Thread Number: 79346  /  Tag: Small Appliances
Sunbeam C50 quick question
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Post# 1032653   5/14/2019 at 19:06 (387 days old) by Paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        

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Just picked up a great C50. Works perfectly.
However, is there any way to reheat the coffee once the initial brew process has completed?
Thanks much!

Post# 1032656 , Reply# 1   5/14/2019 at 19:18 (387 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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I think you would just leave it on warm to keep the coffee hot. Or, if you had unplugged the pot with coffee still left, I would also reheat it on the warm setting. If you use the high or brew setting to reheat, I’d stand right there and watch it like a hawk, because it will come to a boil very rapidly, the warm setting would prevent burned leftover coffee.


Post# 1032661 , Reply# 2   5/14/2019 at 20:50 (387 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Congrats and weclome to my world

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Have nearly NIB C50, but rarely use....

No, the "warm" function on this coffeemaker relies upon whatever heat remains from brewing process. Once the thermostat clicks off to "warm" that is all there is heat wise. This is not a bad thing since these pots retain so much heat after brewing the kick down/extraction takes rather longer than many prefer. In fact that is the one reason many do not like C-50 vac pots. It is rather difficult to avoid over extracted brew.

One just decants coffee made in C-50 into a serving thermos carafe as with all other brew made in vac pots, automatic or range top.

Since C-50 lower pot cannot be submerged in water you really don't want coffee remaining longer than necessary anyway IMHO. The eventual residue/staining will sooner or later require deep cleaning to remove in order to keep coffee fresh tasting. Problem is by the time Sunbeam came out with C-50 vacuum coffee brewing was in decline, so they took some of the money out of design. The chrome plating inside these pots isn't nearly as robust compared to earlier models. Owners have literally scrubbed off this layer in aide of getting lower pot clean.

In particular because lower pot gets very hot during brewing the first attempts at kick down cause liquid to almost flash evaporate (or burn more like), until temps cool enough for full draw down. That residue will be a particular concern. And it is often the bottom of lower pot around heating element that people have scrubbed to death removing layer of plating in process.

Post# 1032662 , Reply# 3   5/14/2019 at 21:03 (387 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        
Re: Reply #2

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Well, this is a change from the C-30’s. I’ve owned 4 and they all kept the coffee hot on the low setting. There are separate thermostat adjustments for both the high and low settings. I had a problem with two of mine in the low setting, where the setting wouldn’t hold and the coffee would boil on the low setting. This is ultimately why I gave up on using a Coffeemaster as a daily driver. But, that said, I’m glad that I had the experience of owning them and using them. They are built like tanks, and beautiful examples of 1930 thru 1950’s design and workmanship.


Post# 1032668 , Reply# 4   5/14/2019 at 21:39 (387 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Many actually prefer older Sunbeam automatic vac pots over the C-50 for many reasons. Problem is often the gaskets on older units is shot or nearly so making the pot almost useless.

Give Sunbeam credit for attempts at perfecting state of the art, and had drip coffeemakers not made huge inroads into the market things may have ended differently. But as noted by time Sunbeam came out with C-50 auto drip pots were fast taking over from vacuum coffee brewing. It was either them or auto perc pots.

In the interest of science just went and plugged in my C50 and left knob on "warm". After several minutes pot didn't feel any warmer so am still going with previous statements. When knob is turned to "brew" light comes on and things quickly and noticeably start warming up.

Post# 1032671 , Reply# 5   5/15/2019 at 01:53 (387 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

I've been on the look out on and off - off at the moment - for a C50.  Got a 20 a d few 30's but always wanted a 50.  Prices too high for the limited use it would get.


For some reason I always thought the C50's were immersible, fully sealed with no options of adjusting the thermostats.

Post# 1032674 , Reply# 6   5/15/2019 at 05:58 (386 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
You're not missing much IMHO

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As stated got a near or totally NIB C50 years ago; used it a few times and that was it, has sat sitting ever since.

Just too much work with timing and all to prevent over extracted/burnt coffee. Can get better results using stove top vac pots. Now that have switched over to metal (FlavorSeal) no more worries about breaking things.....

Far as one knows C50's are "sealed" in that the base isn't supposed to be taken off to adjust thermostat. Recall seeing service manuals for earlier Sunbeam automatic vac pots that gave directions for "adjusting" internal thermostat.

In the C50's favor it does make *HOT* coffee. You have to watch friends/family if using it at a party or whatever because unsuspecting persons may touch outer surface of lower pot and get a nasty surprise.

Really don't bring out my auto vac pots now for that reason. There is always that family member or guest who insists on "helping" and or is in awe of the thing "how does this work?", "what does this do?", "can I help?". You warn them off because these things do get hot, but never the less they reach across or otherwise touch the pot and there you are.

Certainly do not use any of those small Silex stoves at table either for that reason. Everything is done in kitchen and coffee brought out when ready.

Post# 1032676 , Reply# 7   5/15/2019 at 06:50 (386 days old) by Paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        
I learned a lot!

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Thank you all and especially Launderess for the succinct yet information-filled responses. I am glad to have the information.
I have been through a number of C30s in the past. And as we all know, those have a warm function which is nice. Wasn’t sure if my C50 knob was jammed or it just didn’t have a warm feature. I now know.
I really liked the C30s but they seem to have a high mortality for me. It seems to me, and I may be wrong, that the C30s suffer from some adjustment drift resulting in tepid coffee or boil-overs. Being a techie this doesn’t bother me as I find malfunctions just as interesting as good performance (as least with coffee makers). However, since I got a very good C50 for near nothing at a thrift store - I will tolerate its ideosyncrasies.
I have always found these coffee makers fun. One of my recently deceased C30s took me off-guard. I make my morning coffee and was reading the paper. The C30 cycled off but I continued reading. I suddenly heard “whomp whomp whomp whomp” and looked to see a coffee volcano on the counter.
That coffeemaker was retired and so I went back to my GE-Universal for a while. I’ve tried adjusting the pots but find it too much to do. Shame. Sunbeam Service was nearby for many years but is long gone.

Post# 1032692 , Reply# 8   5/15/2019 at 09:49 (386 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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I’ve had the same experience with the unexpected boil overs on the low setting with my C-30’s too, also the not hot enough coffee. I had the repair manual bookmarked and learned how to adjust both the high and low thermostats. The only problem is that the settings wouldn’t hold. I have some very small open ended wrenches that allowed me to make the adjustments, but without the proper tools the tighten down the adjustment after it has been made, the screws work loose again, and the accurate settings are lost.

I had no idea that the C-50 didn’t keep warm on low, thats why I made the recommendation to use the low setting to reheat/keep warm. Seems very stupid for Sunbeam to have deleted this feature on an “automatic” coffee maker, that kind of defeats the whole purpose of it being automatic. I used to covet having a C-50, not now, I’ll pass. But I hope that you enjoy yours. They go for a pretty penny the last time I checked.


Post# 1032696 , Reply# 9   5/15/2019 at 10:50 (386 days old) by Paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        
The joy of Goodwill

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I think I paid $3.00 for my C50 at Goodwill. Ultimately I’ll get five dollars of fun and some passable coffee along the way. Not a bad deal - me thinks.

Post# 1032697 , Reply# 10   5/15/2019 at 10:59 (386 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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Such a deal, LOL.

Post# 1032699 , Reply# 11   5/15/2019 at 11:42 (386 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Wow, that is a great price! 


I stopped looking when the C50's price got north of $50 - That was about my limit for an item I might occasionally use, more a curiosity.  These prices tend to go in cycles and at some point they will be down again and I might buy.

Post# 1032706 , Reply# 12   5/15/2019 at 13:51 (386 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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I’ve just looked at several pictures of C-50’s on ebay, and they all show the switchs to have a “warm” position.

So, it would seem that originally these Sunbeam C-50s DID have the capability to keep the coffee warm, which only makes sense for a coffeemaker that is advertised as being automatic. So, if the C-50’ owned by Laundress and PaulG no longer keep the coffee warm, perhaps both of these appliances no longer function as Sunbeam originally intended and are broken, otherwise why would the switches have a “warm” designation on them?


This post was last edited 05/15/2019 at 14:07
Post# 1032709 , Reply# 13   5/15/2019 at 15:10 (386 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
IIRC The "Automatic"

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Of Sunbeam's C50 coffeemasters was that the process was just that; fill lower chamber with water, upper with filter and coffee, attach together, plug in, and turn to "brew". From then on nothing else need to be done until brew was complete.

Sunbeam touted their improved design sent currents of hot water surging into upper globe that mixed and distributed coffee. With other models of vac pots and certainly range/stove top one must stir the coffee and water to create an even brew.

Also again the C50 switched itself off at proper time instead of one having to unplug or turn off/down heat. Again totally automatic.

Regarding the warming function or lack thereof; will have to see if can lay hands on owners manual and or box to see what there is.

These units are rather heavy for size and get very hot. So again am assuming the "warm" function was merely using carried over heat from brewing to keep coffee warm. Only way to truly see if any current is drawn during "warm" would be to take the thing apart and get out a multi-meter. Am not going down that road. *LOL*

Never left coffee in lower pot with unit plugged in, so cannot say what temp coffee is fifteen minutes or even an hour later.

Post# 1032714 , Reply# 14   5/15/2019 at 15:36 (386 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        
Re: Reply#13

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“Never left coffee in lower pot with unit plugged in, so cannot say what temp coffee is fifteen minutes or even an hour later. “

If you've never tried the keep warm function, how can you imply that the info I gave was incorrect?

I realize that you know a great deal about vacuum coffee brewing and equipment, but so do others here. We can all learn from one another, I thought that this was part of the point of this website.

And to me an “automatic” coffee brewer does more than just brew the coffee and turn off, it also keeps the coffee warm until the pot of coffee has been consumed, rather than having to reheat the coffee with some other method.

And if the C-20’s and 30’s had a keep warm function, I seriously doubt that Sunbeam would have done away with this feature. And if the switch has a “warm” position, I’m also sure that this wasn’t meant to be warmth due to retained heat.

If I’m wrong I’ll always graciously admit it and be thankful to have learned something new. I’m well aware that I’m not always right, but about this topic, I believe that I’m correct.

Post# 1032716 , Reply# 15   5/15/2019 at 16:08 (386 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Answered your query in another post.

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Yesterday got out the C50 and plugged in the lower unit, but left knob at "warm". Light did not go on and after several minutes things were no warmer than before, thus going with nothing happening with heating coils. Maybe heat was so low one didn't notice, but then how could it keep brew at any reasonable temp?

Also as noted when tested and knob moved to "brew" my C50 got hot rather quickly.

In aid of settling this debate when can find a moment will haul out the C50 again, but test using infrared thermometer to check for temperature changes of lower globe when set to "warm".

This post was last edited 05/15/2019 at 16:24
Post# 1032735 , Reply# 16   5/15/2019 at 20:18 (386 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Alright then!

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Got the Sunbeam C50 box down to find owners manual/instructions. And I was right, wasn't I? These units do not keep coffee "warm" after brewing by any other method than whatever heat is left afterwards.

" .... To REHEAT cold coffee turn switch to left a short period of time until coffee starts to agitate then turn switch back to warm."

In a bit of double speak Sunbeam does say " ... In a short the switch will click to "WARM" setting and in a few minutes later the coffee will return to the lower bowl where it will automatically keep at perfect serving temperature.

These two bit of directions seemingly contradict each other. If the "warm" function keeps coffee at correct serving temperature indefinitely (well long as unit is plugged in) why does Sunbeam go on to advise on how to reheat *cold* coffee?

My theory is that Sunbeam implies coffee as kept at proper "serving temperature" for immediate consumption. This rather than an hour or so later.

As for "automatic" Sunbeam says:

" The art of making perfect coffee is dependent upon these things; The coffee itself must be good grade. The water must be at the correct high temperature when it mixes with the coffee. All water must rise to the brew-top and then vigorously agitate with the coffee. The coffee must then brew for the correct period of tie. ......The Sunbeam Coffeemaster Coffeemaker controls these conditions automatically and therefore gives you the sae delicious coffee every time you make it...".

Clearly Sunbeam made changes between C20, C30 and the C50. For whatever reasons it was decided to eliminate the electrically heating warming function of earlier models. Then again as have said (and others say so as well), by time Sunbeam came out with the C50 vacuum coffee makers were in decline, and in response they took some of the money out of these units. Interior plating of lower pot and other changes are proof of cost cutting.

Post# 1032736 , Reply# 17   5/15/2019 at 20:24 (386 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Notice in directions for C30 Sunbeam states to reheat coffee that has become cold in lower vessel to plug in unit then switch to "low". That will reheat coffee without bringing liquid to high temperature. Sunbeam also warns against setting regulator to "high" to reheat coffee. This is almost exact opposite of directions for reheating coffee in the C50.

Ergo and ipso facto we must assume the "warm" function on C50 does not engage any sort of heating at all. For all intents and purposes it simply means "off".

Post# 1032740 , Reply# 18   5/15/2019 at 20:58 (386 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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thanks for the detailed info. The C50 directions do seem contradictory, regarding reheating cold coffee vs keeping the already brewed coffee at “correct serving temperature”, which I know from experience with C30’s, even with the heavy chrome clad copper, the coffee would cool fairly rapidly once unplugged.

The instructions for the C30 are what I was referring to in my original suggestion. I’m very familiar with the C30 instructions, and I just assumed that surely the C50 would function in a similar way, my bad.


Post# 1032744 , Reply# 19   5/15/2019 at 21:33 (386 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Reheating coffee by high heat

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Or even low is one way to ruin coffee. Have tried the odd cups of coffee reheated in microwave (mostly dregs of a pot made earlier still left in carafe), but find it always wanting. Far better to brew a fresh pot or even haul out the K-cup machine. This or have a small moka expresso pot that use for a quick cuppa.

Would be interesting to find out exactly why the "keep warm/low" heating function was eliminated in C50. Was it purely a cost saving measure or something else related to the new design.

People go either way with Sunbeam vac pots. Some love the C20 and or C30's. Others prefer the C50's. One thing is certain gaskets on C50's seem less of an issue than earlier efforts. Have acquired a few old Sunbeam C50's and gaskets were fine, this and they have sat sitting for years unused suffering no ill effects. OTOH cannot say same about C20's or C30's, have seen too many fingers burned.

Post# 1032792 , Reply# 20   5/16/2019 at 12:04 (385 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        
Found a Very Informative Blog

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on the C-50 Coffeemaster. It is quite lengthly, but there are several references to the C-50 warm setting actually keeping the brewed coffee hot. There is even mention that the coffee may be reheated on the warm setting, but it is slower than on the C-30’s. There are also several postings giving instructions for adjusting the thermostats on the C-50, it can be done, and the process is similar to the adjustment procedure for the C-30’s. The hex nut on the bottom of the base needs to be taken out to gain access to the thermostats.

If someone actually has a copy of the C-50 owners manual, I’m sure that I and others here would be interested in reading the actual printed instructions, rather than the the the partial instructions that have been recorded on this thread.

As they say curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought him back.


Post# 1032827 , Reply# 21   5/16/2019 at 18:30 (385 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Believe one posted that link elsewhere IIRC.

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No where in that post and or comments which follow does it state that the C50 has a "warm" function that uses a lower thermostat setting, or anything else besides residual heat to keep coffee warm.

One comment does say this:

"P. S. All Coffeemaster models up, but not including the C50, are wondrous for re-heating coffee. Leave off the top top, put the thermostat on low, and fill with as much old coffee as you wish to re-heat. The heating element will heat quickly, but thermostat will prevent burning. Wait for two or more heating cycles (you can hear them) if you want your coffee fully hot. A microwave for 10 seconds at the end may or may not be needed, depending on exactly where the thermostat is set. Try it – it’s a good alternative to microwaving a cup of coffee, which burns the heck out of it."

That comment came from same person who also posted about various differences between Sunbeam Coffeemaster coffemakers, and gave instructions on how to adjust brew time via removing base.

Same person also says:

"The Coffeemaster C30s all have two thermostats. One is set to about 220 degrees Fahrenheit, and the other to about 160 to hold the coffee at a good drinking temperature. A lever on the bottom can be used to force which thermostat is used. To the left is the high temperature, which is used for brewing. After brewing, it automatically clicks to the lower temperature position."

Again he is referring not to the C50, but an earlier model of Coffeemaster coffeemaker.

Post# 1032842 , Reply# 22   5/16/2019 at 22:49 (385 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        
Here are Two of the Posts

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that indicate the warm setting on the C50 does in fact heat. The first states that it keeps the coffee hot for an extended period of time without burning it. Something that wouldn’t be possible if the warm setting effectively turned off the current.

The second post goes into detail about adjusting the thermostat on the C50 to shorten the brewing time, something that is controlled by the warm setting, and how much heat is in the lower chamber, As we all know the temp must drop low enough for the draw down to commence.

I really have no desire to continue this exercise in futility. Launderess, if you do have the owners manual for the C50, if you could kindly post it, as it is printed, the mystery could come to an end. I still contend that Sunbeam would not have labeled the switch “warm”, if it in effect was actually “off” as you interpret the directions. The directions that you transcribed were vague and contradictory, and open for individual interpretation.

And please, understand that I mean no disrespect by my seemingly ceaseless questioning. But like Judge Judy says, “If something doesn’t make sense, its likely not true.”


Jim Black/Factoid
Posted September 16, 2017 at 2:38 am | Permalink

I use five coffee scoops (1/8 cup, 2 oz, 4 Tbls each) for a full pot, and never brew a half pot. You will find, by the way, that Coffeemasters keep the coffee hot for an extended period without burning it. The C30 series is very good at quickly reheating a half pot while keeping the taste quite good. The C50 will keep coffee hot, but takes a half hour or more to heat it up. I’ll explain the reason for that last if anyone asks.

The grind to use always depends primarily on how long the infusion time is. If the grinds will be in contact with the water for a longer period, then a courser grind can and should be used. The infusion time on these pots varies a bit, but is usually on the longer side. Assuming this is true for your C30A, a somewhat coarser grind would be appropriate.

The other factor affecting the grind is how fine the filter is. The C30C has a stainless steel filter which is easier to clean, but is not as fine as the cloth filters used on the original C30. If I use a fine grind in my C30C, there will be a bit of “fines” in the bottom of the pot.

Note that the infusion time on the C30 and C50 series is adjustable. See Jim Lauck’s excellent comment above for details.

Jim Black
Posted May 13, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
Those directions are in a previous comment from Jim Lauck. Here is a re-post in full:

Jim Lauck
Posted January 14, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink
A comment about brewing time on the C50: It is adjustable. There is a hex head screw in the base of the
unit. One must first remove the bakelite base from the lower bowl. Remove the hex screw in the middle of
the bottom. Then you must remove the two hex nuts from the electrical prongs. The bakelite base will now
slip off. You will see a 6-32 machine screw with a hex head on the contact assembly. Turning this screw to
the right pushes the contact assembly closer to the bi-metallic strip and shortens the brewing time (shuts
off faster). Turning the screw to the left (counterclockwise) lengthens the brewing time. I recommend
turning the screw only 1/2 turn at a time, putting it all back together and do a test run with only water. My
C50 pushes the all the water up and switches off within 5 to 10 seconds. It pulls down in less than a
minute. Bought mine at the Salvation Army for $1 in the early 1970’s. If you take care of it, it lasts forever
and makes great coffee.


This post was last edited 05/17/2019 at 02:17
Post# 1032844 , Reply# 23   5/16/2019 at 23:02 (385 days old) by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

pour the coffee from the C-50 into the C-30 and heat it up that way

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Post# 1035424 , Reply# 24   6/15/2019 at 20:34 (355 days old) by dhowlan (L.A.)        
C50 warming and a request


This is my first post. I felt compelled to sign up in order to sort out the big question of whether a c50 has a warming feature. I have had the pleasure of owning a c30A for a while and acquired a c50 a few days ago. I just wanted to report that it does, indeed, have a warming feature. I have tested it two ways, letting it "brew" and then switch to warm and also from cold/unplugged. Both ways, it does warm the liquid.
I should add that while I have gone through adjusting every bit of the c30 so that it works to spec, i have only just received the c50 so I can't say i know the details of what temp it brews at and what temp it warms to. It turns on, switches to warm and that's all I can say at this point. I'll report the details when i get it sorted. I haven't even made coffee in it yet.

Related to this, I have found the c30 manuals online, but no trace of either the owners or service manual for a c50. It would be fantastic if anyone has either and could post a scan.

Thanks for everyone's input. Much appreciated.

Post# 1035708 , Reply# 25   6/19/2019 at 10:08 (351 days old) by mixrman (Eutaw, Alabama)        

I do not have the service manual for the c-50, but I do have the parts list and diagram- would that help?

Post# 1035716 , Reply# 26   6/19/2019 at 12:35 (351 days old) by brainardcooper (Columbia, SC)        

I have the exact one as the one referenced in Reply # 17 owners manual. Used it this past weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Coffee was excellent. A lot of fun listening to it operate and it "automatically" switches from High to Low after the brewing is complete!

Post# 1035728 , Reply# 27   6/19/2019 at 15:24 (351 days old) by dhowlan (L.A.)        
Parts list

I think that the parts list and diagram would help. Thanks. For some reason, the light was working the first two times and isn't today. At the very least, it would help me sort out a bulb if i need one.

Post# 1035798 , Reply# 28   6/20/2019 at 13:01 (350 days old) by dhowlan (L.A.)        
c50 innards pictures

I took it apart today to investigate the light issue. Here are some photos.

I should mention there was a cafiza overflow incident that was more substantial than I thought when it happened. I guess the seals on this are not perfect. My advice, don't submerge it. :)
It seems the overflow saturated the insulation on the light bulb leads (or wicks in this case) and shorted the light. The bulb is clearly not something to worry about. I'm curious if the parts list gives a name to this kind of bulb. It appears to have no element. Two rods that arc?

After opening it, this design is, if anything, easier to navigate than the c30. Disassembly requires removing a 9/16" socket bolt from the bottom, then removing two 5/16" nuts from the power prongs. One nut was tricky as the socket wouldn't fit in the space. I used needle nose pliers to get it started. There is a seal under the bottom bolt and washer. There is a seal in the base at the edge. There are two seals, one on each prong, at the power supply leads.

Unfortunately, the photos I took avoided (sorry) the one adjustment that can be made. There is a small bolt/screw that can be screwed in and out. Jim Lauck's description above is the one to go by as i didn't need at this point to mess with that. The adjuster is on the opposite side of the power prongs in the main exposed photo. The last two photos show the switch points warm vs brew. As my daughter has said, it gives a satisfying click in either direction.

All in all, this was a far less intimidating thing than I had anticipated. If you have any experience with appliances and such, this is basic. The light works again.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 7         View Full Size
Post# 1035863 , Reply# 29   6/21/2019 at 01:50 (350 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

The bulb is just your basic neon bulb, been around forever.   They glow orangeish  red should be easily replaceable, but they really don’t usually burn out, so you may have other issues.

Post# 1035930 , Reply# 30   6/21/2019 at 09:46 (349 days old) by mixrman (Eutaw, Alabama)        

Here is the Sunbeam C50 parts list and diagram (dated June 1961):

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Post# 1035992 , Reply# 31   6/21/2019 at 17:31 (349 days old) by dhowlan (L.A.)        
Thanks mixrman

Thanks for posting the parts diagram. Hopefully it helps to see the adjuster location, #6. Also nice to know what's supposed to come apart.

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