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A story about a Starbucks Barista: Pump makes noise, no water comes out
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wellespresso
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Posted Thu May 5, 2011, 4:37pm
Subject: A story about a Starbucks Barista: Pump makes noise, no water comes out
 

Here's a story about a Starbucks Barista.

Since we moved offices at work, we have met a lonely Starbucks Barista sitting in a corner of our kitchen, alone with no portafilter/portaholder as a friend. She's chained to the wall, and no one has the key. No one cares to give her some love, so there she sits, minding her own business.

Then a boy who loves espresso came along. "A Starbucks Barista!" he cried, "She needs some TLC!"

He gave her a good cleaning, with what supplies are available at the kitchen. Plug her in, feed her water, and she is turned on for the first time in possibly years!

The pump roared. It roared and roared, and no water came out of the grouphead. Steam comes out of the wand....

.  ~  *  ~  .  ~  *  ~  .


So I need your help to complete the story. I'll need to ask for permission to take the machine apart and probably clean/descale it, get it a portaholder/portafilter etc. But before I do that, I want to make sure I can get water from the grouphead. What could be the problem here? How can I find out?

 
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wellespresso
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wellespresso
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Posted Thu May 5, 2011, 5:44pm
Subject: Re: A story about a Starbucks Barista: Pump makes noise, no water comes out
 

So it's really a Starbucks Barista Athena. Guess I didn't look very closely at it.

 
Well Espresso Blog (in Chinese)
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dsblv
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Posted Fri May 6, 2011, 9:24am
Subject: Re: A story about a Starbucks Barista: Pump makes noise, no water comes out
 

The pump probably needs to be primed to get water flowing again. I started up a Saeco Aroma (which is similar in design) that had been in storage and ran into the same problem.

Put some water in a cup and move the water intake hose from the Barista's water tank to the cup.  Elevate the cup so it's easier for the pump to draw water.  If possible, try to get some water into the intake line.  Once there's water in the line, the pump will be primed.  You can then move the water intake line back to the tank.
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IMAWriter
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Posted Fri May 6, 2011, 11:21pm
Subject: Re: A story about a Starbucks Barista: Pump makes noise, no water comes out
 

There is actually a page in the owners manual that explains how to prime the pump, but the above solution is clever and will work.
The machine was made by Saeco, and a manual can be gotten from them.
Also, try Googling for the manual.
I do know several here, including "themummafamily" that have modded their Athena with excellent results.
Maryann may have a pdf manual.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,858
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Fri May 6, 2011, 11:27pm
Subject: Re: A story about a Starbucks Barista: Pump makes noise, no water comes out
 

There is actually a page in the owners manual that explains how to prime the pump, but the above solution is clever and will work.
The machine was made by Saeco, and a manual can be gotten from them.
Link to the pdf manual below...when you get there, click on the first choice. That is the file you need.
http://www.coffeecrew.com/downloads/category/1-manuals

I do know several here, including "themummafamily" that have modded their Athena with excellent results. I believe it is a temperature stabilization mod...perhaps an installed "PID."

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
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wellespresso
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wellespresso
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Posted Thu May 19, 2011, 1:54pm
Subject: Re: A story about a Starbucks Barista: Pump makes noise, no water comes out
 

Thanks so much for the help so far!

I've spent the last two weeks tracking down the owner of this machine (in hopes that I can unlock/unchain it and take it home to repair it) and no luck -- which also means I don't really have permission to fix it just in case somebody cares about it.

So I brought in some tools to work today to take a look. The culprit was obvious when the dispersion screen came off -- a layer of old, crusty coffee ground, yuck! Without the dispersion screen, water flows (yay!) and the machine seems to be in good shape.

Took me some time to wash it off and used a thumb tack to poke open each of the holes on the screen. Now I have water coming through the dispersion screen also!

So I have a few questions about parts now.

  • It doesn't have a portafilter. I found this non-pressurized portafilter on 1st-line and I'm not sure what the difference is between pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter?

  • I saw on partsguru.com that one shouldn't tamp when using pressurized portafilter? Should I tamp if I used the non-pressurized portafilter?

  • Do you happen to know the portafilter size? I think I need to find me a new tamper.

 
Well Espresso Blog (in Chinese)
http://wellespresso.blogspot.com/
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
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Posts: 5,858
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Thu May 19, 2011, 4:22pm
Subject: Re: A story about a Starbucks Barista: Pump makes noise, no water comes out
 

Yes...tamp with the non pressurized PF...eschew the pressurized PF...not real crema.

I believe it is a 53mm basket. They are easy to find, shouldn't cost more than $29 for a good stainless one.
That machine really needs a level tamp...but not 30#'s...maybe 20#'s, as it's not as powerful as a Silvia, Gaggia, etc.
I know, as I have one in the garage. I didn't have a tamper for it though. used a spice jar, not really good.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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Athena4ever
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Joined: 23 Jan 2014
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Espresso: Starbucks Barista Athena
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Drip: Cuisinart Grind and Brew
Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014, 2:26pm
Subject: Re: A story about a Starbucks Barista: Pump makes noise, no water comes out
 

Hi I just bought the Athena off an online auction, had the same problem of priming because it hadn't been used. However, after some TLC I got her running! ONLY problem is that the link to the manual doesn't work anymore :( I spent two hours trying to track it down, called Saeco and Starbucks, but got no where. Anyone have the pdf of the Starbucks Athena manual? I would love it if any of you could help me!

-Matt
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Athena4ever
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Espresso: Starbucks Barista Athena
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Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014, 2:32pm
Subject: Re: A story about a Starbucks Barista: Pump makes noise, no water comes out
 

hope someone reads this as I'm posting this three years later. One more thing, if no one has a manual, could someone tell me how the buttons work? there's one button with one coffee cup and another with 2... any ideas?
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EricBNC
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EricBNC
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Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014, 9:25pm
Subject: Re: A story about a Starbucks Barista: Pump makes noise, no water comes out
 

I found an old post on another forum that might help explain the button programming:

"The Athena is slightly automated with a timer that controls the volume of each shot FOLLOWING the 1st one. You determine the volume of the 1st shot by holding down the botton until you have exactly a full shot (or double shot). For the next one, press and release the button and you will get the same volume as the first shot. You need to go through this process each time the machine is turned on and for each of the single/double shot buttons."

Good luck!

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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