Sunbeam Cafe Barista Review (EM5000)

The Sunbeam Cafe Barista is a popular choice for an entry-level espresso machine. Its compact footprint, touch screen navigation, and automatic milk system set this semi-automatic machine above others in its price range.

In the review below, we cover the pros and cons of the Sunbeam EM5000 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.

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Who is the Cafe Barista for?

The Sunbeam EM5000 is the perfect start-up coffee machine for beginning at-home espresso drinkers. While it does require some coffee knowledge to maximize its performance, this easy-to-use device is a great value for its price. Likewise, its compact footprint makes it a great fit for users with limited countertop space.

This product is not suitable for consumers looking for a fully-automated machine. While the device does the heavy lifting when it comes to steaming, the EM5000 requires users to measure, tamp, and set up their coffee prior to brewing.

With the one-touch navigation system, this device doesn’t give users much control over the brewing temperature and pressure. Users who prefer more manual control over the brewing process may want to invest in a machine with more hands-on settings. 

Unlike other espresso machines on the market this Sunbeam coffee machine does not include a built-in coffee grinder. For users who enjoy the convenience of an all-in-one espresso maker, this machine may not be a suitable fit. If the lack of a grinder isn’t a dealbreaker, this machine pairs well with a quality burr grinder.

Getting Started with the Sunbeam EM5000

Despite its small footprint, this semi-automatic coffee machine adds value with access to high-tech features. Designed and engineered in Australia, this device is constructed with plastic housing and metal internal parts. The EM5000 includes a removable milk reservoir and steam wand.

The compact and sleek design takes up little countertop space, and its three colours (stainless steel, black, and white rose gold) give users the versatility to match other kitchen appliances.

The Sunbeam Cafe Barista is designed for easy navigation between each step of the brewing process. Users find the group head at the machine’s left and the milk reservoir and automatic wand to the right. In the upper right corner of this coffee maker, users can find the one-touch navigation screen.

Along with the removable 470ml milk reservoir, the Sunbeam EM5000 includes a 2-litre removable water tank and drip tray. The machine pairs well with any size coffee cup with its pull-out adjustable tray. 

Along with the coffee machine, the Sunbeam EM5000 includes metal filter baskets in single and double shot sizes, a portafilter, and a measuring scoop/tamper. Unlike other coffee makers on the market, the Sunbeam EM5000 does not include an auto-off feature.

Noteworthy Features

One-Touch Control Panel

With an innovative one-touch control, this machine makes it easy to consistently prepare good coffee. Users can select coffee options such as espresso, cappuccino, or latte, and the machine will prepare the coffee with the press of a button.

While only three buttons are present on the control panel, the machine includes instructions for this easy-to-use system. Pressing each button once will automatically brew a single shot of espresso or a small cappuccino or latte. By pressing either button twice, users can brew a double shot of espresso, a large latte, or a large cappuccino.

For users who want more control over their cup of coffee, simply press and hold any of the buttons down to access manual options. The manual setting for the first button customizes how much coffee is in your beverage. The second button controls the amount of milk froth in the beverage. The final manual setting controls the cleaning cycle for the milk dispensing tube.

Automatic Milk Frother

While the Sunbeam EM5000 is a semi-automatic coffee machine, it comes equipped with an automated steam wand. This feature is usually unique to higher-end coffee machines and eliminates the guesswork and learning curve required to froth milk to the correct consistency.

Instead of manually steaming milk to the desired texture for your drink, simply turn the dial to select the desired milk amount for your beverage, and the frother will take care of the rest. The Sunbeam Cafe Barista will automatically froth milk to the correct consistency after the machine has finished brewing coffee. 

Another aspect of this milk system that sets the EM5000 apart from alternative coffee machines in its price range is its removable milk tank. After brewing, users can easily store the reservoir in the fridge between uses. This allows the milk to stay as fresh as possible, and in turn maximizing the flavour of your coffee.

Thermoblock Heating System

With the inclusion of a Thermoblock heating system, the Sunbeam EM5000 has a faster heat-up time than coffee machines using boiler systems. 

While this coffee machine has separate heating blocks for the milk and water reservoirs, the machine can only apply heat to one block at a time.The Sunbeam EM5000 comes with pre-programmed heat settings for optimum coffee extraction and milk foam.

What do users think of the EM5000K?

Positives:

One of the points of overwhelming praise for the Sunbeam Cafe Barista is in its easy-to-use navigation screen. While this entry-level coffee maker incorporates some high-tech features, users aren’t overwhelmed with confusing bells and whistles. With the three primary buttons, a power switch, and turn dial, users can easily control the amount of coffee and milk foam they get in each cup of coffee.

Many reviewers of the Sunbeam EM5000 love the ability to remove the milk reservoir from the device between uses. This semi-automatic espresso maker eliminates the use for a milk jug, and makes measuring for the perfect latte or cappuccino simple with its turn dial and one-touch button. Users don’t have to worry about wasting milk because of overmeasuring. The automated frothing feature measures the correct amount for each programmed specialty drink.

With the housing of the Sunbeam EM5000 being made of plastic, users appreciate the 12-month product replacement warranty that comes with each device. Many reviewers recommend regular cleaning for this coffee maker, especially for the steam wand.

RELATED: The Best Sunbeam Coffee Machines

Negatives:

While most users enjoy the convenience of the one-touch navigation, the absence of temperature and pressure controls on this coffee maker can cause the extraction to be inconsistent. With the one-touch system, users need to rely more on the grind size in order to ensure optimum extraction for their coffee. 

The Sunbeam EM5000 needs a precise grind size in order to brew flavourful coffee. Per the device manual, the optimum grind size should look like salt. If the grind is a powdery fine, water will not flow through the ground coffee correctly under pressure. If too coarse, the espresso will be under-extracted. 

One final quirk reviewers have observed with this machine is its inability to adjust to non-dairy milk. Since nut milk requires a lower temperature for frothing, the lack of temperature control in this device makes accommodating different milk types difficult.

Is the EM5000 right for you?

Whether you’re looking for an entry-level espresso machine to get your coffee journey started, or a semi-automatic espresso machine with a snapshot of mid-range features, the Sunbeam EM5000 is a well-rounded espresso machine to consider. The Sunbeam EM5000 offers users a taste of automatic features, while still providing opportunities to gain brewing experience.

Pros:

  • One-Touch control
  • Automatic milk-frothing
  • Thermoblock heating system
  • 12-month replacement warranty

Cons:

  • Cannot adjust temperature settings
  • Milk system doesn’t accommodate for non-dairy options
  • Struggles with fine grinds

While this coffee machine may not be suitable for users looking for manual control over temperature and pressure while brewing, the EM5000 offers users access to a surplus of advanced features at a good value.

Alternatives

How does the Sunbeam EM5000 compare to its competition?  We’ve lined it up against some of our favourite comparable coffee machines below.

Nespresso DeLonghi Inissia Capsule Coffee Machine

For users looking for a quick and efficient brewing experience, the Nespresso Delonghi Inissia pod machine is a cost efficient alternative to the EM5000. This pod machine includes a 19-bar pressure pump, as well as an attached frothing system. The Aeroccino milk system includes memory functions for cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos, long coffee, and hot water. 

Like the EM5000, the Delonghi Inissia has a compact footprint. This coffee maker takes the prep that comes with coffee grounds out of the equation for a clean, efficient brewing experience. This device also costs less in comparison to the Sunbeam Cafe Barista and comes with a 2 year warranty.

Sunbeam Mini Barista Espresso Machine

The Sunbeam Mini Barista is another great coffee machine for users working with small countertop space. This machine is in a similar price range as the EM5000, and has similar features like auto shot volumetric control, Thermoblock heating, and 15-bar pressure. 

Unlike the automatic frothing feature on the EM5000, the Sunbeam Mini Barista has an adjustable steam wand for manual use. Likewise, this machine doesn’t include a removable reservoir for milk. However, the Mini Barista does include some commercial-grade features like a 58mm group head and accurate temperature control with a PID heating system. 

This small espresso machine packs a lot of power into its dimensions, and is a great option for users who want more manual control over the brewing process.

Breville Compact Cafe Espresso Machine

The Breville Compact Cafe coffee machine is another great alternative machine in the same price range. This device comes with a dual-action dial to engage the espresso and steam wand on the machine. Like the EM5000, there are no temperature or pressure gauges on the interface. The Compact cafe includes a manual steam wand with enough power to texture milk for lattes and capuccinos. 

The Compact Cafe is coffee pod compatible, meaning users are able to switch between ground coffee and coffee pods with the change of a filter. This device comes equipped with three stainless steel filters for a single shot, double shot, and pod option. Each filter is fashioned with Breville’s dual-wall crema technology ensure a smooth coffee flavour profile. 

To Wrap Up

Whether you’re looking for an easy-to-use entry-level espresso machine to begin your at-home coffee routine, or are looking for an efficient model that provides a modern look for any kitchen, the Sunbeam Cafe Barista is a device that stands out among others for its available features and value for its cost.

How do you use the Sunbeam EM5000?

After filling both reservoirs with water and milk, select your single or double shot filter wall, and place it in the portafilter. Fill the portafilter with finely-ground coffee, and tamp evenly. Once you insert the portafilter into the group head, you’re ready to turn on the device and select your brewing options. Before selecting your espresso option, turn the milk dial on the frother to your desired milk amount. Then use the one-touch control panel to choose your beverage and serving size.

How do you clean a Sunbeam milk frother?

Sunbeam recommends regular cleaning of the milk frother between uses. After preparing a beverage with milk, users can store the reservoir in the fridge for next time. In order to clean the frother between uses, users can place a large empty cup under the frothing tube. Make sure there is water remaining in the tank. Aim the dispensing tube into the empty cup and adjust the froth control knob to “Clean”. 

Then, press and hold the Latte/Clean button on the interface. Release the button once the machine’s pump starts up. The clean function will run for about 30 seconds, and automatically shut off. Once completed, throw the contents in the cup away.

Review Summary

Cafe Barista

The Sunbeam Cafe Barista is a popular choice for an entry-level espresso machine. Its compact footprint, touch screen navigation, and automatic milk system set this semi-automatic machine above others in its price range.

Product SKU: EM5000

Product Brand: Sunbeam

Product Currency: AUD

Product Price: $329

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.7