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Help, with coffee machines - em6910 800es

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  • Help, with coffee machines - em6910 800es

    Hey, I have been reading this forum for a bit now, and most searches in google lead here so I decided to join. I have used my Breville BES250 for a couple of years now, but lately have been wanting better coffee. After house sitting for a family member I used their 800es and liked that machine. Then shortly after used an em6910 and loved that machine.

    Not being a major priority I decided to just sit on ebay for a bit. I bid on a couple of things. 1 being a Breville 800es which I won for $180, brand new in box. Also simultaniously getting a Sunbeam EM6910, used without accessories. I found another used but faulty em6910 on gumtree which I bought for the accessories. After cleaning up all the accessories for that I thought Id have a look at the machine. It was so full of build up it was virtually blocked in all holes from it. I completely pulled it appart, clearing most areas and running a couple of tanks worth of decscaler through it, I got it all up and running again. Though the brew head still looked pretty funky even after flushing it thoroughly with descaler.

    In the mean time the other one I won on ebay came, I gave it a good clean, decaled and polished the stainless steal, it was in better knick than the other one, but still was a bit dirty. The issue Im having is I cant get a decent pull from the em6910. The espresso always comes out bitter with no crema, but the presure gauge barely rises. The shots I get from my BES250 are much better tasting. I use a EM440 grinder which, in my opinion isnt very good. adjusting the colar on it barely changes the grind. But for my BES250, it was fine, and when I ground a bunch of beans on it for the place I was house sitting, i was getting a good pull from the 800ES.

    Basically I have a stack of coffee machines now, and wondering what to do, I really liked the EM6910 that I used for the first time. Is it possible the 2nd hand machine I have can be spoiling the espresso, even after a thorough cleaning? The group seal on it looks virtually brand new, and I decsaled it to the point where the descaler was coming out clear.

    I use Zaraffas beans which I know arent the freshest of beans, but as I said, I haven't really been disapointed with them on the BES250 and 800Es. As for the brand new 800ES I won, im thinking about just keeping that and selling the rest, what do you think?

  • #2
    I think I have information overload... I'll buy some paragraphs!


    • #3
      There you go, basically paragraph 3 and 4 is the main bit lol


      • #4
        No pressure = grind or dose. I suspect the grinder. Personally. My eldest daughter has a 6910 which pulls a competent shot, so I must be the grind or dose.

        My $0.02.

        But I have to say: wow!



        • #5
          I have a 6910 and an EM0480 grinder as well as a backup EM0450 grinder. I had a bit of a saga getting the grinder to work - you can read about it at

          I had similar issues with lousy coffee even after cleaning the 6910. No matter how I dosed, levelled and tamped, got crap. What I found was the previous owner had 'burred' the little stud and the burrs weren't sitting down properly.

          You could also look into shimming the grinder - basically placing a very thin washer under the bottom burr. There's a guy on ebay who sells 6910 group head seal for about $21 and he has the shims for $1 each.


          • #6
            1. is the BES250/800 using a pressurised basket?
            2. what does the grind on the EM440 look like? you may be able to get away without shimming by installing the burr carrier backwards...

            (basically, do you have a sample of espresso grind, for a non-pressurised machine, that you can compare to?)

            the EM440 can be made to grind properly for espresso, but is not perfect (for various issues primarily around being made to a price).


            • #7
              1. is the BES250/800 using a pressurised basket?

              Yeah, its just a domestic double floor basket

              2. what does the grind on the EM440 look like? you may be able to get away without shimming by installing the burr carrier backwards...
              I would say on the finest setting, 1 (out of 1-25) it still looks quite coarse, not quite as coarse as salt. But not much finer. The manul claims for that setting it should be more like a flour consistancy but its far from that. I can't find alot on the EM440 from peoples experience or shimming it. ( the top burr is attached to the hopper on this model and is not a removeable piece like others.

              I am going to have to check out the grinds of the person who has the EM6910 that I first used to compare. The EM6910 also has double floor baskets which the manual only recomends using with preground coffee, but maybe i should give that a go too.


              • #8
                don't give that a go, get a grinder that can grind for espresso!


                • #9
                  Yeah true, its pretty weak that sunbeam sell these conical burrs grinders for espresso machines, when they wont even grind properly for their own espresso machines. Does anyone have the EM440? has anyone shimmed it either, is it the same as the other sunbeam models for modding? The only thing I could really find was here


                  • #10
                    This is the grinds I get on the EM440 at the finest grind setting:

                    Do you think that is still too coarse?


                    • #11
                      Looks much too coarse to me. I also have a 6910 paired with a Breville BCG800 (Smartgrinder). Over Xmas, when in Adelaide, I bought my sister in law a 6910 paired with an EM0480 (on Gumtree for $230 for both). Using the single wall, double shot baskets, I can get good shots with both grinders with the 6910, 60ml in about 28-30 seconds.

                      Prior to the 6910, I also had an 800ES and used the single wall double shot Krups basket. The shots with with machine varied quite a bit which I put down to poor temperature stability.

                      The double wall basket you've been using with your first Breville will slow down your pour and give you a "fake" crema, especially when using less than fresh beans.

                      The 6910 is a good consumer level machine but needs to be paired with a good grinder. If your pour has no crema and the pressure gauge barely moves (assuming it works....), and as summing your dose and tamp are consistent, then the issue looks as if your grind is not right.

                      As an experiment try using the dual wall double shot basket that should have come with the Sunbeam. It should slow down your pour greatly, just don't tamp too hard with this basket as you may choke the machine. The dual wall baskets are much less sensitive to grind and tamping pressure. Your pressure gauge should also shift a bit further.


                      • #12
                        Ok, I have decided to keep the 6910 and sell the 800ES. The dual floor basket creates a better shot, so its definitely the coarse grind. I rang up Sunbeam and asked about the shim kit as I have read about others ringing them and getting them sent out from Sunbeam. The woman I spoke to was quite rude. She didnt know what the shim was and basically told me the 440 was not a very good grinder for the 6910 and that I should have bought the 480. I definately wont be buying another Sunbeam grinder.


                        • #13
                          I think the burr set in the 0440 is the same as the 0480 so hopefully easily shimmable. If you enter the following in your preferred search engine "shim kit em0480", a link to a guide will pop up on That Auction Site. The guide is for the 0480 but should be applicable for the 0440. The author also sells parts.

                          Anyway, for what they are and their pricepoint, the Sunbeam grinders are ok.

                          Have you pulled apart your grinder and given it a good clean?

                          If someone knows better please correct me.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by whowe View Post
                            I think the burr set in the 0440 is the same as the 0480 so hopefully easily shimmable. If you enter the following in your preferred search engine "shim kit em0480", a link to a guide will pop up on That Auction Site. The guide is for the 0480 but should be applicable for the 0440. The author also sells parts.
                            Ordered some shims on ebay. Got them today. The 0440 came with 2, so I've added another 2 to it, im getting decent grinds around 8-10 now and now pulling decent shots from the 6910s single floor baskets.

                            Gave the grinder a good clean out as I removed the screws and pulled the housing around the burrs off. There is a micro switch the detects the hopper is in place which is a pain to get back in the right spot when reassembling as it is loose and only the wires holding it, so if anyone else tries it with the 0440, have plenty of patience. I still need to do some more test grinds to get the perfect pour, but will pick up some fresh beans tomorrow. Im glad I've gone with the 6910 though.


                            • #15
                              Great news regarding the shimming of your 0440 and improvement in the espresso. Once you start using fresh beans you may need to dial the grinder back a bit. Make sure you keep your dose and tamping pressure the same.

                              Many here will tell you you'll get the biggest improvement in your espresso by spending $$ on a very good grinder. If you're happy with your combo now that it's working as you'd expect, play around with different beans from different roasters to develop your palate; different blends, single origin, light, medium and dark roasts. This is all part of the fun.

                              I like my 6910, it's the best machine I've had so far but I do admire the BES900 or some of the Italian heat exchange or double boiler machines.

                              Many people have 6910's, some love them, a few hate them for various reasons (some have proven to be less than reliable). With this machine, with it's limited programming options and dual thermoblocks, it's a great machine to learn on and you can knock out a lot of milk based drinks in a short time which can be handy when entertaining a group of friends.

                              When learning, it's probably prudent to buy more beans than usual to dial your grinder in. A couple of 30ml shot glasses can also be handy for dialling in your machine.