Consider the Auber PID for the Starbucks Barista for consistent great tasting shots....
Positive Product Points
This is a review of the Auber PID for the Starbucks Barista. I prevously reviewed the Barista earlier this year. The Barista is currently being sold by Starbucks as the Via Venezia (same machine I believe).
Negative Product Points
none.. it works as advertised
I previously reviewed the Starbucks Barista as Loren B. Since that time I have added the Auber PID for the Barista which runs $144 from Auber instruments. (Auberins.com)
The reason for this is that the first shot I pulled was always good, but subsequent shot were frequently bitter, since the temperature on the Barista went too high after the first shot was pulled. I tried flushing the system to lower the temp which worked but produced inconsistent results.
The PID kit is complete - it comes with the PID, wires, heat compound paste, installation intructions and operation instructions on CD. It is available in unpainted steel or painted black depending on the Barista color you have. It comes by priority mail from Auber instruments in Georgia and arrived at my house within 2 days of ordering.
Installation only requires a Phillips screwdriver, a drill and a needlenose plier. No soldering is necessary. Detailed instructions with pictures are sent on the installation CD.
Here is a short synopsis of the installtion procedure:
The back panel is removed. The thermostat for the espresso is removed and replaced with the Auber thermostat (which is custom made for the Barista) . The supplied heat compound is applied to the heat sensor. Adapters are provided to tap into the power supply . The heater switch for the boiler is connected to the PID. A small hole inside Barista is drilled (not on the outside of the machine)) and the wires through the same grommet as the power cord to the top of the machine. The wires are then connected to the PID. The PID is mounted on the top of the Barista with supplied double sided tape. It took me about 2 hours to carefully install and everything works.
Auber has tested the PID extensively and sets it to 203 degrees for the Barista.
The target temperature setting can be changed at anytime by pressing the up or down arrow on the PID.
Why the 203 degree temperature setting? The Barista has a smaller boiler which sits on top of the grouphead. It heats very quickly. The water heated to 203 degrees leaves the group head at about 190 degrees which is what Auber determined would produce the best espresso. This can be changed anytime by the user to suit his or her taste.
Does it work well and improve the shots? Definitely! No more bitter shots from the water being too hot or sour shots from the water being too cool! The temperature takes about 10 minutes to get to 203 according to Auber, but I can speed that up to under 5 minutes. How? Press the steam button on and heater remains on. The PID still reads the temp. It speeds up the heating process. Turn off the steam button before the target temperature is reached and it will slow down. If you overshoot, let out a little water from the group head and the temperature will go down. After a shot is pulled, the temperature naturally goes down to about 185-190; you have to wait a short while for it to get back to 203. The PID regulates the heat by pulsing the heater on and off. You will see the green light pulse along with the PID heater light.
Auber is very helpful. Suyi who runs the company will answer any of your questions.
The kit is a bargain as PIDs go at $144, and it is the only one I found on the web for the Barista.
I still use the non pressured portafilter and the modified "hacked" Starbucks Barista Grinder with the finer grinder settings (see my prevous review as Loren B) . I use a stainless steel tamp from Barista Basics.
So... if you are pulling bitter shots or sour shots from your Barista frequently, consider this PID. I'm enjoying it!