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Starbucks Athena - Sally Grimsley's Review
Posted: December 2, 2003, 3:54pm
review rating: 7.7
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Starbucks Athena
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Arrow The Starbucks Athena has 12 Reviews
Arrow The Starbucks Athena has been rated 7.45 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Starbucks Athena reviews have been viewed 74,950 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
M G 9.40
James Kelly 8.14
Jeff Novick 8.00
J K 8.00
Sally Grimsley 7.66

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 3.2
Manufacturer: Estro Quality: 3
Average Price: $299.00 Usability: 5
Price Paid: $269.00 Cost vs. Value 3
Where Bought: Starbucks Aesthetics 2
Owned for: 3 months Overall 3
Writer's Expertise: Pro Barista Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: The Starbucks Athena is not recommended due to numerous malfunctioning parts and difficulties.
Positive Product Points

*Great Crema
*Delicious tasting shots
*Fairly easy to use
*Great Barista help line at Starbucks
*Starbucks great customer service
*2 year warranty

Negative Product Points

*numerous defects
*Video misses appropriate priming techniques
*not consistent in pulling a shot of espresso

Detailed Commentary

I got this as a birthday gift.  What a great gift idea!  I have had this on my list for years.  Very excited, I took the machine home, read the directions thoroughly, watched the accompanying video in great anticipation.  At first I thought I was doing something wrong when I started priming the machine.  Nothing was happening so I decided to call the Starbucks help line.  After a brief discussion, figured out that the pump had malfunctioned.  The man on the phone set up an exchange of my Athena at a local Starbucks Store where I received my second Athena Machine.  
 In anticipation, once again, I set out to make my latte!  After priming and steaming and priming the brew head now, I placed the espresso in the porta filter, as directed.  Pressed the two shot button, and nothing came out.  Primed the brew head again, pressed the two shot button, and one shot poured out.  At this time, I thought perhaps the 2 shot button needed to be reprogrammed.  So, following the directions, I reprogrammed the two shot button.  Primed the brew head again and 3/4 of a shoot came out.  
 Back to the Starbucks help line.  After much testing and working with the patient woman, figured out that the computer portion, or whatever it is that programs your shot, had malfunctioned.

 This time corporate decided they would mail me one direct from the warehouse.  It arrived in 3 days.  Hooray!

 This one worked, for 7 weeks, until the brew head started leaking water out where it hooks into the inside of the machine, like a little waterfall.  At this point, I was nearly in tears when I called the Starbucks Help Line.

 After a rather brief review of the circumstances, the woman said the brew head was defective.  She wasn't sure , that if she were me, that she would even want to try yet another machine.

 As I await my next Athena, I am contemplating an upgrade to the Saeco Italia that Starbucks has on sale now.  While the machine worked, I must say, it made great beverages, saving me loads of money.  I want another one, but I want it to work correctly.

Buying Experience

I have been extremely disappointed with the machine itself.  The Starbucks Help Line is a great asset to the experience.   Each time, I received splendid customer service and they were more than willing to take the time to figure out the problem(s), set up exchanges.  The machine shipped from corporate was quickly shipped and a UPS label arrived in the mail to ship the defective machine, free of charge.  The last Starbucks Help Line woman even sent a free pound of espresso roast (too bad I don't have a machine to brew it).  How about a discount on an upgraded model for my troubles?

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review rating: 7.7
Posted: December 2, 2003, 3:54pm
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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