I considered this to be an entry machine that I would replace with a more sophisticated - expensive one. After using it for 6 months, I'll use it til it dies.
Positive Product Points
Beautiful, sturdy machine that produces quality shots. At sale price its an extroidanary value.
Negative Product Points
Portafilter plastic handle tapers narrowly where it meets the portafilter pod which is where it needs the most strength. The Saeco portafilter is more sturdy.
Started my home espresso experience with a Saeco Aroma machine which is similar to the Starbucks Barista. The Saco produced good shots, but after 2 months the machine's power supply died. I returned the Saeco and a relative bought me the Starbucks Barista. After viewing the video that came with the Barista, I ground some Starbucks espresso beans, steamed some milk and pulled a couple of shots. Didn't taste as good as I expected. Replaced the Starbucks with D'Aquino ground espresso and hit paydirt with a much better cup of espresso.
This machine continues to produce quality shots day-after-day with minimum effort. I've read the reviews about pressurized vs. non-pressurized portafilter and the mods one can make to the standard Barista portafilter. I am getting wonderful heavy dark crema with the pressurized portafilter and see no need to modify it.
I love the Barista and highly recommend it to all who want consistently superior shots at a reasonable price. Its hard to beat the Starbucks 2 year warranty.