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Hi all, I am a newb needing suggestions and new machine, under $650?

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  • Hi all, I am a newb needing suggestions and new machine, under $650?

    Hi all,

    I have the first Sunbeam cafe series (still) but it is dying a slow death, so I am looking to buy a new one ASAP. I was able to pull some decent shots with this machine but no longer. I have been considering a Sylvia or a GC. I drink piccolos and macchiatos and do not want to wait too long in the morning to consistently pull a great shot while still half asleep, I have the machine on a timer to help in that area. (I use the Sunbeam EM 0480 grinder.) While I do not mind a bit of a learning curve in pursuit of pulling consistent and excellent shots, I have very early starts and I am not a morning person
    I am open to any suggestions (please bear in mind I am a newb), reliability is important but somewhat secondary to ease of use.

    Sorry, should have posted this under mid range equipment, oops.

    Thanks for any input.
    Last edited by Borgling; 6 May 2013, 09:09 AM.

  • #2
    All good, bought a Silvia.


    • #3
      didnt wait long. M


      • #4
        No, I was ready to buy so I spent the day researching as I needed it for Mother's Day but now wondering about PID or a boiler temperature gauge.


        • #5
          Good choice... I'd imagine if you had've waited for responses, they would've been dominated by recommendations of the Silvia in that price-point (perhaps following the standard "what grinder do you have?").

          I've recently got a Silvia, and put a temp read-out on it. I'd say for the money it cost, and the simplicity of the install, it was worth the cost. Takes some of that guess work and learning curve out of figuring out it's cycling temperature. I'm finding it a little more fussy than my old Breville Ikon (single boiler), but it is clearly capable of noticeably better results when you do get it right (grind/dose/tamp).

          Also, having upgraded from the Sunbeam grinder to the Breville Smart grinder, and still having the Sunbeam at work (now paired with the Ikon for my workplace coffee fix), I can certainly recommend keeping an eye out for specials on the Breville. It really shows the Sunbeam up for grind consistency, and is a heck of a lot neater to use... the Sunbeam is terrible when it comes to grind retention (and spitting a fair % of grinds all over the bench, rather than into the basket!).

          Good luck, I'm sure you'll enjoy!


          • #6
            Damien, care to share what you used and how you did your temp readout?


            • #7
              Originally posted by mentasm View Post
              Damien, care to share what you used and how you did your temp readout?
              I took the lazy option. Head over to that very well know online auction site, and search for "boiler temperature gauge" - you may need to do an advanced search an search ended items as the seller doesn't have any listed currently.

              $19.95 delivered (next day from memory), and a two minute install without any technical nous required. It's simply a small digital temp readout, with a thermocouple wire that simply gets tapped onto the outside of the boiler.

              Downside is that the readout used maxes out at 110 degrees. Covers the brew cycle, but just shows "Hi" when it's heated for steam. I'd imagine there would be a lag between water temp, and the temp of the outer casing of the boiler (which is what you're getting an indication of), but I've found it helpful in seeing what the machine is doing, and improving consistency in my routine.

              Pm me if you want more specific item/seller info.



              • #8
                ok, thats what I was wondering. I've not seen any of those style digital gauges that go above 110.

                So how exactly did you attach the thermo couple to the boiler?

                I ubnderstand that it's not going to give you the actual water temp at the group head, but it does give you a reference point in the heating routine of the machine.


                • #9
                  Thanks for all the suggestions! Have paid my $19.95 and await the temperature boiler gauge.
                  I will see how the budget goes in terms of a grinder..... Saw Thor grinder will have to wait


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mentasm View Post
                    So how exactly did you attach the thermo couple to the boiler?
                    Just with a small piece of decent electrical tape that came with the item - taped onto the top of the boiler.


                    • #11
                      If you check the Auction site, you will find those temp displays + Tc's for $2.00 (with free postage !).
                      but a little more looking and $5 will get you the "meat thermometer" that goes up to 300C !
                      ..but you will probably have to find your own piece of sticky tape !


                      • #12
                        Just be aware that if the screws you remove to fit the temp display show any signs of having been tampered with, it may jeopardise your warranty if the retailer can see the machine has been opened.


                        • #13
                          The problem with the meat thermometers is they don't really have a thermocouple which is very boiler friendly. Most of them have a probe for shoving into a hunk of meat


                          • #14
                            ..and what do you think is inside that "probe "? ....a TC on the end of a heatproof wire !
                            a little ingenuity to remove the probe sheath...and away you go !
                            .. choose one with the longest "probe"


                            • #15
                              Might grab one of the ones that also has a built in timer on it. Will be useful for timing shots as well.