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Starbucks Barista - Dean Deaver's Review
Posted: April 23, 2008, 2:05pm
review rating: 0.0
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Starbucks Barista
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More About This Product
Arrow The Starbucks Barista has 163 Reviews
Arrow The Starbucks Barista has been rated 8.23 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Starbucks Barista reviews have been viewed 1,008,875 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Bam T 9.50
Carl Lobitz 8.67
Rick Wayne 8.22
Dave Jahsman 8.00
Kevin Bailey 8.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 5.2
Manufacturer: Estro Quality: 5
Average Price: $350.00 Usability: 4
Price Paid: $299.00 Cost vs. Value 7
Where Bought: Starbucks Aesthetics 5
Owned for: 4+ years Overall 5
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: It's been an okay machine.  Average at best.  It's okay for the price, but I'm looking to upgrade now.
Positive Product Points

Inexpensive, little to no learning curve, still works after five years

Negative Product Points

After one year it began struggling to pump a shot from a well-tamped portafilter.

Detailed Commentary

I originally purchased this because I wanted to start making shots at home, but I didn't want to start out with an expensive auto/semi-auto machine to do so.  For about the first year it worked great.  No problems.  After the first year, I noticed it started to struggle to pump out well-tamped shots, and at the same time the steam wand would leak water while pumping shots.  I contacted the support line, and after a series of tests the "technician" on the support line suggested I get a new screen that screws into the machine (above portafilter) plus basket (or whatever one calls it) that fits into the portafilter.  The screen I was sent (for free) had holes in the entire surface as opposed to ~ 3/4 of the surface with the original, which I took as an admission that the pump was wearing down and thus needed a more sieve-like filter to allow for liquid to pump through.  I was also told to grind the coffee less fine, and not tamp so well.  I thought that was somewhat lame, especially given that firm tamping and fine grounds is part of making expresso shots.  Right?  Having wrote this, I've seen some reviews of more expensive machines that also mentioned the steam wand leaking unless the steam knob is cranked down on while the pump is operating in shot mode.   So now I'm wondering, do folks have similar problems with a more expensive machine?  In the various demos I've seen of e.g. the Silvia, the barista is pretty much standing on the tamper.

In any case, I've given this machine roughly a 5 out of 10 because of the above.  It's an annoyance, and I feel I shouldn't have had to deal with it during the warranty period, but nonetheless, it does still make shots after 5 years.  It just requires a few workarounds (like cranking down on the steam wand when pumping) to do so.  So it's an okay machine, and good for a beginner, but if you're doing a few shots a day, and especially if you're doing a few shots in succession each time, you may want to try something a bit beefier.

Buying Experience

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Posted: April 23, 2008, 2:05pm
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