I've owned a Sirena for several years now and I'm getting fed up with it.
When I first bought it, it was fairly new to the market. After reading the this thread, I tried pulling some shots with it using ground coffee, but it was a miserable failure that resulted in coffee everywhere. This was without using the rubber pressurization gasket.
Since then, I've been buying pods from podmerchant.com, but even then my result are mixed. If I use Illy pods it usually (but not always) turns out okay. Other pods are more hit or miss.
There are two consistent problems. First, the machine frequently leaks water from the top of the portafilter during brewing. When this happens, I have to push the filter handle hard to the right. Sometimes it was vibrate itself back to the left. In this situation, I have to keep constant pressure on the handle to keep from getting a watered down shot.
The other problem is that the coffee seems to come out too slow. I bet that I'm getting over extracted coffee. This happens with all pods.
Anyone else have these issues? Is there a solution? If not, I'd appreciate suggestions for a replacement in the $300 to $400 range.
I've had this machine for little more than a year, and it still runs great. At least once in two-week, I descale my machine, clean up the group head, and wash out the reservoir.
I also got rocky doser for my beans, and get beans from my roaster once every week. I must say, I'm getting tons of aroma, and tons of flavor for every extraction.
I always wanted to get crotchless PF for this machine, but that's on my next agenda. I think I can live without it for now.
More than this machine, I think investing on a sound grinder is a good way to go. I've never imagined that the grinder would cost more than a espresso machine, but now it all makes sense.
Fresh coffee, filtered water, proper amount (although it changes time to time, depending on the day [temp, RH]), and proper tamping. I hope the water pump won't fail on me anytime soon. I fully enjoyed using this machine thus far, and looking forward for many more years of happy extraction :)
bonsai Senior Member Joined: 7 Jan 2011 Posts: 3 Location: Tampa Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Mon Jan 17, 2011, 9:52pm Subject: Re: The Starbucks Sirena Thread
Just bought a Sirena refurbished online from a merchant in the West Coast (not sure if I can mention their name here). They have fixed two major issues found in the machine. Apparently these two issues are the bulk of why people returned these machiens. - The first being a leak in a hose that results from it not being long enough, and breaking from the "kick" in pressure. - The second issue was a stop in the knob that controls the steam wand.
Mine had a third issue with the water lever sensor that was solved by sawing off a little protrusion on the floater (as directed by the technical support rep.).
I think the deal I got was the best I could get for the money (about $270) for a kind of decent machine. I look forward to the machine producing some good coffee. For now, I am using pre-grinded espresso blend coffee from green mountain and the pressurized portafilter. As soon as I can buy a decent grinder I will start playing without the rubber contraption that pressurizes the portafilter. I hope this machine works properly until I can graduate to a better one.
Something that kind of bothered me was that Starbucks had a centralized website for the Sirena which I guess had good information and probably some good knowledgebase, but they wiped it when they stopped selling the machine. I am guessing a lot of the concerns and tips in using this machine were lost with that website. If anybody that has posted previously still is using their Sirena or got rid of it. I would appreciate some wisdom. The original website advertising the machine can be found in the webback-machine for the Starbucks Sirena in November 2007. I read somewhere that 2 years went into the design by the BMW people, and some of the best stuff Saeco had went into the components. My best guess is that they didn't do enough testing after they built their prototypes and the two problems mentioned above resulted in so many returns that it just wasn't worth it for Starbucks. Anybody knows how the story really went?
lv1 Senior Member Joined: 12 Jan 2010 Posts: 11 Location: PA Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Tue Jan 18, 2011, 8:55am Subject: Re: The Starbucks Sirena Thread
Have been using the machine for over a year. Absolutely no problems. I have removed the rubber insert and plug from the portafilter and use it in a non-pressurized mode. I have purchased a Baratza Vario ginder that it has improved the quality greatly.
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