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Sunbeam EM480 with Expobar Office Leva/Vibiemme Domobar Junior (or similar)

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  • Sunbeam EM480 with Expobar Office Leva/Vibiemme Domobar Junior (or similar)

    I'm a long time Sunbeam em6910/em0480 user. The combo has served me well for 9 years but the em6910 is starting to show signs of age and I'm pulling it apart more than I'd like to just to keep it running.

    I was looking at the Silvia as a replacement but just want a machine that I can just switch on in the morning and knock out two decent double shots while still half asleep just like I can with the Sunbeam (obviously the 10 minute warm up in the morning is going to increase slightly to more like an hour!).

    Hence I've had a budget blow out to around $2000ish for a HX which will hopefully get me a machine that will last at least twice as long as the Sunbeam.

    The consensus seems to be that the grinder is of number 1 importance, above the coffee machine. Does that mean that my Sunbeam em480 is out of the question? $2000 is a good price point for me and if I can help it I don't want to go higher. Alternatively I can spend $1500 on the machine and $500 on the grinder but then I'm not getting the machine that I wanted. The plus side of putting all my money into the machine is that if the em480 turns out to be totally inadequate then $500 in a few months time for a new grinder won't feel so bad!

    I guess the question is, if the em480 is totally inadequate how will this manifest itself? Will it be a simple case that I'll be missing out of mind-blowing shots and just creating good shots (and I'll eventually gravitate towards a better grinder) or will it cause serious problems with my coffee enjoyment i.e. not grinding fine enough and producing brown water instead of coffee (meaning I have a $2000 paperweight until I get a better grinder)?... I've seen that quite a few people use the grinder with the Silvia and don't have issues with it.

    Also as it's 9 years old are the burrs on the em480 likely to be due a replacement anyway?

    Usage per day during the week is two double shots and 4 to 6 at weekends/holidays.

  • #2
    Hi Justin
    Any good HX machine will certainly show up any flaws in grind consistency from any grinder. And at 9 years old, it is likely your current grinder is getting a bit weary. But do you sacrifice the machine you're looking at?
    I'd be tempted to buy the machine, and then start saving for a grinder. A good machine will last many years - so you'll have time to learn to use it as well - it will be a bit of a learning curve anyway. And good grinders are not too far away - a Lido hand grinder is under $300 and flavourwise is up there with commercial conical grinders IMHO, and an M2M grinder is around $500…
    But you'll have a bit of time to ponder these options as you're learning about dosing commercial baskets
    Cheers Matt


    • #3
      Hi Justin,

      Circa $2k will certainly buy you a great machine.

      One option might be a good pre-loved package from a CS'er. $2k is Giotto or similar and good flat burr grinder territory.

      Keep an eye out in Coffee Hardware For Sale as there's always good gear for sale.

      Happy shopping

      Last edited by TC; 25 February 2016, 05:58 PM. Reason: tpyo ::-)


      • #4
        +1 to the above comments. I just want to add that if you've got your heart set on a new machine one option would be to buy the machine you want (as Matt suggested0, but then put new burrs in the EM0480. I've no doubt that the ones in there currently will be too old to give good performance with a quality HX machine. But you can get a brand new set of burrs for about $70 I think and they are easily replaced yourself. An EM0480 with new burrs should be quite capable for long enough to keep you happy while save up for a top notch grinder.


        • #5
          Thanks for the positive feedback guys, much appreciated.

          Good to hear that the EM480 is probably good enough... at least to begin with. If I have trouble in the beginning I'll follow LeroyCs advice and get new burrs. A quick search on eBay comes up with a set delivered for around $95. I'll shop around if it comes to it.

          Chris, I think I'll go new. I'll have to get in touch with you to discuss my options. The Sunshine Coast is a bit of a wasteland when it comes to good businesses. I've called one place twice in the last two weeks and been told both times that a salesman will call me back to discuss. Nothing but tumbleweed. So it looks like I'll be getting something posted from interstate. A shame because I won't get the face to face but from what I've been reading the site sponsors are all well respected.

          Originally posted by DesigningByCoffee View Post
          But you'll have a bit of time to ponder these options as you're learning about dosing commercial baskets
          Cheers Matt
          I've been reading that the Sunbeam has 28g baskets where a commercial basket is 14 or 16g? So I'll be almost halving my coffee usage... that'll save me some money towards the grinder! Downside is, am I going to be thinking my coffees are weaker?


          • #6
            The Sunbeam basket will be a "normal" double basket, you're new machine will probably have similar capacity. Or you can continue to use your sunbeam basket in the new machine.

            I wouldn't spend close to $100 on new burrs, put that towards a "proper" grinder or get a used Breville smart grinder for similar $, you could also get something for the sunbeam grinder too?



            • #7
              Yes after posting my last message it did occur to me that $95 is a fifth of the cost of a new grinder and I could probably get $50+ if I sold it as it's in perfect working order. The EM6910 has too many faults so I wouldn't be selling that. It'll do as my backup machine just like my Gaggia Carezza which has sat at the back of a dark cupboard for the last 9 years.

              Here's the link where they talk about the size of the baskets

              Commercial link removed per the Site Posting Policy

              "Then came the filter baskets, and things started to get a bit weird. The baskets, both single and double, are VERY deep and the holes in the base are obviously produced by a different kind of die than that commonly used in Italy. The single filter basket easily holds 21g (that is, 3 x 7g!) of espresso ground tamped coffee. The double basket holds 28g (quad!) ground and tamped. Due to the depth and volume of the baskets the grind setting for correct shot parameters is coarser than normal"
              Last edited by Javaphile; 25 February 2016, 06:37 PM. Reason: Commericial link(s) removed


              • #8
                That's interesting. I have a double sunbeam basket and pretty sure it's a bit smaller than my synesso double.



                • #9
                  Hi I have a vibiemme domobar junior HX - the one with the heat exchanger and I can make milk and coffee simultaneously. Its small and makes great coffee. I use a Sunbeam 480 of similar age with new burrs and it seems excellent. The extraction is very lovely and there is great crema. Of course, I don't have a better grinder for comparison and I defer to those you do but I do have coffee addict friends who will come to my house for coffee despite living in a suburb of great coffee shops. So I think its OK. I try to keep mine clean, taking it apart and cleaning the burrs etc. I used to have a 6910 and the VBM is a much happier coffee life.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the feedback Ganglingman. Good to know it's doable. Considering a Giotto or ECM now but the same should be true for them.


                    • #11
                      if your grinder gives you good coffee now, it should give you the same in a new machine. its only a temporary stop gap anyway and you will have the machine you want while you wait. when you get the new grinder it will be bliss all over again!



                      • #12
                        Hahaha agreed. My birthday's in a few months so I'm co researching grinders!