Starbucks Barista will make a great shot of espresso, great value, great quality, and customer service.
Positive Product Points
Highly Durable and practical in design. Affordable. A quality shot of espresso, fast and easy. I can make a Latte in roughly 3 minutes.
Negative Product Points
A bit quirky, steam can be slow to heat milk, difficulty priming pump, smoked plastic water tank can be hard to determine water level. Not good at heating several shots worth of milk consecutively. Does not make the "best" shot of espresso, but certainly good.
I bought this machine after reading about it on this site in October 2005. Since then I have wished to return the favor. This is the machine to buy if you are looking for a value buy. Remarkable points:
- Built with longevity in mind. This machine has no circuits, no computers. Simple, simple, simple. And it looks like it will last a lifetime because of it. - As a consequence, there is a bit of a learning curve to be aware of, most of which the manual does not or cannot allude to. For example, you have to "blow off" air in the boiler from the previous use (after it cools down) in order to maximize efficiency. The "ready" light often turns off as you are steaming milk, but that doesn't mean that it is no longer ready, or no longer serving hot steam. After changing water tank you have to remember to "prime" the steam wand and the main press or it will get gas in the line and not function. It won't prime with a full basket in place because of pressure. - A cup of milk can fit neatly below the steam wand on the tray as it heats milk. Saves you from having to hold it there! - Compact and efficient use of space. - Astounding customer service.
Starbucks customer service on this machine is out of this world. The single best customer service on the face of the planet. Phone number is on machine, and somebody picks up on the FIRST RING. And they have good suggestions.