Simple machine - 3 buttons 1 dial - you can easily use this machine while half asleep or hung over. True the machine runs better if you prime it every time you start it up - but if you don't care what your guests drink no one will know. And like many of the reviewers pulling a good shot is easy and consistent - even after 8+ years. Oh, Customer service is awesome!
Negative Product Points
Noise - the older my machine gets, the louder it seems to sound. The machine could use a bit more head room between the portafilter and the trip tray, I've never been able to get an 8oz mug under it yet.
Easy machine to use for anyone, with just a few pointers. I really like the steam wand design - and lack of a 'turbo frother' *sigh* more gimmicks to go bad on those new ones. The only way to go is with a push button start and stop on pulling a shot - I like ristretto my dad likes it long and bitter. I just recently replaced the portafilter with a new one - due to a drop from the counter with the kids playing Barista, not bad after 8 years. The customer service for Starbucks is friendly and fast, (just wish they had some more knowledge of their coffee 'flavors' since they keep retiring my favorites) the replacement part wasn't too expensive. We haven't treated this machine with gloved hands - its a daily workhorse for us, and has been for years. I recommend the machine to all newbies with the advice of - save yourself time by using filtered water (you will tend to not need to descale the machine as much) and clean the filter screen and portafilter basket regularly. Alas my yellow Barista seems to be on its last legs, I am using every trick in my pocket to get mediocre shots in the mornings....so we are on the hunt for a new machine. Do we buy what we know and love, or branch out?
I purchased this from Starbucks in 1998 went with bright yellow - cheaper price and stacked on my employee discount it was the best college money that I ever spent.