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Author Topic: New here & new to making coffee at home.  (Read 1009 times)


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New here & new to making coffee at home.
« on: 07/02/2018, 01:41 PM »
Hi All!

I'm the proud owner of a just purchased second hand Sunbeam EM6910 coffee machine and EM0480 grinder (I'm told these were sold together as a package brand new). I bought it last night for a steal and have spent a few hours cleaning both pieces of machinery. I have also just purchased a bag of beans (Niccolo house blend, my friend is a barrista and can get me these beans at cost so I thought why not).
I have gone on youtube and looked up how to work the EM6910 and I've got a fair idea where to start.

Having said all that, I'm a bit confused on how to setup the grinder. I know the EM0480 is basic and the pro's wouldn't use it but it's all I've got for now, should I set it to fine or semi fine for espresso?

Can anyone else give me some pointers on how to tamper and how I should setup the timing of the shot? I have reset the machine back to factory default (previous owner had changed water pressure and timing settings) is it as simple as trial and error?

Any info would be greatly appreciated!


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« Reply #1 on: 07/02/2018, 08:17 PM »
G'day bud! Congrats on the purchase! Am excited for ya :). I'm not too familiar with how those particular machines work and are set up, but we can try help in whatever way we can. Most machines and grinders are relatively similar in functionality. Awesome stuff making sure it's clean, super important!

It's definitely recommended you use good quality, freshly roasted beans. Freshly roasted beans is so so so important, not only tastewise, but it improves your learning dramatically, as you'll have much more stable parameters to work with. As long as the Niccolo beans are fairly freshly roasted (which if they're the ones that come in that the staff use I'm sure they would be). It depends on the beans, but alot of beans start to noticeably decline in quality and stale after 4 weeks or so of being roasted. Not sure of the quality of the beans but definitely give them a go.

With the grinder when dialing in for the first time, a lot of people recommend starting off too fine (even to the point of the machine choking up a bit trying to extract a shot), and then go slightly coarser and coarser from there to get the right flow. Easy to make slight adjustments coarser with subsequent shots to watch how it affects the shot volume. So I'd start with the fine setting, and if its far too slow a flow, change it to a slight bit coarser, pull a few shots, evaluate, and go from there.

Most important factor is taste, so definitely taste everything, even the really crappy shots haha as it helps the learning experience and in knowing what you like and don't like in a drink (as well as developing your coffee evaluating if you wanna get seriously into it like a lot of us :P).

Make only very gradual adjustments, and only change one thing at a time in trying to change a shot. Many (including myself!) change too many variables all at once and then won't know what affected what. So best to make small changes.

So I'm not sure what size filter basket you have, but fill it enough with grounds so that it's fairly full and doesn't scrape the coffee as you lock it in. You can test this with the 5 cent test: putting a 5 cent coin on top of the tamped coffee, lock it in, but don't pull the shot, take it back out. If the 5 cent coin has made only a slight imprint in the coffee that's probably ideal. If none, maybe increase the dose a little bit. If it's buried in the coffee you've dosed too much.

Aim at the start to achieve a 1:2 ratio of dry coffee in to liquid coffee out. So if you've dosed 16 grams in your basket, aim for about 32 grams in the liquid espresso shot, and this to extract within about 25-30 seconds. Once you've gotten this then you can tweak things a bit, slow it down a bit etc to see what suits your tastes, but I'd recommend starting with this (using scales to weigh things is ideal rather than going by volume like 30ml, but play around and see how it goes).

In terms of tamping, you generally want your elbow in a straight line above the tamper, with your arm bent in an upside-down backward L shape hehe. Just so you tamp straight, the force goes straight down and you have a nice level puck. Definitely worth watching some YouTube videos on how to tamp. There's a few different ways, but as long as you're consistent and it's a level, even coffee puck. Also tamp firmly until you can't push anymore. You don't need to absolutely push as hard as you can, just tamp downwards until there's no more resistance from the coffee, and this is a good consistent method.

The machine I'm not sure how it's setup, but I would just have standard factory settings, wouldn't worry about water pressure etc. If you can manually start and stop a shot that's better, as you can choose when the shot is done rather than the machine doing it. Oh yeah and stopping a shot once the stream of coffee has paled and thinned out quite a bit (optimally within that 25-30 second bracket for now).

That post went on for awhile sorry haha!

It will definitely be trial and error, but it's the most exciting time this learning stage! Let us know how you go :)
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Koffee Kosmo

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« Reply #2 on: 07/02/2018, 08:33 PM »
Blast, Simon just about said it all

What’s left for me to say ?
How about
Enjoy the coffee when you advance from learner to the open licence 👍🏼

Bezzera Strega Lever: Mazzer Robur conical grinder Pullman Barista Tamper Convex:  Designer of the KKTO Home Roaster:

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« Reply #3 on: 08/02/2018, 10:48 AM »
Hi All!
I'm the proud owner of a just purchased second hand Sunbeam EM6910 coffee machine and EM0480 grinder
Congrats and welcome. That was my own first machine and grinder. From there things just spiralled.....
Enjoy them :)

askthe coffeeguy

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« Reply #4 on: 08/02/2018, 12:51 PM »
Hi James and welcome to the forum I have that exact same setup as my 'spare' equipment which also gets a workout quiet regularly

I found my shots gushing on the em6910 despite adjustments to the grind so I replace the standard basket with a VST one for much improved shot quality and repeatability

Also if you portafilter still has the useless black rubber 'crema enhancer' device attached (you'll find it under the basket) then feel free to remove this top coz its not really necessary

Oh and check to see if the basket in the handles has multiple holes or just fake looking ones and one actual hole on the centre of the basket

Coz if that's the case then that's the 'learners' basket that came with the machine and you will need to upgrade that pronto!

Certainly the setup that you have is capable of making very good coffee so I wish you luck on your coffee journey!

And welcome to the forum!

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« Reply #5 on: 08/02/2018, 05:53 PM »
Not much more for me to say... Welcome James!
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