would normally produce none. As a result the taste suffers badly... and even fresh beans  which are ground just before brewing dont produce great coffee.

                        So why pressurised baskets.... and they are on just about all machines at the lower price points. Well bean freshness doesnt matter (supermarket preground works OK) grind size doesnt matter much (one size fits all) and tamp force doesnt matter much... and you get a liquid out which has lots of "crema"... looks and even tastes a bit like coffee.... and you can impress friends who dont understand what is happening and how good the coffee could be.

                        The Ikon is potentially a great machine- but is handicapped by the pressurised baskets. However you can buy normal baskets (Krups make some which fit) and then enjoy great tasting coffee.... but you will need to develop some technique to do it. (not hard to do)

                        Grinders come in various quality levels. The cheap ones produce coffee where the grind size varies (bits of different size at the same time).... no problem for a pressurised baskets.... but no good for a normal one. When beans age you need to grind a bit finer each day (to maintain the correct flow). This is a small adjustment... and the cheaper grinders - even the EM0480 - cant be adjusted fine enough. A general purpose grinder (because it is general purpose) will have large steps by definition.... and so wont have adequate adjustment.

                        So for an easy start the combo will work... and you will get OK coffee if you use the supplied baskets..... but it will never be really good, certainly not great - but it could be..... and the Ikon is capable of that (with normal baskets and a good grinder).

                        Hope that helps a bit.  If you have any other queries.... I and the other members here will be happy to help.
                        JavaB

                        Thanks very much. Your post is very informative and I have already learnt something without having bought an espresso machine yet. Just one question though, is 15Kg of Pressure equivalent to 9 Bar of pressure or 15 Bar of pressure? Can I also assume that the Sunbeam EM5600 only comes with pressurised basket? What I dont understand is that if normal baskets are required to make real good tasting coffee, why dont Breville or Sunbeam include it in all their espresso machines. How much $$ are we talking about to get a normal basket?

                        Stephen

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

                          Originally posted by sschen link=1180165483/0#11 date=1180366082

                          Just one question though, is 15Kg of Pressure equivalent to 9 Bar of pressure or 15 Bar of pressure? Can I also assume that the Sunbeam EM5600 only comes with pressurised basket? What I dont understand is that if normal baskets are required to make real good tasting coffee, why dont Breville or Sunbeam include it in all their espresso machines. How much $$ are we talking about to get a normal basket?

                          Stephen
                          Stephen,

                          9 bars of pressure refers to the force with which the water is trying to get through the coffee puck. 1 Bar is approximately atmospheric pressure so 9 Bars is nine times that.....Water from your mains is normally 5 Bar or less.... so you can get some idea of the pressure involved.

                          15 Kg is the force you apply to the coffee to compress it (when learning people often tamp on bathroom scales to measure the force applied.)

                          The two arent related other than for coffee grinds of the correct size a 15 Kg force applied to them will only allow water at 9 Bar to flow through at the correct rate 30ml in 30 seconds.

                          Yes, both machines come with pressurised baskets.... because many users (maybe even most) dont want to grind their own fresh coffee beans.... they just want to go to the supermarket and buy a vacuum packed "brick" of preground (stale) coffee. The results from normal baskets would be.... :P :P but because pressurised baskets are so forgiving - at least what you get out looks like and tastes a bit like coffee.... and even has "crema"!!

                          By the way, the Sunbeam 6910 now ships with both basket types (it initially only shipped with normal baskets as Sunbeam intended it to be used by people who wanted really good coffee....) but many purchasers wanted to use supermarket stuff.... so they added the pressurised baskets.

                          Replacement "normal" baskets are about $12 to $15.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

                            Hi sschen,

                            You should be able to get it around the $275 mark if you pay cash. And they should give you the grinder on the spot.

                            Regards,

                            k

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: What to buy - your opinion please!

                              Originally posted by ktime link=1180165483/0#13 date=1180369752
                              Hi sschen,

                               You should be able to get it around the $275 mark if you pay cash. And they should give you the grinder on the spot.

                              Regards,

                              k
                              ktime

                              The Perth Good Guys June catalogue has the combo for $279. This is the catalogue price and it says "Less For Cash" so $269 ($10 discount) is not out of the question. In fact, I randomly clicked on the Victoria Dandenong catalogue the first time I visited the Good Guys website and it is listed on the "Dandenong catalogue" at only $269 so I reckon $259 cash price is highly probable. In fact it looks like most Victorian stores has this combo at catalogue price of $269. I clicked on all the Perth metro catalogue and they are all listed at $279. Not sure why the Perth catalogue would be $10 dearer though, not that much difference to be of concern really.

                              I think I am pretty much set on this combo to start with. If the Breville grinder is not good enough, I can always sell it sooner rather than later. In mint condition, hopefully I can get a fair price for it and can get perhaps the Sunbeam EM0480 that a lot of forum members seems to recommend. Have you yourself use the grinder to grind coffee beans and what are the results like?

                              Stephen

                              Comment

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