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Having trouble deciding!

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  • Having trouble deciding!

    Hey guys!

    Long time reader, first time poster and member.
    Ive caught the coffee bug, and am currently in the process of deciding on which machine to buy. At the moment I have a nespresso pod system, which I didnt realise were so passionately detested in coffee circles until I did a bit if research! Not particularly concerned, as I had always felt that the taste just wasnt quite right.

    As my 21st looms, Ive narrowed my decision down to one of three machines. The LeLit Combi, the Sunbeam EM6910 (&EM0480) and the Breville Fresca. My uneducated perspective sees positives and negatives in each machine, so just to give you an idea on the research Ive done over the past couple of weeks, Ill bullet-point it (everything is easier to read in bullet points. Plus it makes you feel like youre getting to the point faster!!):

    LeLit Combi Pros:
    - Italian made
    - Reliable
    - Known to last a long time and produce what is typically above standard coffee for many years
    - Built-in Burr Grinder

    - No auto function

    Sunbeam EM6910 Pros:
    - Auto and Manual function
    - Looks good
    - Separate steam and hot water wands
    - Plenty of information on the web about it.....

    - ......Unfortunately that information is generally about fixing its problems! Not the most reliable machine of all time
    - Twin Thermoblock System shows more thermal instability as compared to other italian made competitors
    - Separate grinder (not really an issue)

    Breville Fresca Pros:
    - Looks good
    - Built in burr grinder
    - Auto and Manual function

    - As it is a relatively new product, there isnt a lot of information in regards to the longevity of the product. I dont know whether its going to last me a month or a decade
    - Steam switch is either on or off, theres no rotary knob or anything, Really weird.
    - No hot water wand. Steam wand doesnt output hot water, need to get it form the grouphead.

    Now that youve read through that essay, I was hoping the professionals could give me some advice on picking which machine is best suited to my needs of 4-5 coffees per day. If I go out I have a flat white with one, and thats about the extent of my knowledge, so the past couple of weeks have quite enlightening and eye opening to say the least. Ive learned a lot and have no doubt about learning more and more, but I need to start somewhere.

    Please help?!

    Thanks heaps in advance to anyone that gets this far

  • #2
    Re: Having trouble deciding!

    Originally posted by 3D252077764F0 link=1267560549/0#0 date=1267560549
    I was hoping the professionals could give me some advice on picking which machine is best suited to my needs of 4-5 coffees per day
    Welcome Regan

    Youre seeking professional advice to buy non-professional equipment? I have not owned any of the equipment you specify but my guess is that any of them are able to make a much better coffee than your old Nespresso.

    You havent listed budget but, given your choices, I would say it is sub-$1000. Of the choices listed, I would guess the Lelit is the best choice on reliability + value-for-money. You will at least have a better chance of seeing it demoed by someone who knows how to prepare coffee. Most Sunbeams and Brevilles I have seen in appliance stores sit on shelves.

    You havent listed how many coffees you would like to make at a time? The Sunbeam has the ability to steam at the same time as the shot is poured. cutting down prep time.
    Im not a professsional but my advice would be to put several hundred towards a good grinder; say, a Compak K3 (about $600); and put the rest towards something like a Breville Ikon. The grinder and good quality, fresh beans will make the biggest difference to your coffee enjoyment.


    • #3
      Re: Having trouble deciding!

      Hi rjo and welcome to the forum.  Good to see youve done lots of reading before asking for advice.

      I own both a EM6910 and a Quaha Napoletana II (clone of the Lelit).  Incidently theyre both sitting idle at the moment, I really dont need 4 coffee machines!

      Personally I wouldnt be too concerned about a hot water tap.  The one on the Sunbeam is fairly useless and I never really used it.  I also wouldnt be too concerned about auto volume function, another feature I never used.  I always watch my extraction and cut the water when the shot begins to blonde, rather than aim for a particular volume.

      In terms of shot quality the Sunbeam is as good or slightly better than the Combi in my hands. The Combi is capable of producing excellent coffee and leagues above what youre currently used to.

      As flynn points out the Sunbean has a big advantage in steam capability.  The Lelit, as with pretty much all single boiler/dual purpose machines can only steam enough milk for 2 standard coffees at a time.  You then have to manually refill the boiler and wait for that water to heat up.

      I would still recommend both of these machines with the following provisos:

      1. If youre someone who doesnt want to mess around a lot with manual functions such as refilling the boiler and having to wait to make >2 milk based coffees then go for the 6910.  BUT make sure you get yourself an extended warranty, making sure all parts are covered (apart from group gasket and other consumables).  Also note that if (when) it does break down you may have to be prepared for a long wait for repairs. At least thats my experience with the Adelaide Sunbeam service centre.

      2. If youre only making 1-2 coffees most of the time and enjoy the ritual of making coffee then go for the Lelit.  The machine under its various names has been around a long time and has a simple, reliable design.  You also get a pretty decent grinder in the package.

      Lastly, the most important factor is not which of these 3 machines you buy. Its buying good quality freshly roasted beans and grinding these on demand; that is what will make the biggest improvement in your coffee.


      • #4
        Re: Having trouble deciding!

        Originally posted by 2F25302727283C3A490 link=1267560549/1#1 date=1267566352
        Youre seeking professional advice to buy non-professional equipment?

        Originally posted by 2322283B25203A490 link=1267560549/2#2 date=1267570939
        I would still recommend both of these machines with the following provisos:
        I fully support ALL the comments made by both the previous posters.

        However I would add a couple of extras..

        A: If not the EM6910; then try hard to get your choice from a sponsor.. After sales support is the issue over a few $ extra saved at the beginning.

        B: Regardless of which machine.. User Maintenance / Training is a must...

        And I will say it again..

        User maintenance and dont abuse the machine and or make assumptions..

        They all perform slightly differently but all require ongoing TLC. If ya mistreat any of the equipment you purchase... It will come back to bite you.


        • #5
          Re: Having trouble deciding!

          I also agree with the above posts

          Especially about user maintenance and cleaning schedule



          • #6
            Re: Having trouble deciding!

            Originally posted by 153A33312619353A35333139313A20540 link=1267560549/3#3 date=1267571408
            User maintenance and dont abuse the machine and or make assumptions..

            They all perform slightly differently but all require ongoing TLC.  If ya mistreat any of the equipment you purchase... It will come back to bite you.
            This is very important - but in the case of the Sunbeam, it will still die quickly regardless of how well looked after.

            I have just upgraded from a 6910 to a VBM domobar junior - so I can only comment regarding the 6910.

            Firstly it is capable of making great coffee (Better than 90% of cafes out there - although that isnt very difficult to achieve!).

            Second it is actually quite thermostable - mine didnt jump around in temp very much.

            Separate grinder is actually a pro not a con.

            The em0480 is adequate - although there are good ones and bad ones out there. Ive had two. My first couldnt grind anything but Turkish - despite numerous washer fixes that didnt help. Returned under warranty and my second one is still going strong - grinds quite consistent coffee for its size. Although as you know a good grinder is absolutely essential.

            Now despite loving (and caring for) my 6910 it died after 2 years. The two main problems they have is the collar goes (approx $150) or the PCB goes (approx $200). I used to make between 2-4 coffees per day. My friend has one which is three years old and going strong. But he only makes coffee on weekends.
            This is just it. The Sunbeam is an appliance which has a useby date and not really built to cope with many coffees per day. Sure it can be fixed but the fixes cost too much given the $700 purchase price, so eventually like me you wont want to spend hundreds of dollars fixing a possible lost cause.

            Now thats not to say an expensive heat exchange machine wont have any problems.  They will also require parts changed over the years and servicing - but youre buying a piece of genuine machinery so properly looked after should last many years.

            I dont regret buying my Sunbeam and I didnt expect it to last more than 3 years, however in hindsight its an expensive purchase and it shouldve lasted longer. I might still get it fixed to have as a backup, but at present Im trying to master my new beast!!!!!


            • #7
              Re: Having trouble deciding!

              Thanks heaps for your replies guys. I have every intention of going to a proper coffee course and discovering the proper techniques on not only making espresso, but more importantly how to look after my own machine. I was originally looking at the EM6910 but then read about how many problems they have, but figured that if it was looked after and serviced regularly, it should last longer. Maybe thats wishful thinking.
              But its good to know that the main difference between the lot isnt actually the machine, more so the beans. Guess after the machine arrives I need to find a good bean supplier!!

              After these posts Im tending towards the EM6910. Ill have to make sure that I sign up for the extended warranty. Sounds like the smartest and, long term, financially suitable thing to do!! Are there any grinders that you would strongly recommend above others for an immense beginner? Price range around $300-$400.

              Thanks again guys, your feedback is much appreciated.