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Sunbeam EM5600 Discussion thread

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  • Sunbeam EM5600 Discussion thread

    Hi, I have had the sunbeam em5600 with a sunbeam grinder em0480. Up until about 3 weeks ago the coffee has been perfect (making mostly lattes). But now whenever I add milk to the shot, it just tastes like hot milk. I have tried different beans both fresh and supermarket, played with grind settings etc. I recently got the seal replaced and it was descaled but still the problem persisted. I have looked everywhere for a solution but cannot find one to save me. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks very much for having a look for me.
    Last edited by Javaphile; 12 January 2013, 10:41 PM. Reason: New title after merge

  • #2
    Ok, I assume most people in this thread are junior snobs as we are playing with toys from the lower end of the market, like me with an EM5600 hence the need for Gregs services.
    I also have a 2nd hand EM6910 that needs some fine tuning internally before it becomes my daily user. It's programmed for precise 30ml shots.

    EM5600 will be relegated to "tours of duty", Tues nights in the mates shed and anybody else I visist who wants a real coffee.
    So I've got to get it right when I'm making it for others ........................

    I don't have a 51mm calibrated tamper so my elbow is one variable in the mix,
    but using the same glasses (marked for 30ml)
    weighed 14 grams of beans for dbl basket, single floor
    ground to #5 in my Rancilio Rocky
    timed at 28 seconds ...............................

    Well that was my first test run, a little less crema than what I am used to with the pressurized single basket, but a nice cup(s) anyway.

    I am interested in experiences of other 5600 owners, grams/grind/timed/ml etc

    Now I'm using Greg's dbl basket I have to drink 2 coffees at a time, bugger!


    • #3
      Originally posted by ghezzi View Post
      Got my de-restricted double basket (EM5600) from Greg today. Thanks mate!
      Single should be back in a week or two.

      Question. Anybody want to clue me up on how fine a grind I should be aiming for from my Rancilio Rocky, also just purchased.
      As with Joe's comment - you have to experiment with the grinds, but I also find humidity is a big issue. If the humidity is up, I have to use a finer grind.... lower humidity means I have to push the grinder up a couple of notches to get a coarser grind. (This was counter-intuitive to me... I assumed higher humidity would mean the coffee would clump more, so should go coarse)

      I also find it takes a day or so for the beans to acclimatize, so if you are taking beans from a well sealed container, they will have the characteristics of the humidity on the day they were sealed. This means you can get the grind right for beans in the morning....but when you put some stored beans in the grinder later that day, it changes.

      I should say I have a weather station base in the kitchen so I can see the changes in temperature and humidity in the kitchen, so have been able to track this.

      But the non pressurized does taste nice when you get it right.... get it wrong and it can be awful.... the burned taste you get in some cafes.


      • #4
        Above 2 posts moved from here:

        Java "In a consolidating mood" phile
        Toys! I must have new toys!!!


        • #5
          I've owned a; EM5600, EM2300, EM4800, a Breville 800ES and now have a EM6910 paired with a Breville SmartGrinder (domestic, "appliance maker" machines...), used to have the EM0480 grinder too. I have also played with a friends BES820 (800ES with a useless gauge and hot water wand).

          For the 51mm machines, I bought the Krups single wall, double shot basket from Pullman Tamper company with a sized tamper. I also purchased the single wall basket set from Breville for 51mm machines. I always found the Krups basket gave me the best results, the Breville baskets (single wall double shot only, I never used the single shot basket) were very hard to dial in with both the EM0480 and SmartGrinder.

          Of all the small 51mm machines, the single boiler EM2300 (which I still have) was a nice machine to learn and experiment on, the 5600 (sold) looked flash with it's LCD screen but was not really that different to the 4800 (still have but relegated to spare). The 4800 was my least liked, bloody awful actually but others think it's a good machine. The Breville 800ES was ok, just inconsistent which is apparently common and may be a thermal stability issue.

          The EM6910 has been the best I've used and despite being the biggest of the lot in terms of the portafilter (58mm) and better steam capacity than any of the aforementioned, has been the easiest to use with consistent results. Whether the consistency comes with practice and experience, I'd expect that to be a factor, but it has been a far easier machine to use. I don't bother with the shot volume buttons, I extract manually watching the extraction and stopping at around 25 to 30 seconds when I think the colour changes or if I think things are happening just a bit too quickly or slowly. My grinder controls dose but I find I have to adjust grind size based on the age of beans and the type used, all part of the fun.

          If you have a 6910, take if back to factory default settings and learn to use it with your grinder. I guess you know you can adjust extraction temperature, steam temperature and wetness/dryness of the steam.

          Having just come back from holiday in Adelaide where I bought and used both a 4800 and 6910 for my sister in law, all I can say is that they are chalk and cheese. I stopped using the 4800 after 2 days and bought her a barely used 6910 and 0480 grinder. Needless to say, everyone appreciated the improvement in the coffee over Xmas and New Year. I also have a 6910 in Tassie and the 2300, which I did fire up recently to check it and realized that it's quite feeble.

          Cochise, your problem may be related to the freshness of your beans, most will recommend fresh beans from a roaster ground directly into your portafilter. Also, are you using the single or double shot sized baskets, the double will obviously give you more taste when used as a base for milk drinks. I also expect you'd be using the standard baskets that came with your machine, the so called "crema enhancing", dual wall baskets. One thing you could try is grinding finer to slow down the pour, grind size is less critical with the dual wall baskets but this may help by slowing water flow through the coffee and extracting more flavour.

          If you decide to experiment further with single wall baskets, a decent grinder (the EM0480 is quite good in my experience), fresh beans etc, you should find your coffee will improve.

          All this takes time and there are many out there (and of course, within these forums) who know far more than I do. Play with your machine, experiment, read and most importantly, taste the results.


          • #6
            Thanks very much for your reply, i tinkered with the grind setting and had to go as low as a 4 to get good tasting latte's as opposed to normally grinding at a 7. At least it worked and i don't have to shell out for a new machine :P. Once again thanks for the help.


            • #7
              Haven't got my modified single shot basket back from Greg yet, but having enjoyable success with the modified dbl in the 5600.

              One of the biggest improvements was AMD added thread tape to the grind 'adjuster' under the bean bin on my Rocky, previously it was very rocky = inconsistent grind.
              AMD also played with my 6910, pulling very consistent shots once the grinder had been fixed.

              When I use the same grind settings, steam guage reads too high but pours too fast, may have to re-calibrate my tamping elbow. ???


              • #8
                I received a Sunbeam EM5600 espresso machine for Christmas. It is making a noise which is worrying me.From the get go it has made a soft click periodically (it keeps the machine warm for 25 hours after making a coffee, I think the click is a solenoid or something cycling the heating element, seems to be on for about 5 seconds every 8 minutes). I don't mind this too much (though I'd sooner it didn't bother, I'm not running a cafe, speed isn't that essential!). However a couple of weeks ago it started making a second clicking noise, much, much louder, and more and more frequently, now a few times between each of the quiet clicks, though this varies. The loud clicks are not associated with the heating going on or off, according to a small electricity meter, only the quiet ones are. The loud clicks are loud enough enough to hear when trying to get to sleep two rooms away, whereas the soft ones you only notice in a very quiet room or if you are right next to the machine.I'm just a bit concerned that this could be a serious problem in the making – does anyone else have a similar behaviour?


                • #9
                  I rang Sunbeam and described the problem, they said to return it for exchange. I did this on the weekend, and so far, about 8 cups of coffee made, and no untoward clicking noises. All good.


                  • #10
                    Just wondered if anyone reads this, maybe not, it is a low end machine.

                    I just bought an EM5600 for NZ$16.50.
                    I only wanted the P/F handle so I could cut the bottom out to make it naked/bottomless.
                    I have a single shot single walled Breville basket for my EM4800c that we have in our campervan.
                    Have to have one of these as it has no tricky electronics if I am running it on my modified sinewave generator!
                    Maybe I should get a better generator!

                    Anyway I am looking to duplicate the results I get from my EM6910, naked P/F and VST basket.
                    So far it has come along a bit but it is not there yet, the coffee is not as sweet in the EM4800 as it is from the EM6910.

                    Just looking to open up the discussion.



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by whowe View Post
                      For the 51mm machines, I bought the Krups single wall, double shot basket from Pullman Tamper company with a sized tamper. I also purchased the single wall basket set from Breville for 51mm machines. I always found the Krups basket gave me the best results, the Breville baskets (single wall double shot only, I never used the single shot basket) were very hard to dial in with both the EM0480 and SmartGrinder.
                      I am sure the 51mm Krups baskets are an improvement over the Breville single walled baskets (and Sunbeam baskets double walled baskets)
                      I have them all, just received my Krups single shot, single walled basket from Mark this morning.
                      Great improvement over the Breville basket, which itself is an improvement over the dual walled Sunbeam basket.
                      All done on an EM5600. In practice for using in my campervan on an EM4800c.


                      • #12
                        And to add to the above.
                        This morning I used the Naked P/F 51mm Krups Single walled basket.

                        Using the modified BCG450 grinder, with the EM5600, I managed a fine enough grind, on the max fine adjustment to get a pour that only started out as a few dark drips before becoming a single stream.
                        Basket was filled to about 1mm below the top of the basket.

                        The was slightly overextracted (I think) creating a slightly bitter taste.

                        After the pour there was not water on the top of the basket and the puck was firm, a little stayed stuck on the bottom of the basket.
                        I am now sure I do not need another grinder.

                        To get the grinder to go fine enough both plastic stops have been taken off so the align mark come around to line up with the line in the "front window".
                        I have also used carboard washers between the top burr and the bottom of the hopper.

                        Now I will go looking for a good fibre washer to replace my cardboard washers.


                        • #13
                          Hi, I have had an EM5600 forever. It has just stopped working after years of brilliant service, 2 to 6 coffees most days; having never replaced a seal or cleaned it other than keeping the milk frother steam nozzle clean and wiping the group filter.

                          The problem seems to be with the pump; it's building up pressure and indicating "Ready" on both functions (milk frothing and coffee) but only releases the (steam/hot water?) by gravity. It is certainly still heating okay. The machine is too old to justify spending much on it, and was wondering if I can have a go at fixing it. I have a set of torx and Phillips head screwdrivers, and a small pressure pump with fine nozzles if that is likely to be the problem.


                          • #14
                            Hmm, just wondering if the thermobloc is "blocked". Maybe not. The ones I mentioned above stopped working. I never spend any money on them.
                            Could well be the pump, but you can probably get a new "used" machine for very little cost now.

                            Did you ever run a solution of white vinegar and water through it.
                            If the pump is working, or trying to it could be the blockage I was mentioning.
                            Could be worth a try, but if it is too blocked the solution might not get to where it needs to to do the job.