Upgrading from one hole to 2 or 4 hole
Hi everyone, I have a sunbeam 6910 and would like to retrofit a 2 or 4 hole nozzle to the steam wand. The nozzle i have is a one hole and has a male thread. My question is, can i adapt a 2 or 4 hole nozzle by using a threaded coupling? What is a good nozzle that might work and if it is worth doing ultimately...?
Originally Posted by gerhard76
Short answer - don't "upgade" the nozzle - it is not an improvement. A single hole is the best & easiest to create a whirlpool and generate true microfoam with a machine of that power. Most 6910's steaming issues are due to a clogged wand tip or a blocked steaming thermoblock. Even mechanical fails (i.e. the relays etc.) are unusual. The SB "cleaning prongs" only do a little of the job. Use a magnifying glass and get it really clean and you will be amazed at the difference. Oh, and that white plastic ring on the other end of the tip isn't - it is actually encrusted milk (shudder).
Some of the symptoms if needing a clean: hairtrigger pressure sensitivity, lack of control of steaming power and overly large bubbles. I have yet to see a stranger's "more than three months old" 6910 with a correctly cleaned steaming tip.
FWIW, my method (in order of severity of clogging)
1) soak it (and the showerscreens & p/f baskets etc.) in a "fairly gentle" undiluted dishwashing detergent overnight (I use Earth Choice - but any should do it). Use a denture brush, pipe cleaner, the SB prongs or anything else you have available which is non-abrasive and see how much it can remove. BTW, If you do that after every 250g of coffee shots, it will keep it and the showerscreens pristine long term.
Inspect it with a strong magnifying glass. If it still (or the showerscreens, basket) is not clean:-
2) Soak it in meths overnight, repeat the above cleaning process.
Inspect it again with a strong magnifying glass. If it still is not clean (i.e. it is pretty extreme, even an ultrasound bath probably will not clean it up):-
3) Soak it in a fully sealed jar of toluene overnight. Minimise your exposure to the fumes. Keep the whole thing well out of range of children (it also dissolves young lungs quite well...). repeat the cleaning process.
Hope this helps.
PS: A typical 6910 "drop in". I bought another secondhand 6910 for a friend yesterday. The pumps were OK and the machine pulled a pretty good shot. It didn't froth the (unknown to me brand) milk very well. Stripping it down yesterday: The steam wand tip had what looked like a metal grid (actually metal flakes) in the bottom of it plus assorted encrusted milk all over it and the top of the tip had a "white milk layer". The showerscreens were brown (easy to check - hold it up at an angle to a light source - if it looks brown, it needs a clean). Overnight detergent soak - the wand is now clean, the showerscreens were still brown. Dropped the showerscreens into meths: instant dark brown liquid. Used a spare set of showerscreens and it pulled an outstanding shot & frothed milk for a latte straight off. The control pin of this steam wand could do with a calibrate, as it is still a bit hairtrigger on the controlling knob, other than that - will go for a few more years IF it is maintained correctly.
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I have had great success with my one hole nozzle but wondered about 2 or 4. I will stick to the one then. As for the shower screen... i am having trouble getting it off.. is the thread reversed?
Originally Posted by TampIt
Thanks again for all your insight. I bought a Breville grinder and my coffees have jumped up a notch. Loving making coffees now.
You are welcome.
Originally Posted by gerhard76
Firstly, no the showerscreen screw is just a standard philips #2 (M4-3 standard screw).
I have had several machines which have not been cleaned properly and the showerscreen seems to be superglued in place. In order of stubborness (hopefully 3 onwards is not needed)
1) Take the screw out, and see if you can remove the showerscreen gently. Do not use force or pliers as you will be likely to damage the seal. I feel a little hypocritical with this as I often use tools, however I also know exactly where to use a little "applied violence".
2) Warm the machine and try again.
hopefully there is no need to go on from here...
3) Place a "close fit in height" jug under the group and then pull a shot with just an empty portafilter in place - makes a mess, however it often works.
4) Let the whole machine cool off (overnight is good). Often you will hear a clunk in the wee small hours.
5) Try to remove the showerscreens again.
If still no success I usually repeat from 3 onwards once more. My last resort (meaning I have never had to escalate beyond this one).
6) Pull a "normal coffee shot (i.e. basket loaded with old, stale / unwanted coffee). The showerscreens will usually come off when the p/f handle is removed. The problem with this method: it often damages the seal. On the other hand, if it is so bonded to the group then seal is probably stuffed anyway.
Poor photo* of the steam nozzle (aka wand tip) from an old dead machine + the yesterday one. Both of these have been soaked in detergent overnight and my usual non-abrasive methods have been used. I used a very old scotch bright on the yesterday one near the top of the wand (you can see a little progress). Although they are clean compared to when I started on them, they are still disgusting. Meths is next...
IMG_6992 Edited Cropped.jpg
*First day / first photo with a different camera - manual not read yet.
BTW - removing the showerscreens is essential to keep a 6910 healthy.
Enjoy your cuppa
Hi there gerhard. My experience is much like Tampits' advice.
I thought I wouuld try a 4 hole as an improvement to the 2 hole tip on my Expobar Leva II. The result was that steaming 200 ml of milk was done in about 15 seconds and very watery with no texture.
I may well have improved the results with experimentation however I was getting good results from the 2 hole tip already.
Went back to the 2 hole and happy again.
It was fun experimenting though.
What? I only removed and cleaned that screen at most 2 weeks ago. Hmmm, me thinks I might have been overdosing it a tad
Originally Posted by TampIt
How's the steaming wand now? Much improvement?
... so much for me keeping you anonymous... Yep, the steaming wand's tip is now pristine after the meths. Achieving microfoam is now simple.
Originally Posted by MrFreddofrog
The showerscreens are now in the toluene after a major "post meths" scrubbing attempt proved to be futile. They are still very brown. BTW, that is all too common. Leave the showerscreens dirty for long enough and that 9 bar pressure can really ingrain the coffee onto them. I sometimes wonder how good it is as an adhesive.
The machine also just received a white vinegar* descale (both thermoblocks) and coughed up a bit more metal flake (group) and some interesting brown sludge out of the group (overdosing - may have partly been you, however it was very old & odoriferous) and the steam wand (i.e. the guy before you did not pull the steam wand out in time and slurped up some milk beyond the tip - repeatedly).
As usual, it will take 3+ litres to remove the vinegar taste from the group and about 500ml for the steam wand.
After that my friend will have a good machine. From being a tea drinker to my Rommelsbacher ("idiot proof electric version" of a moka pot) to her own machine in under three months... and she is about to order a couple of 316 Pullmans after playing with mine. I reckon she has been bitten by the infamous good coffee bug. Seems to me there are worse fates.
Overdosing - Yep, just like I showed you on your new toy, the best shots do not necessarily have the most coffee in the basket. FWIW, that 6910 has probably been overdosed since new. The seal shows massive discolouration which indicates overdosing or failure to engage the p/f handle fully over a very, very long time. Oh, and trying to clean it with bleach is also an utter exercise in futility (previous guy?). Doesn't remove the discolouration and doesn't affect the seal's performance either (cue Star trek phasers - "no effect Captain").
As long as you are enjoying your cuppa, the rest is irrelevant. Have fun playing with your new toy.
*IMO far more effective than those "coffee machine cleaners". On far too many occasions I have run a lot of white vinegar through a friend's cantankerous machine immediately after a "specialised cleaner fail" and gained a significant amount of brown sludge. Your showerscreens are a prime example of an obvious fail.