EM0480 Coffee Grinder Review.
This grinder is
Sunbeam's companion to the EM6900
Espresso Machine, see
http://www.coffeeco.com.au/articles/sunbeam.html . It is based on the Lux
conical burr set
http://www.coffeeco.com.au/articles/september2002.html housed in plastic burr
carriers. The top (stator) burr carrier has a pair of "ears"
that run in a thread in the burr adjustment collar. As the
collar is rotated anticlockwise, the gap between the rotating
bottom burr and the stator decreases and the grind becomes
There are ostensibly
24 grind settings (clicks) between the finest and coarsest
grind, in practice the range extends out to 30 clicks. Since
the grind adjustment collar only rotates less than 90° from
finest to coarsest, the thread pitch is quite steep and the
change in grind per click is fairly large.
The grinder comes
with an excellent suite of accessories, including a 250g
capacity bean hopper which seals itself when removed, 53mm and
58mm portafilter rests, a graduated ground coffee container
and a burr cleaning brush. The base of the grinder has a
rubber mat for holding loose coffee, the mat can also serve as
a portafilter rest during tamping.
Build quality is
high, with the body of the grinder made from diecast brushed
aluminium. It stands quite tall by domestic grinder standards,
38cm high x 23cm deep x 13cm wide, making it taller than a
Rancilio Rocky. Electrical quality is likewise high; there is
a microswitch to ensure that the grinder can't operate unless
the hopper is in place, and the main switch has 3 positions:
Off, On (which activates continuous grinding) and Auto, which
grinds when a portafilter is pushed against a microswitch in
the middle of the portafilter rest.
It is relatively easy
to disassemble the adjustment collar and top burr carrier for
easy cleaning, the burr carrier even comes with a little wire
handle for easy lift out and replacement. Care must be taken
to correctly replace the burr carrier when putting everything
back together, otherwise the "ears" don't engage in the
So, given all the
above, how does the Sunbeam grinder perform?
Very, very well
indeed, given the price it's sold for. Recommended retail
price is A$199.00, and it's already been available on sale for
A$179.00. (Note that I can't buy a Lux grinder wholesale for
that price.) Listed below in point form are what I believe to
be the pros and cons of this grinder.
Excellent, equal to a Lux or Rocky, at all settings from
plunger to commercial espresso.
Grind Speed: Faster
than a Lux by about 40%, faster than a Rocky by about
Very little ground coffee remains in the unit after
Excellent, virtually foolproof for a home user.
Repeatability: Excellent, plunger to espresso and back
Design and Build
Noise Level: Less
noisy than a Lux, noisier than a Rocky.
Absolutely canes anything I've ever seen out of
Grind Speed: Coffee
exiting the little spout is quite fluffy and prone to static
in dry conditions.
Fluffy Grind: Makes
it difficult to fill portafilter to the correct level by the
overfill/sweep/tamp method. You need to fill, tamp lightly,
then fill again and tamp.
The distance between "clicks" represents about a 9 second
difference in a 60ml 14g double shot pour time, similar to the
Lux, and double that of the Rocky.
The two little top burr "ears" will
break at some stage. Fortunately a new burr carrier should be
an inexpensive replacement.
Mess Level: The
Sunbeam is no worse than the Lux or Rocky Doserless when it
comes to the amount of coffee scattered about, but it is
definitely messier than a doser grinder.
Well. A major Australian
appliance company has finally done it; they've produced a
"Category Killer" grinder. I don't know of any other grinder
in this price range worldwide that produces as good a grind
and is as well constructed. I plan to start selling these
grinders as soon as possible.
The Sunbeam comes
with a 5 year warranty on the motor, and 12 months for the
rest. If I have any reservations at all about the grinder,
they are related to the quality of the plastics used in the
burr carrier and the adjustment collar. I know that the
plastic used in the Lux grinder is up to the job, but in the
Sunbeam the verdict will have to wait for several more years
of user experience.
The review machine was
supplied by Sunbeam Australia.