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February 2006 Newsletter

Sunbeam  Australia have finally released their new grinder, the EM0480, and it's a beauty. So good, in fact, that I'll be selling it as soon as I can get supplies.

Excerpts from my review are below; the full text (with pictures) is up at http://www.coffeeco.com.au/articles/sunbeamgrinder.html

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.

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.

GOOD POINTS

Grind Quality: 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 10%.

Coffee Retention: Very little ground coffee remains in the unit after grinding.

Adjustment Mechanism: Excellent, virtually foolproof for a home user.

Adjustment Repeatability: Excellent, plunger to espresso and back again.

Design and Build Quality: Excellent.

Noise Level: Less noisy than a Lux, noisier than a Rocky.

User Manual: Absolutely canes anything I've ever seen out of Italy.

BAD POINTS

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.

Adjustment Mechanism: 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.

Adjustment Mechanism: 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.

OVERALL

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.

Finally, my policy is to always sell the best coffee I can find. This month's special coffee will become the "standard" from now on, replacing the New Guinea Keyup.

NEW GUINEA
SIHERENI AX
$36.00/kg

Incredible depth of aroma and flavour, more intense than even Keyup. Fruity, strawberry mid palate, medium acid and body, smooth complex sweet finish. This is probably the best PNG coffee I have ever tasted, which is saying a bit.

Alan