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While I don’t own the Sunbeam Cafe Espresso II em3820 myself, my brother has one, which I’ve used several times, and he enjoys it for its simple functionality.
In fact, he and his wife wore their first one out, so he’s on to his second machine. They bought the exact same machine again, which is enough to tell you they are happy with it.
The Sunbeam Cafe Espresso II does what it says it does, and doesn’t come with a hefty price tag. Some of the features include:
- Thermoblock fast heating system for quick heat up,
- 15 bar Italian pump,
- Italian crema system,
- removable 1.7 litre water tank,
- warming plate for pre-heating cups,
- 12 month replacement warranty.
What are the specifications?
one cup & two cup portafilter baskets
500ml stainless steel jug
|31.2 x 21.5 x 26.0 cm
|Plastic & metal
|15 bar Italian pump
|12 month replacement
If you want to check out the product manual, you can find that here.
What are the features?
First up, this is a semi-automatic espresso machine. No super-automatic here (not that you’d be expecting that with the relatively low price tag), but there’s still plenty of features that could make this simple machine what you’re looking for.
Let’s take a look.
Included with the machine are a few accessories:
- A portafilter and two different sized portafilter baskets for brewing either one cup or two cups of coffee
- A measuring spoon for your ground coffee beans that doubles as a tamper
- A 500ml stainless steel jug for steaming or frothing your milk
This warms to a moderate temperature once the machine has been turned on and is located on the very top of the espresso machine.
Simply leave your coffee cup or glass resting upside down on the plate to warm it up, so that it retains the espresso aroma and rich taste of your brew.
Removable drip tray & grill:
This can be found directly underneath where your cup sits when brewing coffee. Drip trays in this area are common and helpful, for unexpected spills or catching the drips once you’ve moved your cup away after a fresh brew.
Being fully removable helps for easy cleaning, too.
Removable water tank:
This is where you need to add clean water for brewing coffee and steaming/frothing milk.
It’s located at the very back of the machine and while this water tank can be removed to refill with water, I shy away from removing the one on my coffee machine at home unless I really have to, or perhaps to give it a thorough clean.
The reason for this is to not wear out the mechanism that allows water to flow into the machine. Simply pour water into the tank while it’s connected to the machine, instead.
Just a thought.
Steam wand with silicone cover:
The steam wand, used to steam/froth milk, is located on the right-hand-side of the machine. The silicone cover allows you to handle the steam wand without getting burnt.
There’s a cleaning pin included that you can use to clean the steam wand. This can be found by opening the water tank and is stored on the inside of the water tank lid.
15 bar Italian pump:
While 9 bars is considered the ideal pressure for brewing espresso coffee, this machine has a pressure relief system to limit it to a maximum of 15 bars, which helps to protect from over-pressure.
Unfortunately, there are no gauges on this machine to show what the pressure being produced is, unlike some of the more expensive and commercial models.
Thermablock fast heating system:
The Thermablock fast heating system ensures that the water is heated to 92ºC, to avoid burning the coffee grounds. This is important, as espresso coffee is made with hot water, but not boiling water.
As a result, the correct amount of oils are extracted from the grounds and it reduces the chances of producing a bitter coffee experience.
Simple design and interface:
There’s no denying that the Sunbeam Cafe Espresso II em3820 has been designed with simplicity in mind. The controls are minimal, which greatly reduces the chances of any errors when producing an espresso.
It’s pretty difficult to get it wrong, when your only options for both brewing coffee and steaming milk are “on” or “off”.
To brew a coffee, simply turn the dial clockwise to the right. To steam/froth milk, simply turn the dial anti-clockwise to the left. Easy, right?
However, it also means that this machine is most likely not suited to experienced people that prefer to have more control over their brew.
Cleaning and maintenance
If you’ve used the milk steamer, you should wipe down the steam wand with a damp cloth and then run the steam for a burst or two, to clean out any milk that may have entered the steam wand.
You can also use the cleaning pin that I mentioned above, but you probably won’t need to do this after every use.
The nozzle of the steam wand can be removed by twisting it, for extra cleaning (just make sure it’s not too hot to touch), if you want to run some water through it or clean it with the cleaning pin.
The cleaning pin can also be used to clean the underside of the portafilter basket, ensuring there are no blockages in any of the holes.
To clean the group head, wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove any coffee grounds left there from the previous brew and then run the machine for a couple of seconds.
Who should purchase the Sunbeam Cafe Espresso II?
This machine is best suited to someone who doesn’t want to spend too much, doesn’t care about all the bells and whistles, but wants a machine that is simple to use and that can still make a decent espresso.
The reviews over on Amazon are very positive, with most people finding it great value for the price and decent quality. Check out the reviews on Amazon now.
I hope my review was helpful. If you’ve purchased this machine, leave a comment and tell me about your experiences with it.
If you’re still undecided if this is the coffee machine for you, check out my other coffee maker reviews.