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Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

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  • Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

    If you had read my intro post, you might recall I am coffee snobbin in cahoots with my mother and after learning how to pull good shots and froth milk well at the demo we were so lucky to have,... we played some more with her Sunbeam Cafe Crema(I think it is) and are now able to get a shot with good crema and froth milk to a thick shiny top appearance. My mother made the best ever coffee she had ever had from it the other night and is so thrilled. She has had her CM for years and never seen crema before this. Amazing what a bit of education can do.

    After seeing these results with her CM, I was more than happy to go out yesterday and purchase the Sunbeam 6910 which I have had my eye for weeks, but not completely sold on it until I had researched/played more.

    I got a red one. It was $50 cheaper than the silver and also came with a bonus matching kettle with red base(valued at $119) so I was happy since I wanted the red CM anyway.

    Now here is my first experience with my new equipment:
    Unpacked the kettle.... and found that the metal Sunbeam Cafe Series badge on the base was upside-down :,..yes you read that right. Since I got the last package in the store, will have to wait for a new base to be ordered.

    Then did the right thing and read the CM manual from cover to cover before following the using for the first time instructions. After cleaning the water tank and filling, I was attempting to do as it said and flush the system with fresh water by putting the PF on and touching the manual button to allow several lots of 240ml to run through. The CM made that loud sound it does at first during normal operation,..only it was continuous and no water would come out. I tried about 15+ times,. checking everything but..still no water fromt he group head. Water came from the two wands fine however. One hour passed and finally I see a few drops of water,.. with each push of the manual button after that.. a little more water until about 260ml came out with each press. It this normal?? Did anyone else find it hard to get water from the group head with first use?

    Ok,..relieved to finally see water I had two attempts to make coffee for hubby and I (using up the rest of the coffee that Id been using for my stove-top ...big mistake right there) and of course both times (Im a slow learner,lol) the shots came out with no crema, smelled foul and tasted putrid so the sink got them. I have green and roasted beans on the way from Beanbay (no grinder yet, but very soon) so I need to dash out this morning to buy some finer ground coffee so that I can have a play using more suitably ground coffee for the CM.

    Not wanting to waste any learning time just because I had no coffee,.. I thought some milk frothing practice(and hot chocolates all round) would be fun. The first few attempts were pretty pathetic but the last attempt (and my hot choc because everyone else had one,lol) was awesome. I managed to get a thick micro-froth with a shiny surface.. I was so pleased with myself that I wore an exagerated milk mustache proudly to prove it to hubby and the kids.

    Neeed coffeeeee...

    Cheers,
    Remy

  • #2
    Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

    Hi Remy,

    I think youre well on your way to making good coffees.

    With the 6910, the first time ever that it is primed, most people have found it difficult. Now that youve done it, you shouldnt have this problem again.

    Re the coffee grind, the porta filter needs to be packed fairly full and youll know if youve not filled it sufficiently if you cant see an imprint of the shower screen on the puck.

    Did you buy a grinder as well?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

      Originally posted by tempestv8 link=1200268076/0#1 date=1200283248
      Hi Remy,

      I think youre well on your way to making good coffees.

      With the 6910, the first time ever that it is primed, most people have found it difficult.  Now that youve done it, you shouldnt have this problem again.

      Re the coffee grind, the porta filter needs to be packed fairly full and youll know if youve not filled it sufficiently if you cant see an imprint of the shower screen on the puck.

      Did you buy a grinder as well?
      Hi tempestv8, and thanks, it eases my mind knowing that this hard start first time has been experienced by others.

      Re the coffee grind.. this morning I went out and picked up some more coffee, ground to suit the 6910 and got drinkable shots after the initial double shot that was under-extracted and so went down the sink. I obviously hadnt perfected the tamping as the pressure gauge showed low pressure and the extraction was very quick.  Next double shot was good,..right in the perfect zone on the pressure gauge and drippy like honey. Crema looked good intially but disolved quickly . Next came a single shot (Im bouncing off the walls now) and again in the perfect zone on the pressure gauge so at least I know how hard I have to tamp..OMG I hope I never have to make more than 4 coffees in one session,  ..my poor little girly wrist. Oh yeah and I pulled the plastic thingy out of the handle before the last shot. Next time I will do a level check too, to make sure I can see a slight imprint of the shower screen (thanks for that tip).

      Now,.. while my shots are getting better,.. my frothing went to the dogs. Must have been a fluke last night because for the life of me, I could not repeat that micro-froth, despite doing what I thought was the same way I did it last night.  Today, I barely got any froth never mind micro and boiled the cwap outta it the last time just trying to stretch it.   guess I mustnt have been holding my tongue right or something.

      I havent bought a grinder yet, was hoping to pick one up this morning, but no luck *snif* . Im going to get an EMO480,.. just need to find where I can get one for a good price.

      Cheers,
      Remy




      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

        You need to get the air into the milk as soon as possible.
        Which should be easy with the 6910.
        Once youve stretched it enough then you put the wand deeper intom the milk to finish heating it.
        Make sure you keep it whirlpooling.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

          Originally posted by Thundergod link=1200268076/0#3 date=1200300026
          You need to get the air into the milk as soon as possible.
          Which should be easy with the 6910.
          Once youve stretched it enough then you put the wand deeper intom the milk to finish heating it.
          Make sure you keep it whirlpooling.
          Thanks Thunder, I was surfin the tip just under the surface like I have read and getting a whirpool ok, but for whatever reason,.. Im not getting it to work like it did last night and it starts to boil (I know,..not meant to get that hot) with still barely any froth.

          Im about to make four coffees for the family so will see how I go this time.

          EDITED TO ADD: just pulled a great double shot,  but my 15yr old daughter (who has been working in a local coffee shop for the past 8months made a beautiful micro-froth for me. Interesting to watch her technique (big bubbles at the beginning but as she worked the jug, the milk stretched, the big bubbles disappeared and micro-froth was achieved all while the milk was still fairly cool). I fact,.. the cup of coffee was a little too cool but looked awesome and tasted awesome.  She used the steam knob at about half way which surprised me, especially after just reading a few moments ago that the steam knob on the 6910 should be used at max. Soooh,..looks to me like since I have a problem with it heating too fast for me,.. I could perhaps put it at half until I have stretched the milk then whack it up to max to finish heating,...I think that could work.... cant wait till I need another coffee... Im dying to try this.

          Cheers,
          Remy

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

            remy welcome!
            yep hard to purge the old beast intially and sometimes its actually a air bubble in the anti-calc filter assembly (bottom of water tank). I needed to take mine out and purge the tank manually into the sink, then plug it back in and wolla!

            anyways.... wouldnt worry about crema until you have 1)grinder 2)fresh beans 3)dosing correct as mentioned by thunder 4)tamp correct to match the grind and extraction time

            guage on front of machine: dont worry about it too much, but yes your shots should be in the black zone or higher

            steaming milk - relax youve only just started with this machine! its not the easiest steamer to start with but it can be good. myabe start with a 300ml pitcher? as mentioned above- get whirpool just under surface- chu chu chu break surface just until no more than 40 deg - then tip back under maintain whirpool till 60 deg. then steam off and swirl pitcher in hand and lightly tap any bubbles out.... you need a temp as a guide to start with..

            hope this all helps. many of us have had these machines for 1 year +.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

              Great tips thanks Gaggiaboy. I hope you dont mind if I ask a few more questions.

              I should receive my beans (green starter pack and some Zambia AA Lupili Estate) from Beanbay tomorrow, whoot! but I might not be able to get a EMO480 grinder for a few days yet . and I havent had a chance to find out yet...How do I store my beans to keep them as fresh as possible?

              About tamping;.. I noticed the tamper that comes with the machine does not meet the edges of the basket (not sure whether its even supposed to) but after tamping, there is a nice flat and even surface,.. however there is also a little wall 2-3mm thick of un-tamped grinds around the edge,..obviously where the tamper is not reaching. My guess is,.. some of the water would go straight for the loose un-tamped grounds and seep through under extracted,.possibly adding a little sour liquid to the shot??? Maybe it makes no difference??Can you recommend a better tamper for this machine if i need one.

              Re frothing;.. Ah..I have not been doing chu chu chu breaking the surface,..been staying still, just under the surface and to the edge of the jug to create a whirlpool. Cant wait for my morning coffee to give this method a try. I also just said to my daughter tonight that I should get a temp gauge for frothing and use it as a guide until we have it down pat.

              Cheers,
              Remy

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

                Hi Remy, congrats on the purchase and welcome to CS. Before I answer some of your questions Id like to ask a few. Have you enrolled in the SB freebie course? Where are you located? There are many lovely snobs who I’m sure would be happy to give you a demo if they are nearby . Is your heart set on an EM0480 or can you stretch the budget a tad further?

                The best way to store brown beans is in a valved bag. These are available in the beanbay other stuff section & from several sponsors.
                The tamper that comes with the machine is crap but a bit better than comes with many other machines (plastic things). I would suggest a Pullman tamper because the difference is just amazing. A temp solution is to lightly tap the side of the portafilter which will knock those loose grounds off...
                This money however IMO should be spent on the grinder (which is the most important) and look at one a little later after youve saved up a bit more money. If money isnt a prob though then grab one now too

                Since you are using pre-ground ATM the only way you can slow the pour down if the grind is too coarse is to pile more coffee into the basket and/or tamp harder. This obviously isnt the best way but it will help out in the short term.

                I hope this helps and I’m sure many snobs will be able to offer further/better advice as the day progresses.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

                  Ditto NE1; definitely look after the grinder first. The Sunbeams tamper is hardly a masterpiece but its better than most (believe it or not) and no matter what tamper you have youll always struggle to get consistency if the coffee has lost most of its volatiles before you use it (as happens with pre-ground) and if youre relying on other people to grind coffee for you. Once youve got the fundamentals in place (machine, grinder, fresh beans and technique -> training course), you can start looking at other ways to improve things, such as a new tamper.

                  Greg

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

                    Originally posted by NE14COFFEE link=1200268076/0#7 date=1200350116
                    Hi Remy, congrats on the purchase and welcome to CS. Before I answer some of your questions Id like to ask a few. Have you enrolled in the SB freebie course? Where are you located? There are many lovely snobs who I’m sure would be happy to give you a demo if they are nearby .
                    Hi, NE14COFFEE, and thanks. Ooh an SB freebie course hey??!! um no I havent enrolled yet.. what is it?,lol you have me entrigued. Oh wait a minute.. I just got it..SB = Sunbeam right?  I live in Canberra. How do I find info about this course?

                    Originally posted by NE14COFFEE link=1200268076/0#7 date=1200350116
                    Is your heart set on an EM0480 or can you stretch the budget a tad further?
                    I kinda have to tred softly softly, at least until hubby is begging me for coffees  . Hes not into coffee yet (but Im subtly working on him), but until I have him hooked, I need to keep spending down a bit  :. I was thinking Im pushing it getting the EMO480 cos at this point in time,.. hubby would not really understand or appreciate the need for spending that much money to grind beans,lol.... he needs to be educated in the area of quality coffee but this may take some time especially since his interest in this little bean has not even piqued yet.

                    Originally posted by NE14COFFEE link=1200268076/0#7 date=1200350116
                    The best way to store brown beans is in a valved bag. These are available in the beanbay other stuff section & from several sponsors.
                    oh shoot.. I shouldda got some with my Beanbay order (arrived just a few minutes ago actually)

                    Originally posted by NE14COFFEE link=1200268076/0#7 date=1200350116
                    The tamper that comes with the machine is crap but a bit better than comes with many other machines (plastic things). I would suggest a Pullman tamper because the difference is just amazing. A temp solution is to lightly tap the side of the portafilter which will knock those loose grounds off...
                    This money however IMO should be spent on the grinder (which is the most important) and look at one a little later after youve saved up a bit more money. If money isnt a prob though then grab one now too Since you are using pre-ground ATM the only way you can slow the pour down if the grind is too coarse is to pile more coffee into the basket and/or tamp harder. This obviously isnt the best way but it will help out in the short term. I hope this helps and I’m sure many snobs will be able to offer further/better advice as the day progresses.
                    I found a post last night after I posted this, which described the exact same problem with the wall of untamped coffee around the edge. It was nice that it confirmed my suspicions about the quality of extraction,..so for the coffees I made this morning,..I filled basket half way and tamped, topped up to brim and tamp tamp tamp catching all the edges,..twas fiddly but the shot was pretty good, the longest extraction so far (in fact I was shocked it took that long since I was used to it a lot faster,..wish I had timed it) and probably the best crema so far. Aaaaaaaaaand thanks to Gaggiaboy,.. I tried the chu chu chu to start and a rolling wave to finish and my frothing was waaay better.



                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

                      Thanks Greg,  ok.....I went out to buy an EMO480 this morning and the store is all out, they said it will likely be a few weeks to get them again,.. so I came home empty handed and have given the grinder thing more thought.  Maybe I will stretttttch the budget a little more and get say a Rocky perhaps?? Off to research what I could get in the $400-$450 range...ack! I cant believe Im even considering spending that much on a grinder,...suddenly feeling a wave of nausea come over me and getting a little light headed. *^&%$#$*>~~......*thud*

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

                        Just be thankful you havent opted for a Mazzer Major. By the sounds of it, such a decision would land you in the hospital emergency ward.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

                          Remy,
                          on the note of grinders, maybe check out the GRINDERS section, in particular the Info/review section. Maybe something like the Iberital Challenge, Nemox or Ascaso I3 mini is a better compromise. All about the $300 mark and all good starter grinders, and all sold by site sponsors!

                          yeeza

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

                            The Sunbeam EM0408 grinder is good value for money in that price bracket. Its solidly built and does a good job.

                            I just wish that Sunbeam will run the Buy an EM6910 get a FREE EM0408 grinder again. Anyone know if SB are planning such a promo again?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Just bought a 6910 and my first play disaster.

                              Remy,

                              If you can get past the 0480 then definitely do it. From other threads here it sounds like their build quality isnt the best so you may have to revisit the Honey I need a grinder topic in a few years. If you can get up to the Rocky or the Compak K3 Touch then definitely do it, otherwise any of the ones Yeeza mentioned would be good and definitely all better than the 0480. Might look fancy schmancy having machine and matching grinder, but it dont look so good when the grinder breaks!

                              Greg

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