My sunbeam em5600 coffee machine isn't working. It's worked unreliably but now it seems to be consistently not working. Plenty of water comes from the showerhead when there's no group handle in. I am able to get steam from the steamer but it runs out of steam quickly. I can't get any hot water stream from the steam wand.

When I put a single basket in the group handle it works. When I put fine or coarse or nothing in the double basket nothing comes out anymore. I have occasionally seen a drop of water coming out over the top when the group handle is in but nothing more so I don't think it's the rubber ring. When I take the group handle out after a failed attempt there is a squeak noise so there definitely water built up under some sort of pressure. I soaked the baskets in vinegar for at least 12 hours last night, didn't help. I cleaned the machine every few months which is far more often than what the manual recommends.

For as long as I've had the machine which I got used I find the large water reserve can't fall below half for the machine to work.

I do tend to aim for a very fine espresso grind, but it works in the single basket. My grounds have never formed the hard biscuit that you get when using professional machines.

Is there a simple fix here like a new ring or basket or is it the water pump? If so how hard would it be to replace on my own?

1 Answer 1


It's basically impossible for us to know what exactly causes the problem, but it does seem to me as if the basket is clogged with something. Probably built up residues of the coffee and fiber that's stuck in the small holes. It could of course be the pump, but then water would definitely flow out if you run it empty and the single basket should be affected as well.

If it's clogged filter you can try soaking it in hot water with an espresso machine cleaning detergent over night. But since you already soaked it in vinegar I don't think that would be fruitful.

You can also, carefully, put the porta filter over a gas stove to burn the residue. Hold it over the flame for a bit until it gets hot enough to burn it, then tap it against your kitchen table or some other heat resistant surface. That should do the trick. Afterwards you can clean it again normally and it should work again.

Lastly you can of course push through the holes with a very thin needle, but that is quite tedious work and would take a long time.

  • Thank you. Putting it on the burner solved the problem. I probably over did it though. The center looks a little anodysed now. I probably should have spent less time burning and more time banging in between cycles. I also should have done the pin trick first. When burning and banging i was also worried it would alter the shape of the basket so i made sure to force it back into the group handle after each cycle. But this is awesome. Thanks.
    – wardtrim
    Apr 12, 2018 at 6:47
  • Well I meant more little taps instead of outright banging it against something and also just burning the residue and not heating it into a glowing stick :). But I'm glad it worked anyways.
    – avocado1
    Apr 12, 2018 at 11:23
  • It pretty much needed a burning every few uses. I bought a new basket and it works much better
    – wardtrim
    Oct 4, 2018 at 9:13

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