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From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!! :)

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  • From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!! :)

    Hi, I am a very green bean and such a novice, its frightening. During repairs to my Sunbeam EM6900 twin thermoblock, my husband got a little heavy handed and managed to screw the head off the nut inside the boiler - oops and so my search for a new machine began and boy was I out of my depth.

    I read all your post, cross checked and searched some more. Finally, I thought I was ready to splurge and I had the Isomac Millenium firmly in my sights, but as I was getting in the car a friend rang and somehow I ended up driving in the opposite direction and purchased a Giotto Rocket and WOW, she is lovely. Thanks for your time and help Charles (Espresso Company Australia)

    I dont really know what I am doing though. I have a Sunbeam Cafe Series burr grinder that I got with the EM6900, as I couldnt splurge on a newbie, so my first question is, is this an ok grinder? or should I be asking Santa to start filling his sack? when I grind the setting is usually between 5-8 on the scale.

    My tamper is the one that came with the EM6900, should I also upgrade that?

    My problem seems to be that over the weekend, I tried and tried to make espresso after espresso and seemed to strike out more than succeed - I am heart broken thinking that I have out stepped my coffee making abilities. Ive changed the grind, up down and back again. Some extractions too fast others slow, none right where I want them. Ive timed, Ive watched, Ive tasted and smelled what am I doing wrong...

    I have found the puck mostly to be wet on the very surface and am unsure if this is the machine or if this is ok. The puck when taken out, is solid and dry, so I dont know what I am doing wrong or is this normal?? Ive tried adding more coffee to the next one Ive tried changing my tamp, so should I be attending a coffee making course??

    I allow the machine to heat up for 30+ mins and have followed the instructions to the letter, so I know its ME!!

    Then of course, there is the milk texturing, but I will keep practising this one and I have devoted many hours to reading your posts and watching YouTube. Can anyone tell me a good milk I live in Sydney and like low fat?

    Oh and one more thing, where do I find a list of all your abbreviations??

    Anyway, thanks for listening. Ive just ordered some beans and hope that might eleviate some of the problems Ive been having, but I look forward to hearing from you soon. TB

    PS: The Giotto is a BEAUTIFUL machine and I hope to do her justice soon :-[

  • #2
    Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

    1: If the Grinder is not a EM0480 then an issue to start with
    2: Fresh beans is a must

    A: If your grinder is older than 12 months old, even if it is a EM0480 you will need to have it cleaned...
    B: The 5 - 8 is an indication only and will provide a different grind across the EM 0480 units.
    C: If the puck is wet, I can only assume your not dosing to the right level

    Note: If you were using the double floor baskets on teh Sunbeam ( When held to light you can only see ONE hole) this would have masked any number of preparation errors and still provided a basic outcome.

    Thus with a more professional system, it is much more intolerable of inconsistency and the output is affected with more pronounced effects.

    I hate to say it, but the best way forward in many cases is to have some one with experience guide you or go and visit any one of teh sponsors. From there you will have any number of issues resolved and then you will be able to focus on perfecting your coffee. If you do not get off on the right foot, it can lead to frustration and may have a negative impact on what can be a great journy of learning.

    Hang in there and keep trying, but get confirmation that you have the basics correct in the first instance.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

      Thanks for your tips.

      The grinder is the Sundbeam EM0480 and was cleaned in honour of the Giotto purchase.

      Youre absolutely right, I do seem to be having trouble with the dosing levels and my shoulder is getting sore from practicing tamping!!!

      I will take your advice and go visit one of the sponsers today or better still, get them to come to me and work through my issues, as I am getting very disappointed and feel like a failure and well out of my league.

      Could the beans that I am using also be leading to my negative brewing?

      I have been trying all morning and either the pour is too slow or on the fast side. Ive found that I get somewhere between 25-50ml of coffee in 20-25 secs, so things aint good.

      Thanks again. TB

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

        Hi TB

        Its certainly worthwhile seeking the support from one of the Sponsors, and Id suggest your first port of call should be from where you purchased your Giotto (ECA?).

        To do the Giotto justice, an investment in something like the Mazzer Mini will be well worthwhile.

        In the meantime, while youre working with the SB grinder, try making the smallest changes possible to grind setting - I think youll find that the Giotto will prefer and cope with a much finer setting than your previous Sunbeam. If you overfill the portafilter, tap twice to settle, overfill again, scrape level, then tamp, it should get you somewhere in the ball park regarding tamp technique that you can then tweek from there. If the pour is too fast, grind a notch finer, too slow, one notch coarser. Either way, the 30ml in 30sec rule is not a rule, its a guide.

        Of course, the quality of the beans is important, but I gather you are getting fast/slow pours using the same beans, so I dont think we can point at them as the culprit at this point.

        Finally, dont despair! Youve only had the Giotto for a short time and it will take time to get it right. Once you do, you wont look back.

        Cheers!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

          Originally posted by cuppacoffee link=1222850696/0#3 date=1222902738
          you wont look back
          except to see how many people are lined up waiting for one of your great coffees.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

            Hi TB
            You have a great machine
            But to make it work to its potential you will need a good grinder

            I define a good grinder as giving a consistent and equal particle size of the ground beans

            While you have the sunbeam grinder try as a starting point to grind at the consistency of table salt and adjust from that

            Dont overload your portafilter basket as you may be breaking the puck
            Experiment with the level so it is 1< mm under the screen
            (an example on my Bezzera the level is 8mm down from the top of filter basket so it can have a 1< gap at the screen)

            As for the tamper I can only say that my Pullman Barista tamper helped me to get more consistent results

            KK

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

              Originally posted by Koffee Kosmo link=1222850696/0#5 date=1222909637

              I define a good grinder as giving a consistent and equal particle size of the ground beans
              KK
              Consistent, yes; equal, no.

              A good grinder will produce coarse and fine grinds - a desirable attribute when making espresso.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

                Surely its more than that Den. My old Gaggia MM grinder produced grounds of uneven size but I couldnt call it superior to my Mini.

                Steve

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

                  It needs to be consistently unequal. Meaning their will be the same ratio of coarser/medium/fine grinds every time it grinds.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

                    Originally posted by cuppacoffee link=1222850696/0#6 date=1222911796
                    Originally posted by Koffee Kosmo link=1222850696/0#5 date=1222909637

                    I define a good grinder as giving a consistent and equal particle size of the ground beans
                    KK
                    Consistent, yes; equal, no.

                    A good grinder will produce coarse and fine grinds - a desirable attribute when making espresso.  

                    Maybe I should have said within a set or close paramater
                    Yes not all grounds will be identical twins or clones of each other  :

                    KK

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

                      Agree Steve - Of course there are many more factors. I was just intending to correct a perception that may have been created about even particle size being desirable.

                      If you google "Titan Grinder Project" theres some interesting reading there.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

                        I too upgraded a week ago to the Giotto, from a breville 800. I also got a Mazzer with my new toy, in for a penny in for a pound i thought. The grinder is definately one of your major problems. I did a few tests, using the em 0480 to grind a few shots worth to compare them to the mazzers performance. At the finest grind settings on the sunbeam, i could not get shots to run over about 17 secs, even with 20 kg plus of tamp pressure. I have got my tamping technique consistent now at about 15 kg, so i dont want to use it to control the pour. The grinder upgrade was more than worth it, im sure i could even choke the giotto with it if i wanted to. I found that the fill/tap/fill/level and then tamp as stated above works well and consistantly for me (2 taps lightly, not 1, not 3-4, but 2, as long as its the same every time). The grinder allows me to keep every part of my routine the same and adjust the pour by grind setting alone. It would be a shame to not get the best out of a machine like the giotto, just because the grinder is letting you down.
                        It may be worth doing a course also, I am waiting until i have a break in work to do one (although im not sure at this stage if i would now benefit). Any good course should let you take your own machine to it, thus getting instruction and help on the exact machine you intend to use.
                        Anyway, enjoy your new toy, I know i am.
                        James

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

                          Originally posted by cuppacoffee link=1222850696/0#10 date=1222913206
                          Agree Steve - Of course there are many more factors.  I was just intending to correct a perception that may have been created about even particle size being desirable.  If you google "Titan Grinder Project" theres some interesting reading there.
                          Thanks. You mentioned this to me on Saturday and it made sense at the time (well, still does) until I remembered my crappy old Gaggia.

                          I cant help thinking what is the entry level to achieve this degree of consistent fine + coarse grinds. The grinders in the review are mostly conical burrs and over $1000.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

                            Sleep easy Steve - your mini was a great choice. "Entry level" would mean different things to different people and discussion would be better in an alternative thread. Id recommend that members review the info at the top of the grinders section then make their own decision on what this means.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: From Sunbeam to Giotto - I need help!!

                              Ok I hear you...the Sunbeam grinder has to go if I hope to do justice to my new baby, but has anyone got some spare cash???

                              I have also booked myself in for a home course, so someone will come to me and see the error of my ways. I am looking forward to it.

                              My next question would be on WHICH grinder. I only make a few coffees per day, and currently with the EM0480 which is doserless, I seem to have coffee flying everywhere when filling the portafiller and the mess is driving me crazy. Ive read your posts about doser vs doserless, but still dont know which way to go. Does it really come down to personal preference or does practicality weigh in?

                              TB

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