Sunbeam Barista Max (EM5300) Review

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The Sunbeam Barista Max is a popular mid-range espresso machine. With its TempIQ shot control system and Touch & Go navigation, this semi-automatic machine offers many commercial-grade features for its price.

In the review below, we cover the pros and cons of the Sunbeam Barista Max to help you decide if this is the right machine for you. We also list our top alternatives so you can compare this with similar products on the market.

RELATED: The Best Espresso Machines in Australia (Buying Guide)

Who is the Barista Max for?

The Sunbeam EM5300 is suitable for users looking for an affordable all-encompassing coffee machine. The built-in grinder eliminates the need to purchase a seperate burr grinder along with your espresso machine, adding additional value for money with this device.

While this coffee machine implements many commercial-grade features, it does require some espresso experience to operate. Despite its one-touch navigation, users do need to manually tamp, fill the portafilter, and operate the steam wand.

For users beginning their coffee journey, be prepared for a bit of a steep learning curve. Further, users who prefer more manual control over the brewing process may prefer a coffee machine with more hands-on settings.

Measuring 410mm high, 320mm wide, and 350mm deep, the Sunbeam Barista Max espresso machine does not have a particularly compact footprint. It comes in slightly smaller than the Breville Barista Pro, but still might not be the best option if space is limited.

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Getting started with the Sunbeam Barista Max

The Sunbeam Barista Max espresso machine gives access to features seen on higher-end machines without the hefty price tag. Designed and engineered in Australia, this device is constructed from stainless steel with a plastic finish. The modern design and modern colour options give users the versatility to match with other kitchen appliances.

This coffee maker includes a removable 2.8-litre water tank capacity and a 250g hopper for coffee beans. Furthermore, the Barista Max includes a 105mm space for extracting coffee. This easily accommodates tall mugs and glasses. The Sunbeam EM5300 also includes a removable drip tray, grill, and grind bin/knock box.

The Sunbeam EM5300 is designed for easy navigation between each step of the brewing process. Users find the integrated grinder to the machine’s left, a commercial-sized group head at the machine’s centre, and a manual milk frother on the right.

The interface includes four buttons and a dial for the steam wand. Users can find the power button for the grinder above, and three buttons for a single, double auto shot, and a manual shot option. To the right of the bean hopper, the Sunbeam Barista Max includes a space to store the 58mm tamper and cup-warming plate.

Along with the coffee machine, the Sunbeam EM5300 includes single wall filter baskets in one and two-shot sizes, a 58mm group handle, tamper, and a 460ml stainless steel milk jug.

Features

Integrated Tap and Go Grinder

The Barista Max espresso machine has Sunbeam’s Tap & Go grinding technology. This feature allows for easy, on-demand grinding to deliver great coffee to every cup. Users simply turn the hopper to the desired grind size, press the button, and watch as the ground coffee fills the group handle to the desired level.

When comparing the Sunbeam EM5300 to alternatives like the Breville Bambino Plus and Breville the Infuser, users can choose from 30 different grind settings while these other espresso machines require a separate coffee grinder purchase. The Barista Max espresso machine rivals the popular Breville Barista Express when it comes to grinder calibre, providing a grinding range from coarse to espresso-fine.

The Sunbeam Barista Max espresso machine includes clever features such as an illuminated grind area during the grinding process. Likewise, a unique grinding cradle provides a space for the portafilter to rest while filling, making it easier to fill each filter basket.

Powerful Steam Wand

The Sunbeam Barista Max espresso machine comes with a milk frother that’s capable of preparing milk for a variety of coffee types. Whether you like a cappuccino, latte, or flat white, the frother can produce milk to match the required consistency.

The ease of use for the milk frother is also hard to beat. Simply turn the dial on the machine’s interface to the right to begin steaming, set the wand into your milk jug, and texture the milk to your desired consistency. This manual milk wand includes hot water and cleaning settings as well on the dial. 

Many users do rate the steam wand on Breville coffee machines as superior to Sunbeam machines. However, the Sunbeam Barista Max provides a steam wand that is perfectly sufficient for an all-in-one espresso machine.

Commercial-Sized Group Head

With inspiration from cafe-quality coffee machines, the Sunbeam EM5300 uses a 58mm group head. The larger group head size accepts more ground coffee and extracts more flavour notes during the brewing process.

When comparing the Sunbeam Barista Max to competing machines like the Breville Barista Express, Breville the Infuser, and the Breville Bambino Plus, users are able to extract more coffee at once with the commercial-grade size instead of Breville’s standard 54mm group head size.

TempIQ Shot Control, Thermoblock, and PID

Along with a single Thermoblock heating system and 15 bar pump pressure, the Sunbeam Barista Max includes an exclusive Temp°IQ Shot Control feature.

This 3-way temperature control system combines a fast heat-up time from the Thermoblock with gentle pre-infusion for even coffee extraction and an advanced PID controller to deliver consistent temperatures for brewing. All three of these features work together to ensure users can brew great coffee every time that is free of bitterness and imperfections.

The Thermoblock system provides precise water temperature for espresso & milk texturing.

The PID temperature control system monitors the Thermoblock to ensure the correct water temperature is used at all times.

The pre-infusion process allows small amounts of water to be introduced onto the tamped coffee grinds prior to the steady flow of water for a more evenly extracted espresso shot.

RELATED: The Best Coffee Machine With A Grinder

What do users say about the Sunbeam Barista Max?

Positives:

Many Sunbeam Barista Max users praise the machine for its easy-to-use navigation system, as well as its versatility in providing both automated and manual features. Some of the features include the one-touch grinder, automated single and double espresso shot buttons.

The Sunbeam Barista Max espresso machine’s manual shot option allows users full control over their coffee extraction. Likewise, many reviews discuss the sophistication behind the TempIQ shot control system in this espresso machine, which allows the Sunbeam EM5300 to ensure water and milk are heated to the perfect temperature. This level of consistency in temperature is typically found in higher-end and commercial machines. 

Users also appreciate the integration of commercial-grade features and the quality of materials used in its construction. Many Sunbeam EM5300 reviews discuss the reliability of their machine during everyday use and its ability to last for years if well maintained.

An all-in-one, easy to use espresso machine and featuring a Tap & Go™ integrated grinder that will give you consistent temperature and flavour, it’s now easy to enjoy the perfect cup on the go. Finished in stainless steel and designed and engineered in Australia, you can rest easy the Sunbeam Barista Max will complement your kitchen and will last for a lifetime.

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Negatives:

Many users dislike the longer heat-up time for the steam wand to work on this machine. Since the Sunbeam EM5300 uses a single Thermoblock system (as opposed to a dual boiler system), it does require additional time after pulling espresso shots to heat water for steam. When comparing the Sunbeam Barista Max to other machines like the Breville Barista Express and other (more expensive) machines, the heat-up time is noticeably slower.

Another common quirk discussed in Sunbeam EM5300 reviews is inconsistencies with the built-in grinder. Like with any new grinder, some time is required to figure out which setting works best for your personal taste and for the espresso machine. Many users voice a desire for an added automatic grind feature for the Sunbeam Barista Max. 

Likewise, while the grinder is suitable for an all-encompassing espresso machine like the EM5300, the grinder is prone to overheating after longer periods of use. For users who plan to grind for multiple cups at a time, we recommend dividing the grinding into batches to avoid overheating the unit.

RELATED: Sunbeam EM7000 Cafe Series Review

Is the Sunbeam Barista Max right for you?

Whether you’re looking for a mid-range espresso machine to take brewing coffee at home to the next level, or are looking for a reliable machine that provides a sample of commercial-grade features at a reasonable price, the Sunbeam EM5300 could be the perfect addition to your kitchen. The Sunbeam Barista Max offers users an efficient brewing process while still providing opportunities to gain brewing experience.

Pros:

  • 2.8 Litre water tank capacity
  • Integrated burr grinder with 30 settings
  • Temp IQ shot control
  • One-touch navigation for ease of use
  • 1-year manufacturer’s warranty

Cons:

  • Slow heat-up time for the steam wand
  • Grinder can overheat during long periods of use
  • Learning curve with grind size

While this espresso machine may not be suitable for users looking for completely automated brewing, the EM5300 provides users access to a surplus of advanced features and great value for money.

RELATED: Sunbeam Cafe Barista Review

Alternatives

Breville Bambino Plus

The Breville Bambino Plus is a compact espresso machine that packs power. While this coffee maker doesn’t include a grinder like the Sunbeam Barista Max, it works well for users with countertop space constraints.

RELATED: Breville Bambino Plus Review

This semi-automatic machine costs less than most other Breville models but is built with the same quality materials and features. With Thermojet heating technology, the Bambino Plus has a 3-second heat-up time for espresso and milk texturing. Likewise, this coffee maker includes automatic milk texturing and controls to adjust milk temperature and texture.

What this coffee machine lacks in a coffee grinder it makes up for with powerful heating and frothing technology, a compact footprint, and precise espresso extraction.

Breville The Infuser

Similar to the Breville Bambino Plus, Breville the Infuser is a semi-automatic espresso machine without a built-in grinder. This device falls into a lower price range than the Sunbeam EM5300 and does rely upon more manual control over the brewing process.

This coffee maker includes a handful of features like a built-in pressure gauge to monitor optimal extraction, a high-power steam wand to create microfoam and latte art, and flexible shot control. 

For users looking for a semi-automatic machine with a smaller countertop footprint, or for more control over your espresso, the Infuser could be a great option.

Breville The Barista Express

The Breville Barista Express is probably the best like-for like alternative to the Sunbeam Barista Max espresso machine. This all-in-one semi-automatic machine includes a grinder and steam wand.

Like the EM5300, the Barista Express grinder comes with 30 different settings. In exchange for the Thermoblock system, the Barista Express uses a Breville’s Thermocoil system. Both models fair similarly when it comes to consistent temperature control.

Both coffee machines are at a similar price and offer comparable features. The coffee makers do vary when it comes to the strength of the milk wand, with the Breville steam wand being generally considered to be slightly better with texturing consistency.

Further, the Barista Express has a larger footprint, so if you’re constrained by space the Sunbeam is likely to be your best bet.

To Wrap Up

Whether you’re looking for a mid-range espresso machine to start your home brewing journey, or are looking to upgrade to an efficient model that provides a sampling of commercial features at an affordable price point, the Sunbeam Barista Max is a device that stands out among others for its features and value for money.

FAQ

Is the Sunbeam Barista Max Good?

The Sunbeam Barists Max espresso machine offers users quality features at an affordable cost. While this is not the most feature packed or premium semi-automatic espresso machine on the market, it does offer good value for money and consistent high-quality espresso. Its efficient design and innovative TempIQ shot control allows users to brew cafe-style coffee at home.

How do I descale my Sunbeam Barista Max?

There are two primary options for descaling a Sunbeam Barista Max espresso machine. Either you can use Sunbeam espresso machine descaling tablets or Sunbeam liquid descaler. Users can fill the reservoir with 1 litre of warm water and add the tablet, or add half a capful of liquid descaler. After you’ve prepped your machine, follow the three-step descaling procedure in the Barista max instruction manual.

Review Summary

Barista Max

The Sunbeam Barista Max is a popular mid-range espresso machine. With its TempIQ shot control system and Touch & Go navigation, this semi-automatic machine offers many commercial-grade features for its price.

Product SKU: EM5300

Product Brand: Sunbeam

Product Currency: AUD

Product Price: $749

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3