Very simple to use--brews great espresso and froths quite well.
Negative Product Points
Interested to see how it holds up over time.
I had a Gaggia Espresso Machine before, which went out at about the 1.5 year mark but unfortunately the online seller would not honor the 2 year warranty. I will not do future business with this seller, nor will I buy another Gaggia.
As for Starbucks, I was amazed at the closeout price for the Barista and am so far absolutely thrilled with the machine. Much better than the Gaggia that I owned before. Very simple to use and keep clean. I think this is a much better machine for a novice, because it does most of the work, whereas the Gaggia required a little more skill on the part of the user. I hope the Barista lasts longer than the Gaggia because so far I love it!!!!!!
Really really hard to locate since it's on closeout at a great price. Starbucks was very nice, although not especially well versed in using the machine. I would definately buy again from Starbucks. I too received the starter kit/pound of coffee, even at the great price of $99!!!!!